Edward Hunt Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft 4.0: Finding linebackers for the future

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Lorenzo Carter
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Lorenzo Carter /

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be drafting this month and it’s time to start breaking down their potential picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Round 1, Pick 28: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State

The Steelers have been looking at Vander Esch and now they are reportedly having him for a pre-draft visit. He was a star of the combine and an inside linebacker with a lot of upside. If the Steelers pick him, he would probably start out on special teams and would then have to work himself into a starters role. He would probably then be the next to take over the mack linebacker position for the Steelers.

Round 2, Pick 28: Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia

I know Steeler fans don’t want another outside linebacker from Georgia after the Jarvis Jones flop, but I would strongly consider this pick in the second round. Lorenzo Carter was highly recruited out of high school and the reason they can get him in the second round is that he never turned the corner at Georgia. On the other hand, the Steelers would like to develop another outside linebacker as there is no guarantee that the Steelers will pick up Bud Dupree’s option.

Round 3, Pick 28: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

You have to think the Steelers would take a look at Terrell Edmunds with his NFL bloodlines. His brother is potentially a top 10 pick in this draft. Edmunds has both the size and acceleration that teams want on their team. You have to think he will be able to start his career covering kicks on special teams. Maybe then he can develop into the Steelers free safety if they are not happy with Sean Davis.

Round 5, Pick 11: Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State

This pick can be used to find the replacement for Martavis Bryant after this year. Lazard may not have the upside that Martavis Bryant has, but Lazard is still a matchup nightmare at 6’5. He can win contested ball and that is something Ben Roethlisberger will like. I see Lazard starting the year on the inactive list and then maybe working himself into a player in the receiver rotation once he develops his route running. The Steelers will also like his speed which will help him gain separation. Lazard also returned punts at Iowa State so that is an option.

Round 5, Pick 28: Kallen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

The Steelers can wait to get a contributor in the backfield. Although he may not start right away, I could see him working into the rotation if Bell leaves. I think Bell will probably play his last year on the Franchise Tag and then he will move on to another team. I don’t see how the Steelers could pay a running back with as much tread as he has on him, 17 million a year. That is Antonio Brown money that he wants and I don’t know the Steelers to be the type of team to get strong-armed into overpaying for a player.

Round 7, Pick 2: Coleman Shelton, C, Washington

This pick will be the heir to the Chris Hubbard role. Shelton will probably be able to start out as an inactive who can play the interior positions and then he could probably work himself into a role as a tackle as well. The Steelers like versatility in their backups on the offensive line and that is exactly what Shelton gives you. He probably will have to make the team as an emergency center, but if he gets cut, you can bet the Steelers will keep him on the practice squad.

Round 7, Pick 28: P.J. Hall, NT, Sam Houston State

Hall is a small school player but he has a little bit of upside. The Steelers could draft him and have him compete with Dan McCullers for the last spot on the defensive line. If he plays like a small school player, he can be cut easily.

Next: There's no predicting the Steelers this offseason

The Steelers have plenty of options and little holes to fill in the draft. With seven picks and a loaded class, finding talent for now and the future is key to their prolonged success. Something this team has done better than most throughout time.