Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Draft: AC’s Mock Draft 2.0 #FanSidedMock


Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) stands on the sidelines during a timeout against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday night at 8 p.m. I teamed up with fellow football writers and NFL Draft enthusiasts Rishi Pochiraju, Derrik Klassen, and Zachary Gardner for a two round mock draft on twitter.  We used #FanSidedMock to track the picks, but here they are in front of you.  I included descriptions for all of my picks.

Round 1

1. Houston Texans (Me): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

It was a toss up between Bridgewater and Bortles for this pick.  I broke the tie with my rankings.  Bridgewater is my number two overall player and Bortles is my number nine overall player.  Bridgewater is, in my opinion, would have been the second best quarterback in the 2012 draft.  He’s as much of a sure thing as there is in the draft and the Texans would not be wise to pass him up.

2. St. Louis Rams (f/WAS) (Zachary): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Derrik): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

4. Cleveland Browns (Rishi): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

5. Oakland Raiders (Me): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

I took my top rated quarterback with the first pick and now my second rated quarterback with the fifth pick.  Because of other needs, Bortles slipped to the Raiders here.  Matt Schaub shouldn’t stop anyone from taking a quarterback this early, and I wasn’t about to let him stop me from taking one.  However, Bortles isn’t completely pro-ready so Schaub will provide insurance and maybe even start for the next few years.

6. Atlanta Falcons (Zachary): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Derrik): CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama

8. Minnesota Vikings (Rishi): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

9. Buffalo Bills (Me): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Going in knowing I had the pick for the Bills I was hoping to get either Robinson or Matthews, I just didn’t think would happen.  I was so happy when he fell to this pick.  Robinson’s upside is higher than anyone in the draft except for Clowney.  Offensive tackle just so happens to be a need for the Bills, too.  If the front office expects EJ Manuel to become a franchise quarterback they need to get him protection.

10. Detroit Lions (Zachary): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

11. Tennessee Titans (Derrik): Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

12. New York Giants (Rishi): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

13. St. Louis Rams (Me): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Zachary went with an offensive tackle at number two and Mike Evans was still on the board so this wasn’t a hard choice to make.  The Rams top three receivers in terms of future ability are all under six feet.  Adding Evans to the mix will give Sam Bradford another toy to play with.  Getting Matthews at two and now Evans at thirteen means no more excuses for Sam Bradford, if he doesn’t win it’s time to get a new quarterback.

Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina Tar Heel tight end Eric Ebron gets ready to run the 40 yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

14. Chicago Bears (Zachary): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

15: THE PITTSBURGH STILLERS (Me): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

This pick came down to three players for me, Eric Ebron, Odell Beckham, and Jason Verrett.  Losing Cotchery hurt. Bad.  The Lance Moore signing was good and cost effective, but it isn’t enough to make me not take a receiver or joker tight end in the first round.  Ebron is undoubtedly the top tight end in the draft and I wouldn’t blink an eye if ODB went in the top 10.  I considered Verrett because he is my top CB in the class bar none.  He is physical, good against the run, and the best in the class at defending the catch point.  If he was two or three inches taller he would be my seventh rated player overall.  I ruled Verrett out because I though a pass catcher would make a bigger impact and I could find a future shutdown corner in the second round.  I chose Ebron over ODB because Beckham is very similar to Antonio in his game.  I felt Ebron would have a better opportunity to make an impact because he could line up inline and in the slot.

16. Dallas Cowboys (Rishi): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

17. Baltimore Ravens (Derrik): Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

18. New York Jets (Me): Demarcus Lawrence, OLB, Boise State

I absolutely would have gone with a receiver or tight end here, but I didn’t think there were any left on the board who were worthy of this pick.  Although the Jets had a very solid defense last year, you can never have too many pass rushers.  Lawrence is underrated way too much by the general media, and could turn out to be one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in this class.

19: Miami Dolphins (Zachary): Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

20. Arizona Cardinals (Rishi): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

21. Green Bay Packers (Derrik): Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

22. Philadelphia Eagles (Zachary): Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech

23. Kansas City Chiefs (Derrik): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

24. Cincinnati Bengals (Rishi): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

25: San Diego Chargers (Me): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

A one mister Camaron Thomas, formerly of the Chargers, signed with the Steelers a few weeks ago leaving the Chargers with a gaping hole up the middle.  While Nix isn’t an every down player, and may never be an every down player, he has the potential to be Vince Wilfork good.  The Chargers can’t pass up an opportunity to add a difference making nose tackle to replace and improve on Cam Thomas.

26. Cleveland Browns (Zachary): Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming

27. New Orleans Saints (Derrik): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

28. Carolina Panthers (Rishi): Marqise Lee, WR, USC

29. New England Patriots (Me): Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

I wasn’t thinking about adding anything except a receiver or tight end with this pick.  Jace Amaro was my highest rated tight end available but I didn’t think he was worthy of the pick as much as Robinson was.  I also considered Brandin Cooks with this pick, but he is too similar to Edelman and Amendola.  I ended up taking Robertson because he is a tall receiver and deep threat like the Patriots need.

30. San Francisco 49ers (Zachary): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

31. Denver Broncos (Derrik): Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA

32. Seattle Seahawks (Rishi): Jace Amaro-TE-Texas Tech

Round 2

33. Houston Texans (Me): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Other than quarterback, I would argue that 5-tech is the biggest need on the Texans roster.  Ealy is the 18th rated player on my big board and while he isn’t a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense, he is a good enough fit to warrant a pick here.  This is probably my favorite pick that I made in the mock draft.  Ealy lining up opposite of JJ Watt will be scary for offensive lines.

34. Washington Redskins (Zachary): Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

35. Cleveland Browns (Derrik): Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

36. Oakland Raiders (Rishi): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

37. Atlanta Falcons (Me): Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame

There is no way Zack Martin should be available with this pick, but he is.  The Falcons also have needs along the offensive line.  The Falcons and Martin were pretty much a match made in heaven because of Martin’s versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line, his value in the early second round, and the Falcons undeniable need along the offensive line.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Zachary): David Yankey, OG, Stanford

39. Jacksonville Jaguars (Derrik): David Fales, QB, San Jose State

40. Minnesota Vikings (Rishi): Jimmy Garrapolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

41. Buffalo Bills (Me): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

I already added an offensive tackle to help protect the future of the Bills, EJ Manuel.  Now I add a weapon to give him someone to throw to besides the ho-hum foursome of  Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, and Scott Chandler.  Cooks is an electrifying playmaker who I would compare to the all to familiar Antonio Brown.  If the Bills can get a player comparable to AB here, it will be a huge win.

42. Tennessee Titans (Zachary): Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

43. New York Giants (Derrik): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

44. St. Louis Rams (Rishi): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

Oct 26, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (2) gets a defensive signal from the sideline against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 63-14. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

45. Detroit Lions (Zachary): Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

46. THE PITTSBURGH STILLERS (Me): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

I know that earlier I said that I was going to target a corner here, and that’s what I was thinking at the end of the first round.  Then Ryan Shazier was still available.  He is a playmaker and difference maker at the linebacker position and that alone makes him a tantalizing prospect.  He is also very versatile.  He can pass rush, cover, and defend the run.  The one area of his game that is lacking is discipline, but on the Steelers he could roam free and make plays because he would be playing opposite Lawrence Timmons.  A Shazier and Timmons combo would be almost as nasty as the Kony Ealy and JJ Watt pair.

47. Dallas Cowboys (Rishi): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

48. Baltimore Ravens (Derrik): Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

49. New York Jets (Me): Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

I added a pass rusher in the first round, which meant that I almost had to unconditionally go with a receiver here in the second round.  Landry was my top rated player left on my board and he was also a receiver.  A 100% match.  The recently signed Eric Decker is a flashy big play receiver, while Jarvis Landry is a tough and gritty possession receiver.  They’ll work well together.

50. Miami Dolphins (Zachary): Carlos Fields, LB, Winston Salem State

51. Chicago Bears (Derrik): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

52. Arizona Cardinald (Rishi): Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

53. Green Bay Packers (Me): Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State

Joyner is one player who I think should be getting way more hype than he is.  He may be short and not physically equipped to play the position, blah blah blah.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, size is the most overrated trait in football when it comes to certain positions.  Joyner has the one ability that few others in this class have.  He’s a tough, gritty, hardnosed, throwback, get the job done football player.  That alone made this pick worth it.

54. Philadelphia Eagles (Zachary): Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

55. Cincinnati Bengals (Derrik): Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas

56. San Francisco 49ers (Rishi): Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

57. San Diego Chargers (Me): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

I was eyeing Barr for this pick once he slipped into the 40’s.  I know the Chargers have Dwight Freeney, Jarrett Johnson, Melvin Ingram, and Larry English. Whatever.  Freeney and Johnson are both on the wrong side of 30 and Larry English just isn’t good enough to be a starter.  Ingram has performed up to expectations so far, but he has been injured so he gets a pass.  Barr will play sparingly until he has two or three years of experience and is fully matured.  A healthy Ingram and fully matured Barr will be as dangerous rush combo as there is in the league.

58. New Orleans Saints (Zachary): Marcus Matin, C, USC

59. Indianapolis Colts (Derrik): Jarred Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

60. Carolina Panthers (Rishi): Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson

61. San Francisco 49ers (Me): Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

Zachary and Rishi chose to go cornerback with the first two picks, which made my decision relatively easy.  I don’t think wide receiver is  as big of a need as it’s being made out to be and I think defensive end is a bigger need than it’s made out to be.  Tuitt isn’t remotely ready to start, but he won’t need to until Justin Smith is gone.  When the time comes he could be a very solid starter.

62. New England Patriots (Zachary): Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware

63. Denver Broncos (Derrik): Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

64. Seattle Seahawks (Rishi): Tre Mason, RB, Auburn