Pittsburgh Steelers’ Draft Value Board

Although projecting trade-ups and trade-downs are fun for fans, historically the Steelers are not a squad that maneuvers much during the draft. As such, the draft-value board below is simply a list of players I like who address team needs.

It is also is based on the Steelers’ staying at their slotted pick in each of the first four rounds (not trading up or down), as well as the percentage (%) chance that the player listed will be available at that spot in that specific round. Now, please remember these are just estimated percentages of the chance certain players will be available at the end of various rounds and any guesses after the first round are just crap-shoots, especially with players still working out in prodays that will result in their stock rising or falling.

Moreover, I did not even bother including guys unless there was at least a 25% probability that the player could be available to the Steelers at that spot in the draft. Thus, even though Pittsburgh fans probably fantasize about drafting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, there is no chance he could fall out of the first seven picks or that the Steelers could/would trade up high enough to draft him. However, the Steelers do like to take the BPA (best player available) in each round, so long as that player also fills a short-term or long-term need. Thus, the front office often quickly tabs players in rounds that represent great value on their overall draft board.

Some interesting physical prospects were kept off this list because I am assuming they are off the Steelers’ big board due to character concerns (e.g., CB Jimmy Smith, WR Greg Little, NT Kenrick Ellis, WR Niles Paul, etc.,) with others (e.g., CB Johnny Patrick, NT Jerrell Powe) possibly off Pittsburgh’s board for similar reasons but kept on this list for now until more details emerge about teams possibly backing off these players due to character concerns.

One player I purposely kept off my board was Baylor guard Danny Watkins, who Mel Kiper is currently projecting as the Steelers’ first-round pick. While I am a long-time Kiper admirer and value his opinion, I see Watkins as a middle of the second-round type pick, and doubt the Steelers would select a 26-year offensive guard with their first-round pick. Likewise, I also kept lazy Miami right guard Orlando Franklin off my list, even though he is the Steelers’ projected first-round pick by ESPN’s Todd McShay.

Neither Watkins or Franklin is worthy of a first-round pick. Moreover, right guard is not as much a major need for the Steelers as cornerback and there is better value at guard in rounds 2-4 than there is at offensive tackle, where the fall-off in talent-level is precipitous after the opening round at a position where the Steelers have a major long-term need.

This is more of wish-list for hoping players fall to the Steelers in various rounds than projections. Generally, running backs tend to fall in draft, and thus the Steelers may be able to get a great third-down back/change-of-pace-back in the third or fourth round like Kendall Hunter or Jacquizz Rodgers, both of whom saw their stock fall with poor combine showings and will be hurt by not being viewed as potential every-down backs. The Steelers’ brass, however, likes productivity, and both Hunter and Rodgers were superb college running backs against top competition and would eventually be an upgrade over Mewelde Moore.

Likewise, there is so much depth in this draft on the defensive line that players at that spot who would be highly unlikely to fall in past years may do so this spring. At least in my mock drafts, I always have the Steelers selecting at least one cornerback in the first three rounds (usually in the first two rounds), an offensive lineman in the first three rounds (could be a tackle, guard, or swing player), and one or two defensive linemen in the first five rounds.

The Steelers’ first-round pick will likely be a defensive back, offensive lineman or defensive lineman. But after that tight ends, wide receivers, running backs and inside linebackers could be all considered in rounds 2-4, along with defensive backs, offensive linemen and defensive linemen.

While Pittsburgh tends to over-draft outside linebackers when they do not have an immediate need (see last year’s pick of Jason Worilds in the second round) and the Steelers will likely again draft an outside linebacker this April, such a selection will probably not happen until the last three rounds. The team’s top three OLBs (James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Worilds) are set for the next few years and – in contrast to last year’s loaded group – this is a poor draft for 3-4 OLB prospects.

So what mock drafts for the first four rounds can you come up with based off the list below or other players who have at least a 25% chance of being available at that spot? Just make sure you do not follow the absurd rankings and mocks of the Sporting News draft guide. Nice design, but that publication’s ranking and mock drafts are ludicrous every year. For example, SN has the Steelers passing up on Pouncey – with their second-round pick, even though a majority of draft experts do no expect Pouncey to be available at No. 31 overall.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS’ DRAFT VALUE BOARD

Pos., Player Name, HT, WT, College, % Chance of Being Available

1st round (31st  overall)
OG Mike Pouncey, 6-5, 300, Florida, 25%
OT Gabe Carimi, 6-7, 315, Wisconsin, 25%
DE Cameron Heyward, 6-5, 295, Ohio State, 45%
OT Derek Sherrod, 6-5, 320, Mississippi State, 50%
CB Brandon Harris, 5-10, 190, Miami, 50%
OT Nate Solder, 6-8, 320, Colorado, 30%
CB/FS Aaron Williams, 6-0, 205, Texas, 65%
DE Muhammad Wilkerson, 6-4, 315, Temple, 40%
RT/G Ben Ijalana, 6-4, 315, Villanova, 80%
FS Rahim Moore, 6-0, 200, UCLA, 65%

2nd round (63)
CB Curtis Brown, 6-0, 185, Texas, 35%
RT/G Ben Ijalana, 6-4, 315, Villanova, 30%
CB Brandon Burton, 6-0, 190, Utah, 45%
OG Rodney Hudson, 6-2, 300, FSU, 50%
DE Christian Ballard, 6-3, 285, Iowa, 35%
CB Johnny Patrick, 5-11, 190, Louisville, 60%
TE/FB Lance Kendricks, 6-3, 245, Wisconsin, 55%
CB/FS Ras-I Dowling, 6-1, 200, Virginia, 70%

3rd round (95)
CB/FS Ras-I Dowling, 6-1, 200, Virginia, 25%
G/RT Clint Boling, 6-5, 310, Georgia, 30%
RB Kendall Hunter, 5-7, 200, Oklahoma St., 35%
CB Rashad Carmichael, 5-10, 190, Virginia Tech, 55%
TE/FB D.J. Williams, 6-3, 245, Arkansas, 40%
DE Jarvis Jenkins, 6-4, 310, Clemson, 35%
RT/G Jason Pinkston, 6-3, 315, Pitt, 60%
DE Lawrence Guy, 6-4, 305, Arizona State, 55%
CB Shareece Wright, 5-10, 185, USC, 55%
OT James Brewer, 6-6, 325, Indiana, 45%
ILB Quan Sturdivant, 6-1, 240, North Carolina, 35%
NT Jerrell Powe, 6-2, 335, Ole Miss, 55%
CB Chimidi Chekwa, 5-11, 190, Ohio State, 50%

4th round (127)
RT/G Jason Pinkston, 6-3, 315, Pitt, 25%
FS Deunta Williams, 6-2, 205, North Carolina, 45%
CB Curtis Marsh, 6-1, 195, Utah State, 30%
WR Terrence Toliver, 6-3, 210, LSU, 40%
NT Sione Fua, 6-2, 310, Stanford, 50%
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, 5-6, 195, Oregon State, 40%
CB Buster Skrine, 5-10, 185, Chattanooga, 40%
OG John Moffitt, 6-4, 320, Wisconsin, 35%
NT Ian Williams, 6-1, 320, Notre Dame, 50%
ILB Casey Matthews, 6-1, 230, Oregon, 35%
SS Shiloh Keo, 5-11, 220, Idaho, 60%

This entry was posted in 2011 mock draft, Cool Stuff, Defensive Line, Front Office, Offensive Line, Offseason. Bookmark the permalink.
  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Ted, I like this approach much more than predicting a single player by round (which history suggests will almost always be wrong after about 1.25). It gives me a good feel for who you think might be available around the Steelers picks and what types of players they are. I’d also be interested in your order of who you’d take (or avoid) at these slots among these players.

    • Ted

      ELSM, the order above is how I would take them, although rounds 2-4 would then likely be altered somewhat depending on who we draft in earlier rounds. For example, I have a lot of CBs on this list. But if we take Brandon Harris in round one, then guys like Carmichael or Wright fall down or off my list for the third-round. However, if we do not take a CB in the first two rounds (unlikely, but a possibility due to the depth at CB in this draft), then those guys go up on my board for each round. Again, though, these are just some players I like who fill short- and/or long-term needs. I would be very happy if we took Lee Ziemba in the third round and there probably is 50/50 shot he is around at the end of that round. But I did not include him on this list.

  • Cols714

    I like the idea of ranking several players at each pick, that makes it much more fun to read than just picking one guy.

    Can you please stop complaining about the Worilds pick? He looked pretty good last year.

    • Ted

      I have never complained about Worilds the player. He was on this list for me last year and I had him projected in the second-round in one of my mocks that I did for JJ that was posted on Fanhouse. That was not my preference (I liked him if he fell to the third or in a trade-down to mid-third), but I def. could see the Steelers taking him, as we did and I really liked him as a prospect. He will be a good player, although he may never become a starter for us before he is an UFA. That is why the pick was dumb. He did look good as a situational pass rusher against Miami when Woodley went down. But that was really his only significant PT on defense all season. I also thought he was a great upgrade on our kick coverage, but yet he was healthy and in street clothes on the inactive list for the SB because we were so deep at LB.

      That 2010 draft was loaded for 3-4 OLBs, so we did not play the draft board well by taking a player most projected in the third round in the second round when OLBs were not being drafted for the most part until the fourth round. Then, we compounded the absurdity by taking another OLB in the fourth-round, only to cut him a few games into the season because we were too deep at LB. Gibson actually was a very good value pick and looked impressive when healthy in the preseason. We did not cut him, because he was a Fred Gibson-type bust. We cut him, though, because we were absurdly deep at LB and needed a roster spot for the d-line. I would not have been nearly as mad about the Worlids pick had (A) we not wasted a fourth-round pick on a second OLB; (B) had not just signed Foote to be the No. 5 overall LB, with TImmons moving to OLB in case of injury (as he did); and (C) had not ignored our needs at CB and the OL to take a player who – barring injury to one of our two superstar OLBs – will not start for at least 3 years.

      The future of our o-line would sure look better had we taken Jared Veldheer with that pick as I called for at the time. That said, it was still an awesome draft by Colbert and co. in 2010, so I cannot complain too much, particularly since I did not call for Emmanuel Sanders, Crezdon Butler or Antonio Brown at the time they were drafted (I liked Sanders in the fourth round), all of whom I am very high on now and two of whom have already played key roles in helping us reach a Super Bowl. You cannot complain about a season if you reach the Super Bowl regardless of outcome in that game. And you were correct the other day in saying that our 3 TOs were undoubtedly the primary reason we lost that game. My points however, were also correct in that we probably still overcome those TOs if we had a better No. 2 CB so we do not yield nearly 400 yards passing or have Santonio on the roster for the last drive when Wallace was double-teamed and no one else could get up downfield.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NXON22FQSDCCSA2WHZIRTHQWTU Greig

    I wonder if Marcus Gilbert should also be on the list? He had a good combine and pro-day. Gilbert has started at guard and both tackle positions and would offer the kind of versatility the Steelers like.

    • Ted

      Greig, Gilbert is a possibility for us in the third round. However, he is considered kind of soft and the Steelers rarely draft players for the o-line who fit that description. Tony Hills was the last one who did. We were desperate for an OT at that spot, because we had absurdly reached to take OLB Bruce Davis at a non-need position in the third round. Hills was seen as a boom/bust-type but did represent the best value on most boards for an OT at that spot. He obviously has not worked out. I was calling for us to take Oniel Cousins in the third round that year when we picked.

  • Randy Steele

    I don’t know how you arrived at the odds of a player’s availability at each of these spots, Mr. Kian, but be that as it may, this is an entertaining, informative study, and it’s one of the types of stories that makes this site so welcome.

    Now try this: As you look at that collection of players who might be available at 1.31, try to imagine which one is most likely to become a Pro Bowler and/or team captain. That’s the guy you want the Steelers to pick, regardless of the position he plays.

    Lastly, as I’ve noted before from having read Jim Wexell’s briefs, don’t forget about tight ends. Certainly not an immediate need, but pairing a good blocking/pass-catching tight end with Heath Miller could create all kinds of havoc for the Steelers’ opponents.

    I wouldn’t overlook Kyle Rudolph in the first, or maybe even Lance Kendricks, which would be a stretch, but if the Steelers really want Kendricks, they’ll have to take him in the first. He’ll be gone by their pick in the second.

  • Tiger61232

    If Pouncey falls to the Steelers that is a big if they will take him so look for CB in the 1st