Steelers NPC Mock Draft 5.0 (FA Edition, 3 Full Rounds, Steelers Picks in Rounds 4-7)

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Round 2 Cont.

49. San Diego Chargers: Kelechi Osemele OG/OT (Iowa State)

I personally don’t believe that Jared Gaither, a hurt Marcus McNeill, and Jeromy Clary are the solution for San Diego at Tackle 2-3 years down the road.  If the Chargers acquire a Pass Rusher in Round 1, they would be wise to add a solid Tackle in Round 2 to the mix along their Offensive Line.  Osemele projects as a Guard or a Right Tackle at the pro level, but he did display quite a bit of athleticism in college where he played Left Tackle and Guard at Iowa State and started 3.5 seasons in college.  His large build 6’5″ 347 lbs. and ability to run block should allow him to kick inside or stay outside with a team like San Diego looking to upgrade at a lot of spots along their Offensive Line.

50. Chicago Bears: Dwayne Allen TE (Clemson)

Jay Cutler needs weapons, and he could sure use a solid pass catching Tight End to help.

At 6’4″ 255 lbs., Allen has soft hands, is a very polished route runner, and will undoubtedly create matchup problems for opponents in the middle of the field.  If Chicago wants to give Cutler another option to throw to and have an adequate safety valve in the passing game, drafting a guy of Allen’s caliber is necessary.  If that happens, Chicago’s Offense could be pretty dangerous come 2012.

51. Philadelphia Eagles: Bobby Wagner ILB/OLB (Utah State)

One of Philadelphia’s biggest issues last season was at the Linebacker position, which ultimately proved to be an Achilles Heel for their already shaky Defense.  Sure, the Eagles might have traded for DeMeco Ryans, but his presence will not be enough to fix that dreadful unit.   Wagner established himself as a tackling machine during his career at Utah State and tore up the W.A.C. as a collegiate player.  Wagner might be short 6′, but he is built like a vending machine at 240 lbs., and put his tackling prowess on display at The Senior Bowl.  His skill set is suited to either a 3-4 or Inside or Outside in a 4-3 set which could really come in handy for a team like Philadelphia which needs upgrades at multiple spots.

(Previous Selection: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech)

52. Tennessee Titans: Jayron Hosley CB (Virginia Tech)

Cortland Finnegan is gone now, and the Titans must focus on finding a replacement of some sort for the future.  Jayron Hosley (5’10” 178 lbs.) could vie for playing time right away if Tennessee decides to draft him.  While he isn’t a big guy, he is a good cover corner and would be a terrific Nickel/Slot guy at the professional level.  Hosely also has experience returning punts, and his value in the Special Teams realm could pay dividends for the Titans while he is developing.

(Previous Selection: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin)

53. Cincinnati Bengals: Kevin Zeitler OG (Wisconsin)

Despite signing Travelle Wharton, the Bengals should still look to upgrade the Interior of their Offensive Line in 2012.  In the event that a guy like Kevin Zeitler is available in Round 2, the Bengals would be hard pressed to pass on a prospect of his caliber.  Zeitler is 6’4″ 315 lbs. and one of a litany of Wisconsin Linemen to come out with a penchant for run-blocking.  If Cincinnati wants to improve their running game, they should seriously consider drafting a guy with Zeitler’s ability.

(Previous Selection: Trumaine Johnson, CB/S, Montana)

54. Detroit Lions: Josh Robinson CB/KR (Central Florida)

If the Lions are smart, it would not surprise me in the least if they decided to double-dip on picks to upgrade their Secondary in Rounds 1 and 2.  Josh Robinson (5’10 199 lbs.) really emerged at The Combine which has in turn helped his draft stock rise in the recent weeks.  Running the fastest time in Indianapolis helped (4.33), but Robinson does possess skills which make him worthy of at least a late 2nd/early 3rd Round selection.  A starter during all three years of his career at Central Florida, Robinson could instantly help the Lions’ Secondary which was torched all season long.  Furthermore, Robinson has terrific skills in the return game, and he could instantly upgrade New England’s Special Teams units while learning the Defensive schemes as a Rookie and early in his career.

(Previous Selection: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia)

55. Atlanta Falcons: Cam Johnson DE (Virginia)

Atlanta will likely need to upgrade the Defensive End position in the 2012 Draft.  John Abraham is entering his mid-30’s, and Ray Edwards was a bit of a disappointment last season after notching only 3.5 Sacks after a lucrative Free Agent contract was presented to him last offseason.  Cam Johnson (6’4″ 270 lbs.) would be a nice choice for the Falcons at #55 because of his ability to not only rush the passer from a 4-3 set, but also his experience playing as a 3-4 OLB under Al Groh during his early collegiate career.  Mike Nolan’s Defense should have a few 3-4 elements (even though it is staying a 4-3), so Johnson’s positional flexibility could be of interest to a team like the Falcons which run different schemes.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alameda Ta’amu NT (Washington)

Pittsburgh must find a Nose Tackle of the future in the coming months, and thankfully for them this is a pretty deep Draft Class when it comes to that position.  Luckily, a player of Ta’amu’s caliber (after a down season) could be available at the end of the 2nd Round which would delight many in “Steeler Nation” including myself.  Standing at 6’3″ 348 lbs., Ta’amu is the classic 0-Technique Nose Tackle which can eat space and man multiple blockers.  He can create pressure up the gut a bit with a bull-rush, but Ta’amu’s “Bread and Butter” is stuffing the run game.  Ta’amu’s stock has been hurt a bit after an up-and-down 2011 season, offseason workouts, and his performance at The Senior Bowl and the practices.  Nevertheless, Ta’amu played well during his 3.5 seasons as a starter at Washington, and is definitely worth a late 2nd Round selection.

57. Denver Broncos: Doug Martin RB (Boise State)

With Willis McGahee entering his mid 30’s, Knowshon Moreno in trouble with the law, and the rest of the Broncos’ RB’s being Practice Squad material, Denver should look to upgrade its RB position in the 2012 Draft.  That being said, there are quite a bit of solid RB prospects available in Rounds 2-5 for the Broncos to choose from.  Boise State’s Doug Martin is one player that should be on the Broncos radars’ because of his skill set.  Martin is a tough inside runner that has a bowling-ball frame of 5’9 223 lbs. that ran for 1,299 Yards last season.  In addition to his running prowess, Martin is an adept pass catcher, and in the Broncos Offense, the Backs need to be able to be adequate pass receivers as well.

58. Houston Texans: Billy Winn DE/DT (Boise State)

With Mario Williams leaving in Free Agency, Houston should be looking to upgrade the 5-Technique Defensive End position.  One guy Houston could be targeting early this April is Boise State’s Billy Winn.  At 6’4″ 294 lbs. Winn tore apart the Mountain West during his career and has the perfect size and frame to translate to the N.F.L..  While his competition may have been a bit sub-par at times,  a year of spot duty could be in order so Winn can adjust to the speed of the professional game.  Still, Houston should look to find another 5-Technique to pair with J.J. Watt for years yo come.

59. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Thompson DT (Clemson)

With Cullen Jenkins’ departure last season and now Ryan Pickett beginning to show his age, Green Bay is in need of some depth along the Defensive Line.  In the event Brandon Thompson (6’2″ 310) falls, the Packers could find themselves quite the versatile Defender.  Thompson has the ability to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 set, and his frame could allow him to be a 5-Technique Defensive End for the Packers on running downs, and lined up on the inside at Defensive Tackle during passing downs.

(Previous Selection: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina)

60. Baltimore Ravens: Ronnell Lewis OLB (Oklahoma)

Baltimore is in need of some other pass-rushers not named Terrell Suggs.  Sergio Kindle has been an absolute ghost during his two year career in Baltimore due to injuries, and the Ravens need to start thinking about getting younger on the Defensive side of the ball.  A versatile “Swiss-Army Knife” player like Lewis could really help Baltimore’s Pass Rush in 2012 and beyond.  At 6’2″ 244 lbs., Lewis made his mark at Oklahoma by playing all over the field as an OLB and a Defensive End, and in 2011 earned 1st Team All-Big XII honors by recording 13 Tackles For Loss and 5.5 Sacks for the Sooners.  Extremely quick off the snap, Lewis could step in Day 1 and help the Ravens in passing situations before bulking up a tad and settling in to a starting role.

61. San Francisco 49ers: Trumaine Johnson CB/S (Montana)

While the 49ers did re-sign Dashon Goldson, they still could be in the market for more Secondary depth.  Trumaine Johnson is one player that they could take a chance on come Round 2 to add to their already improving Secondary in 2012 and beyond.  The 6’2″ 204 lbs. Johnson dominated at 1-AA Montana, and established himself as a shut-down Corner.  In terms of his skill-set, Johnson has the size and strength to translate well to the N.F.L., and I liken him to a more polished Ike Taylor with better hands.  I mean, it’s not very often that you can find someone of Johnson’s size with 4.5 speed as a CB or even a Safety.  The upside is there, and I believe that a team like San Francisco would be willing to gamble on him.

(Previous Selection: Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State)

62. New England Patriots: Brandon Boykin CB/KR (Georgia)

Most of New England’s Draft should be spent acquiring Defensive players and attempting to improve on that side of the ball.  With four picks in the first two Rounds, the Patriots will probably spend three of them on Defense, and at least one trying to help their beleaguered Secondary which was terrible last season.  Although small (5’9″ 181 lbs.), Brandon Boykin is a tremendous athlete that performed well against S.E.C. Receivers and has added value in the return game.  While some teams may be scared of his lack of size and fret that he might not be able to tackle on a consistent basis, Boykin is at least a solid Nickel guy down the road that can make things happen when the ball is in his hands, and I have to believe that Belichick will find ways to highlight his unique skills.

(Previous Selection: Josh Robinson, CB/KR, Central Florida)

63. New York Giants: Mychal Kendricks ILB (California)

New York does not have a whole heck of a lot of holes to fill on Defense, but one area that could use an upgrade is the Linebacking corps.  Built much like Bobby Wagner (5’11” 240 lbs.), Kendricks is also a tackling machine that has great speed (4.47 40) which he uses get to the ball carrier.  Kendricks has experience playing both Inside and Outside at the collegiate level, and can even bring the heat as a pass-rusher (he played OLB in 2010 at Cal).  New York will be looking for a Linebacker at some point next month, and Kendricks would be a solid selection.

(Previous Selection: Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State)