2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Versions 2a, 2b and 2c

Recently, I went through many of the possibilities of the current NFL labor negotiations and likely upcoming lockout in March.

This unrest and unpredictability is why it is so difficult to do any mock drafts, because it is unclear who teams will lose to free agency or what players will even be eligible for free agency. Thus, any Steelers mock drafts will have to be explained under various scenarios at this juncture. To that end, here are three potential Steelers mock drafts for 2011:

SCENARIO I: No CBA is reached before the 2011 April NFL Draft and the Steelers are fairly confident that there will NOT be unrestricted free agency for 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-year players even if a CBA is successfully negotiated before any potential 2011 season. However, they do anticipate a slight increase in roster size (probably to 56) if/when a CBA is reached to better accommodate an 18-game schedule.

In this hypothetical scenario, the Steelers end up re-signing veteran free agents CB Ike Taylor, K Jeff Reed, NT Chris Hoke, DE Nick Eason, OT Jonathan Scott, CB Anthony Madison and LS Greg Warren. Steelers lose OG Trai Essex and ILB Keyaron Fox in free agency, do not attempt to re-sign RB Mewelde Moore and QB Charlie Batch retires.

1. OT Anthony Castonzo, 6-7, 295, Boston College – The Steelers would probably prefer Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod, but his stock is soaring from a strong 2010 season thus far, and Sherrod could easily end up the No. 1 player in a poor draft class for offensive tackles. In contrast, an increasing number of scouts see Castonzo as being far more of RT than LT. However, he could potentially play both sides in the NFL and the Steelers will like his versatility, productivity and toughness.

2. NT Jerrell Powe, 6-2, 320, Ole Miss – Powe’s stock has been dropping this fall, but he still may be the best from a down crop of 3-4 NT prospects after the 2010 draft was loaded with such players. Still, he remains an excellent two-down prospect for the Steelers’ 3-4 defense and would be seen as Casey Hampton’s eventual replacement.

3. OG Clint Boling, 6-4, 305, Georgia – Boling has been Mr. Versatile for Georgia, starting at both tackle and both guard spots over four years. Although he has played mostly tackle the last two seasons, Boling’s best pro positions are the guard spots, although he could also start at right tackle. The Steelers are still looking for a potential upgrade at right guard and the experienced Boling could start by his second year in the NFL.

4. RB Kendall Hunter, 5-8, 200, Oklahoma State – Hunter reminds me of a slightly slower-version of former Steelers Amos Zereoue. He is having a strong senior campaign and would provide a different element to the Steelers’ offense. However, few scouts see him as a future NFL starter due to his lack of measurables.

5. DE Cedric Thornton, 6-4, 290, Southern Arkansas – Ziggy Hood is the only one of the Steelers’ current six defense linemen who is under 30, so Pittsburgh must start developing some younger players in the defensive trenches. Thornton could beat out Nick Eason for a roster spot or make the team in addition to Eason as part of an expanded roster.

6. TE Charlie Gantt, 6-4, 250, Michigan State – Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians refuses to keep a pure FB on the roster, but drafting Gantt would allow him to use David Johnson almost exclusively at FB. Moreover, Gantt could be the eventual replacement for Matt Spaeth, who is a strong bet to leave via free agency when he finally gets the opportunity. Gantt is not a great athlete, but he is complete tight end who blocks and catches well. Just ask Notre Dame. Gantt would be a steal in the sixth round.

7. OLB Bruce Miller, 6-2, 250, Central Florida – Kevin Colbert never misses a chance to take a 3-4 OLB prospect, and Miller – the current active leader in career sacks amongst all major-college football players – is an overachieving tweener who fits this bill. An increased roster size and the possible departure of Keyaron Fox means Miller could stick as the No. 5 OLB and No. 9 overall LB on the roster.

SCENARIO II: No CBA is reached before the 2011 April NFL Draft and the Steelers are fairly confident that there will NOT be unrestricted free agency for 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-year players even if a CBA is successfully negotiated before any potential 2011 season. However, they do anticipate a slight increase in roster size (probably to 56) if/when a CBA is reached to better accommodate an 18-game schedule.

In this hypothetical scenario, the Steelers end up re-signing veteran free agents K Jeff Reed, NT Chris Hoke, DE Nick Eason, OT Jonathan Scott, CB Anthony Madison and LS Greg Warren. Steelers lose CB Ike Taylor, OG Trai Essex, and ILB Keyaron Fox in free agency, do not attempt to re-sign RB Mewelde Moore and QB Charlie Batch retires.

1. CB Aaron Williams, 6-1, 190, Texas – If the Steelers lose their No. 1 CB Ike Taylor in free agency, then this position again becomes the team’s top, immediate, off-season need. Fortunately, the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft should be loaded with top-tier cornerbacks, including many big, physical CBs who fit the Steelers’ defensive scheme. LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska are looking like top 10 picks. The Steelers would love to tab Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling, but he will likely be off the board before they pick late in the first round. Williams, a junior, is one of three Texas CBs who should go in the first 4-5 rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, including a pair in the first two rounds.

2. OG Mike Pouncey, 6-5, 310, Florida – The Steelers would prefer taking a tackle early. However, it is not a deep draft at tackle and Pittsburgh will not view it as a necessity to reach for one in the first two rounds, since Willie Colon will likely remain the property of the Steelers for at least one more season if no CBA is reached before the draft and Flozell Adams is also signed through 2011. How cool would it be to have Mike and his twin brother Maurkice Pouncey starting on the interior for the Steelers? Pretty cool for their family, Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler and Pittsburgh fans, since the younger Pouncey could join his brother as an immediate starter in the NFL.

3. RB Noel Devine
, 5-8, 180, West Virginia – The Steelers have been lacking a true speedster in its running-back rotation since they opted not to re-sign Willie Pakrer. While he will likely never be an every-down NFL player, Devine is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball and Arians will find ways to get him the ball in space. Devine is also a standout kick returner.

4. NT Ian Williams, 6-2, 305, Notre Dame – The Steelers have to start grooming a replacement for Casey Hampton after surprisingly not selecting a NT in a loaded 2010 draft at that position. Williams is a classic overachiever who does not possess NFL Pro Bowl potential like former Steelers Joel Steed and Hampton, but he still should be a solid, long-time starter in the NFL. Pittsburgh would be lucky if Williams slipped this far in the draft.

5. FB Owen Marecic, 6-0, 245, Stanford – How can you not love this old-school, throwback player who starts at FB and LB for a top-25 major-college program? I know Arians proudly claims his offense will never keep a pure fullback. However, his team is using the fullback position much more this fall than ever before and a potential increase in roster size creates room for a pure fullback on the squad.

6. ILB Josh Bynes
, 6-1, 235, Auburn – Pittsburgh still needs to get younger at ILB, where Lawrence Timmons is an emerging superstar and rookie 5th-round pick Stevenson Sylvester looks like a keeper. James Farrior and Larry Foote, however, are both in their 30s and Keyaron Fox may depart via free agency, creating a potential roster spot for Bynes.

7. QB Jerrod Johnson, 6-4, 240, Texas A&M – A developmental QB prospect for the practice squad, Johnson possesses a lot of raw talent. Dennis Dixon will be entering his fourth season in 2011 and may be heading elsewhere via free agency for 2012.

SCENARIO III: A CBA is reached before the 2011 April NFL Draft that results in a return to unrestricted free agency for most 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-year players before the 2011 season. The new CBA includes a slight increase in roster size (probably to 56) to better accommodate an 18-game schedule.

In this hypothetical scenario, the Steelers end up re-signing unrestricted free agents OLB LaMarr Woodley, P Daniel Sepulveda, CB Ike Taylor, K Jeff Reed, NT Chris Hoke, DE Nick Eason, OT Jonathan Scott, CB Anthony Madison and LS Greg Warren.

They also re-sign OT Willie Colon to a relatively cheap 1-year deal, since no team will pay huge guaranteed money for a player coming off a torn Achilles and who may not even be ready for the start of the 2011 season. The Steelers lose TE Matt Spaeth, CB William Gay, OG Trai Essex and ILB Keyaron Fox in free agency, do not attempt to re-sign RB Mewelde Moore and QB Charlie Batch retires.

1. OT Demarcus Love, 6-4, 315 Arkansas – Like Sherrod, Love’s stock is on the rise. However, he is a little shorter and top-heavy, so he may not be seen as having as much upside. Still, Love would be a perfect fit at RT for the Steelers, has the feet to potentially play LT in the NFL and could also project at guard. Yes, Colon would be back for 2011 and Flozell Adams is under contract with the Steelers for 2011, although none of that is guaranteed money and his annual salary doubles to $5 million. However, Colon and Adams (retirement) could both be gone before 2012 and thus the Steelers need to find a potential starting tackle in this draft.

2. CB Jimmy Smith, 6-2, 205, Colorado – The only reasons Smith may fall to the lower part of the second-round is because (A) it is a loaded draft for corners in the first couple of rounds and (B) some teams will be scared of his ability to play a lot of man-to-man coverage downfield. However, he is a perfect fit for the Steelers’ defensive scheme.

3. NT Simone Fua, 6-2, 305, Stanford – Fua is climbing up the draft boards. His tenacity and intelligence would be a nice fit for Dick LeBeau’s defense. Fua would be slated to become the Steelers’ eventual starting nose tackle, probably in 2012 or 2013.

4. TE Zach Pinalto
, 6-4, 240, North Carolina – It would be understandable if Matt Spaeth signs elsewhere, since he will not become a No. 1 tight end in Pittsburgh so long as Heath Miller is healthy. Spaeth, however, has finally developed into a quality No. 2 TE and the Steelers will need to find someone to immediately fill his role. Although he is not very big, Pinalto is a tough run blocker who also possesses good hands.

5. RB Derrick Locke, 5-9, 190, Kentucky – Often most effective when lining up at QB in the wildcat formation, Locke has been a consistent 100-yard rusher for a Kentucky offense that is often out-talented in the SEC. He will not be an NFL starter, but could provide nice, big-play potential as a No. 3 running back for the Steelers.

6. DE Mike Blanc, 6-2, 290 Auburn – A nice fit for the Steelers’ 3-4 defensive scheme, Blanc has also shown surprising pass-rushing skills over the last two seasons despite not possessing great athleticism.

7. OG Justin Boren, 6-3, 320, Ohio State – An expanded roster means the Steelers will likely keep 10 offensive linemen, thus opening up another spot. Boren is a mauler who comes from an OSU program that the Steelers coaches obviously admire based on the franchise’s recent draft history.

This entry was posted in 2011 mock draft, Cool Stuff, Free Agency, Front Office. Bookmark the permalink.
  • http://twitter.com/DonnieDraper Richard Whitman

    First of all I don’t think there is ANY way that Mike P. slips in to the late secound round, most mock drafts have him between 15-25 in the first round. But how cool would it be to have him starting at RT, two twin brothers als Interior Lineman for the next like, ten years.

    • Ted

      I agree Pouncey may not slip that far. Probably wishful thinking. However, his stock has slipped some, bc most scouts now view him as a pure guard prospect and not a G/C. He cannot play tackle in the NFL.

      • http://twitter.com/DonnieDraper Richard Whitman

        I just wonder if there is a chance that the steelers take him late in the first round, maybe they still view him as an elite guard prospect, and at the beginning of the year most mock drafts had him going as high as nr. 15 in the frist round.

        • Ted

          Richard, he could go anywhere from mid-1st to third at this point. Way too early to tell on most of these guys, particularly since none have worked out yet for NFL scouts. But his stock has fallen with some and remember he had nowhere near the grade from the NFL Advisory Board last year as his brother, which is why he stayed in school. Even in HS – and I followed these kids at Lakeland – Maurkice was considered the far better prospect.

  • steeler junky

    I like some of you players especially NT Fua. One position you did not list is WR. I belive that what ever the Steelers draft looks like in the end.
    They will choose players at these positions ( not necessarily in this order)
    DE , OL , CB , RB , WR , ILB and one of those will have two picks.

    • steeler junky

      Add on; Unless the Steelers do pick a NT.

    • Ted

      The Steelers do tend to take six WRs every year. But they have all six current WRs on the active rotser under contract for 2011 in Wallace, Ward, Randle El, Sanders, Battle and Brown. How they play now that the Steelers’ offense will enter the 21st Century with Ben back and how the two rookies progress will impact if they have draft a WR next April.

      • steeler junky

        I agree to that. It is Tomilin loves competion and I am not sure even with Sweed coming back he will me satisfied with the competion at WR and CB. Though WR may be a reach.

  • RSteele913

    I thought there was a rule here that no Steelers’ fan can talk about the draft until either (a) the Steelers have lost 4 or more games in a row and are essentially out of play-off contention, or (b) after the last Steelers’ play-off game, which we have come hope and expect is a victory in the Super Bowl.

  • Jprose75

    The first round CBs past Peterson are subpar (TX is horrible), and Powe is getting run over or through daily. We lost our RT (also below average) and have rotated our RGs over the past 3 years. Oline is the primary need. Therefore, take a look at this:
    1. OT Castonzo- start him at RT, then eventually move him to LT
    2. NT Fua- the heir apparent to Hampton. NOTE- this draft is THIN at NT. We never settle in the draft.
    3. CB Chekwa- a requirement to being a 3-4 CB is strong run support. There are a few I have my eye on in the mid rounds 3 and 4. Chekwa is the best of those.
    4. DE Jenkins- Aaron’s 3 injury in 4 years. While Ziggy will move in, the suitable young depth at DE is poor. We cant keep drafting/UFA 7th rounders and crossing our fingers.
    5. TE Gantt- Bye Spaeth. This is a poor mans Heath Miller. He is DOMINANT in run blocking and has above average hands.
    6. FS/SS- TeJay Johnson- Mundy has been given chance after chance, to the point we had to call Clark while hes sitting at the table w/ Miami and resign him. Johnson can play either safety spot, with most time spend as FS. Great speed, hips, and reaction time. Tremendous hands… oh, and he can hit.
    7. QB Kaepernick- bye Dixon. This kid needs roughtly the same amount of work Dixon did, except for 1 thing- he is coming from a pro style offense, and uses the Pistol formation often. Therefore, hes snapped under center, has a cannon for an arm, and is extremely mobile to boot.

    NOTE- I am obsessed with NFL draft, esp creating mock drafts. I picked 6 out of the 10 Steelers picks last year correctly.

    Enjoy.
    -J.Rose

    • terrible towel

      castonzo wont get out of the top 20, the giants need a line too, they will take the goods before we get to it

  • Odomd26

    Steelers should address the interior line in the 1st with the Pouncey brother, because Ben is payed way too much money to end up like Romo because nobody can block besides Maurkice. I would go with the best tackle available in the 2nd. 3rd round look for depth! Pittsburgh has good skilled players, but the oline falters everytime.

  • Jprose75

    Ok, lets try this again… 1st of all- Mike Pouncey IS NOT THE YOUNGER BROTHER of Maurkice. They are TWINS!!!

    Ok, I was 6/10 with my mock last year. Last year also allowed 9/10 of the picks to make the 53 man roster. So, I built a model based on last years mock, compared it to the needs we currently have, and may have after free agency. It is an aggressive mock. This means, like last year, there were guys Tomlin and Colbert KNEW they wanted, what they graded them, and went ahead and grabbed them. So, with that said…

    1. Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado- getting comparisons to Chris McAlister. Nuf said.
    2. Mike Pouncey, OG/OC Florida- his overall OC grade has fallen so far that its not even a consideration for most teams. However, his history at OG has been solid. He is currently graded as a 3rd round OG.
    3. Lee Ziemba, OT Auburn- I still cant figure out how this guy playing LT for what will be the national champion still grades as a 4th round RT. Anyhow, he is a STUD in run bocking, as well as pass protecting a mobile QB in Newton. Auburn goes as far as move him intentionally to RT when in a “and short” down. He will solidify the RT spot like Marvel Smith did years back, then move to LT in a year or 2.
    4. Josh Bynes, ILB/MLB Auburn- this kid plays the run and zone coverage like the best of them. He is purely an inside guy. However, like EVERY DEFENSIVE PLAYER Tomlin has drafted, he is built to play the MLB in a 43, but can also play the ILB in the 34. He can learn from Farrior, then be the heir apparent. Also, when we go 43 Tampa 2 (we will… soon) he can move back into his college role of MLB allowing Timmons to move back to OLB playing LOLB overtop Woodley at 43DE. (watch it happen)
    5. Greg Romeus, DE Pittsburgh- he has the size to play the 34DE, adding 10 pounds wouldnt hurt, but he’s the same weight as Keisel was when he was brought in. However, like Bynes, he is best suited for 43DE, and when we make the transition, we’ll be ready. Romeus and Woodley on the ends. Oh, and he is graded 5-6 round due to repeated injuries. Pitt being next door gives us some local hometown insight though.
    6. Marcus Gilchrist, CB/FS/SS Clemson- this kid can play EVERY position in the 2ndary. Thats the position flexibility Tomlin adores. However, he will also challenge Mundy and Cromartie-Smith for the backup safety spot. This pick also broadcasts loud and clear that safety and DT will be primary needs in 2012
    7. Charlie Gannt, TE Michigan State- he looks to fall due to his run/pass blocking getting more attention than his pass catching. He is a poor mans Heath Miller. They are the exact same height, and differ by 5 lbs. He is Speath’s replacement.

    UFAs- Jeremy Avery, HB Boise State- the speed back that we are lacking. Also provides above average pass blocking. Bye Mewelde.
    Brandon Bair, DE Oregon- this guy might be gone only due to his recent play toward the end of the year, as well as the national championship game maybe turning heads. At the perfect height/weight for 34 DE he is the depth we need (and had with 2010 7th round pick Worthington) without costing us a draft pick.
    Cory Grant, NT/DT TCU- he is a backup NT that gets into rotation weekly. The NT spot is very poor this year (KNOCK OFF THE POWE/PAEA BS PLEASE!!! THEY ARE NOT STEELER NTs!!!), and IF we were going to stay 34 we would have drafted 1 of the 12 possible NTs in the 2010 draft. This is also a safe signing due to being a UFA.
    Joe Torchia, TE Virginia- at one time was labeled THE BEST IN LINE BLOCKER IN THE NCAA. But then he was injured. It also didnt help that the VA Head Coach changed the offense to the spread. He can fill a spot on the P Squad, but I think he eventually makes the 53 to replace DJ Johnson. But DJ is our faux FB right? Not after this final UFA signing…
    Owen Marecic, FB Stanford- this pick DEPENDS ON 1 THING AND 1 THING ONLY- BRUCE ARIANS IS FIRED. (My fingers have been crossed since the end of last season) Coach Tomlin should have taken ahold of HIS team, and turned Ben away when Ben asked that Arians stay. Its not Bens team, its Tomlins. Owen is the next coming of Danny Krieder.

    Options for 2011 Offensive Coordinator? The Houston Texans owner will probably be releasing their staff after this season. Their OC Rick Dennison was with the Broncos for almost a decade from 2000- 09. Every HB he had in the roster exceeded 1000 yds. His offense is very close to what ours was with Mularkey and Whisenhunt (save the trick plays). Another option is our new Oline Coach Sean Kugler. He was the Asst HC with Boise State when they beat Oklahoma in 2007 Fiesta Bowl. They ran, and still run, a moderized pro style offense complete with multi TE sets, 5 wide, and yep- a fullback. Or, last choice- Charlie Batch. yep, Chukky. Why? He has been here the entire time during Ben’s tenure at QB. He has been thru the run first offense that Cowher ran, the more balanced that Mularkey/Whis ran, and now the pass happy, run retarded offense that Arians does. He knows what the Rooneys want/expect, he knows what works and doesnt work for Ben, as well as what Ben likes and dislikes.

    Write these down. While this is my most recent mock, it may be tweaked after the Combine as well as the list of guys we invite to visit.

    Peace.

    J.Rose

    • TERRIBLE TOWEL

      i agree with u but bynes was a playmaker in the tigers defense. he will go in the 2nd or 3rd

      • TERRIBLE TOWEL

        he was also the lead the team in takles for 2 years

    • terrible towel

      same as other tt
      we need to take pouncey in the 1st round

  • Bigk825

    Why is no one considering one of the top nose tackles in the nation; Chris Neild of WVU. he is a Casey Hamption clone and every team including LSU had to put 3 people on him.

  • Mghjr

    we should target brandon harris cb miami

  • Toby8750

    If the STEELERS are smart they trade up for a stud OL,DL,CB an try too make a run at 2or 3 SBs in a row put COLON at OG at go from there or if some drops trade with NE at the top of the 2round an have back to back picks

    • keith

      i agree with you 100% toby!

  • Steelersfan717

    just lost sb45 and we need cb patrick peterson

    • TERRIBLE TOWEL

      come on dude patrick p top 3 material plus he can return kicks
      at the lasted 5

  • Bill

    I think most people would agree that by far the weakest part of the Steelers team is their secondary. Take away Troy P. and you are at best below average. I would draft nothing this year other than Offensive Linemen and Corner Backs. Also, why resign Reed?

    • keith young

      stupid, stupid, stupid! you don’t just draft 2 positions. others areas of need we could use help. good thing you’re not the coach or general manager.

  • TERRIBLE TOWEL

    no disrespect to ANYONE

  • Witucki

    cam newton will be great pittsburgh steelers

  • Witucki

    cam newton should talk to steelers and mark ingram

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