Pittsburgh Steelers’ 7-Round 2011 Draft Value Board

The Steelers are a squad that usually does not maneuver much during the draft. As such, the draft-value board below is simply a list of players I like and/or players that the Steelers have shown interest in (particularly visits to the Steelers’ complex), or have been linked to the Steelers by multiple draft experts (some of whom are players I do not like such as Orlando Franklin).

This list also takes into account team needs, positional value, and depth in this particular draft, which is why you see so many early-round offensive linemen and corners, compared to late-round running backs and linebackers. The Steelers probably need 2012 starters at corner and on the offensive line from this draft, but are looking for deep depth and possible hidden gems at running back and linebacker.

It is also is based on the Steelers’ staying at their slotted pick in each round (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 crapshoots.

And I did not even bother including prospects unless I felt that there was at least a 25-percent chance that the player could be available to the Steelers at that spot in the draft. So 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. Unfortunately, the odds of Florida’s Mike Pouncey being available at No. 31 are now also below the 25-percent threshold.

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. Still, the Steelers’ need at corner is so much greater than on the defensive line that I could justifiably see the team passing up a better defensive lineman in the first round to take a cornerback prospect; and they would almost certainly do so in the second or third rounds if they had not addressed cornerback yet due to the position depth falling off after the third round.

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 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 because their red flags are not as compelling. Some were added back to the list, because they actually visited the Steelers and/or the team has shown serious interest (e.g., NT Kenrick Ellis, WR Greg Little).

Three players have been projected by experts as possible Steelers’ first-round picks that I purposely kept off my first-round board, because they simply make little sense at that spot and would be bad picks. Baylor guard Danny Watkins is a projected second-rounder, and I doubt seriously the Steelers would select a 26-year offensive guard with their first-round selection. That goes against Pittsburgh’s recent practice of selecting young players in the first round.

Likewise, I also kept Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor off this list even though he visited the Steelers’ facility. Taylor has major character red-flags (multiple legal and attitude problems got him kicked off the team at Penn State), long-term health concerns, and the Steelers do not need an immediate starting nose tackle in this draft with perennial Pro Bowler Casey Hampton signed to a market-friendly deal through 2012 and still playing at a very high-level for the 20-25 snaps he is needed each game. Taylor in the first-round makes no sense for the short- or long-term.

Nor does tabbing Alabama’s Mark Ingram if he falls that far. The Steelers did not need an immediate starter at tailback when they took Rashard Mendenhall with the 23rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. However, the first-round that year was loaded with top tailbacks and the Steelers had Mendenhall as a top-10 pick on their board. Plus the front office knew they would need a starting tailback within three years because then-starter Willie Parker had a lot of wear and tear on his legs, and Mendenhall added power and size that was lacking in the Pittsburgh backfield at that time.

In contrast to 2008, Mendenhall is just now reaching his prime as one of the league’s top 10 backs and (barring major injury) seems to have at least a few more years as a franchise back. This is a horrible draft for running backs among potential top-50 picks (Ingram may be the only player who goes that high), although this is quality depth later on. Finally, the Steelers do not need a bruiser like Ingram, since Isaac Redman shares many of those same attributes.

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 drafts, and the Steelers may be able to get a great third-down/change-of-pace back in the mid- or late rounds.

Likewise, there is so much depth for the first three rounds on the defensive line that players at that spot who would be unlikely to fall in past years may do so this spring. 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. Five of the Steelers’ top six defensive linemen are at least 30, with No. 5 and No. 6 on that list (Chris Hoke and Nick Eason) both likely to be unrestricted free agents this offseason if/when the lockout is lifted.

The Steelers’ first-round pick will likely be a defensive back, offensive 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 may again draft at least one 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, and the inside linebacker crop is not much better.


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

1st round (31st  overall)
OT Gabe Carimi, 6-7, 315, Wisconsin, 25%
OT Derek Sherrod, 6-5, 320, Mississippi State, 50%
DE Cameron Heyward, 6-5, 295, Ohio State, 45%
CB/FS Aaron Williams, 6-0, 205, Texas, 55%
CB Brandon Harris, 5-10, 190, Miami, 60%
OT Nate Solder, 6-8, 320, Colorado, 30%

2nd round (63)
CB Curtis Brown, 6-0, 185, Texas, 45%
OT/G James Carpenter, 6-4, 320, Alabama, 45%
RT/G Ben Ijalana, 6-4, 315, Villanova, 40%
G Danny Watkins, 6-4, 310, Baylor, 25%
CB/FS Ras-I Dowling, 6-1, 200, Virginia, 35%
G/RT Clint Boling, 6-5, 310, Georgia, 40%
OG Rodney Hudson, 6-2, 300, FSU, 50%
OG/RT Marcus Cannon, 6-5, 360, TCU, 35%
DE Christian Ballard, 6-3, 285, Iowa, 40%
WR Greg Little, 6-3, 230, North Carolina, 55%
G/OT Orlando Franklin, 6-5, 315, Miami, 30%
CB Johnny Patrick, 5-11, 190, Louisville, 60%
WR Jonathan Baldwin, 6-5, 230, Pitt, 35%
ILB/OLB Martez Wilson, 6-3, 245, Illinois, 40%

3rd round (95)
WR Greg Little, 6-3, 230, North Carolina, 25%
TE/FB Lance Kendricks, 6-3, 245, Wisconsin, 30%
DE Jarvis Jenkins, 6-4, 310, Clemson, 40%
NT Kenrick Ellis, 6-5, 345, Hampton, 40%
CB Brandon Burton, 6-0, 190, Utah, 50%
OG Will Rackley, 6-5, 305, Lehigh, 25%
ILB Quan Sturdivant, 6-1, 240, North Carolina, 35%
RB Kendall Hunter, 5-7, 200, Oklahoma St., 35%
CB Shareece Wright, 5-10, 185, USC, 50%
LB Dontay Moch, 6-1, 250, Nevada, 35%
CB/FS Marcus Gilchrest, 5-10, 195, Clemson, 45%
T/G Lee Ziemba, 6-5, 315, Auburn, 60%
TE Virgil Green, 6-3, 250, Nevada, 50%
OT Marcus Gilbert, 6-6, 300, Florida, 40%
WR Edmond Gates, 6-0, 190, Abilene Christian, 45%
OT James Brewer, 6-6, 325, Indiana, 50%
CB Chimidi Chekwa, 5-11, 190, Ohio State, 50%
OLB Chris Carter, 6-1, 250, Fresno State, 45%

4th round (128)
CB Brandon Burton, 6-0, 190, Utah, 25%
T/G Lee Ziemba, 6-5, 315, Auburn, 35%
RB Taiwan Jones, 5-11, 195, Eastern Washington, 25%
TE/FB D.J. Williams, 6-3, 245, Arkansas, 45%
NT Jerrell Powe, 6-2, 335, Ole Miss, 35%
OT Jah Reid, 6-7, 325, UCF, 30%
CB Curtis Marsh, 6-1, 195, Utah State, 35%
DE Lawrence Guy, 6-4, 305, Arizona State, 45%
WR Austin Pettis, 6-3, 210, Boise State, 35%
CB Rashad Carmichael, 5-10, 190, Virginia Tech, 50%
RB Jordan Todman, 5-9, 205, UCONN, 35%
WR Vincent Brown, 5-11, 185, San Diego State, 25%
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, 5-6, 195, Oregon State, 30%
ILB Akeem Dent, 6-1, 240, Georgia, 45%
CB Buster Skrine, 5-10, 185, Chattanooga, 40%
NT Ian Williams, 6-1, 320, Notre Dame, 50%
OG John Moffitt, 6-4, 320, Wisconsin, 40%
FS Deunta Williams, 6-2, 205, North Carolina, 65%
SS Shiloh Keo, 5-11, 220, Idaho, 60%
RT/G Jason Pinkston, 6-3, 315, Pitt, 55%
ILB Casey Matthews, 6-1, 230, Oregon, 35%

5th round (162)
FS Deunta Williams, 6-2, 205, North Carolina, 45%
SS Shiloh Keo, 5-11, 220, Idaho, 30%
RT/G Jason Pinkston, 6-3, 315, Pitt, 25%
NT Sione Fua, 6-1, 310, Stanford, 35%
K/P Alex Henry, 6-2, 175, Nebraska, 40%
DE Cedric Thornton, 6-3, 310, Southern Arkansas, 45%
OT Chris Hairston, 6-6, 325, Clemson, 25%
OLB Bruce Miller, 6-1, 255, UCF, 45%
RB Dion Lewis, 5-7, 190, Pitt, 30%
WR Terrence Tolliver, 6-3, 210, LSU, 35%
RB Bilal Powell, 5-10, 210, Louisville, 40%
OG Zach Hurd, 6-7, 315, UCONN, 40%
WR Cecil Shorts, 6-0, 205, Mount Union, 45%
FS Robert Sands, 6-4, 215, West Virginia, 30%
WR Darvin Adams, 6-2, 190, Auburn, 55%
OG Andrew Jackson, 6-5, 300, Fresno State, 50%

6th round (196)
WR Darvin Adams, 6-2, 190, Auburn, 35%
OG Andrew Jackson, 6-5, 300, Fresno State, 25%
OLB/ILB Scott Lutrus, 6-2, 240, UCONN, 40%
RB Da’Rel Scott, 5-11, 210, Maryland, 40%
DE David Carter, 6-5, 295, UCLA, 45%
RB Mario Fannin, 5-11, 230, Auburn, 55%
OLB Mario Addison, 6-3, 245, Troy, 60%
NT Anthony Gray, 5-11, 315, Southern Miss, 60%
NT Chris Neild, 6-2, 320, West Virginia, 50%
RB Jamie Harper, 6-0, 235, Clemson, 60%
FB Owen Marecic, 6-1, 250, Stanford, 40%

7th round (232)
RB Da’Rel Scott, 5-11, 210, Maryland, 25%
RB Mario Fannin, 5-11, 230, Auburn, 35%
OLB Mario Addison, 6-3, 245, Troy, 35%
NT Anthony Gray, 5-11, 315, Southern Miss, 40%
NT Chris Neild, 6-2, 320, West Virginia, 30%
RB Jamie Harper, 6-0, 235, Clemson, 40%
WR DeAndre Brown, 6-6, 230, Southern Miss, 40%
ILB Josh Bynes, 6-1, 240, Auburn, 50%
TE Charlie Gantt, 6-4, 250, Michigan State, 40%
DE Zach Clayton, 6-2, 300, Auburn, 45%
DE Corbin Bryant, 6-4, 300, Northwestern, 60%
ILB Mario Harvey, 5-11, 250, Marshall, 50%
DE Frank Kearse, 6-4, 310, Alabama A&M, 70%
ILB Greg Lloyd, Jr., 6-1, 245, UCONN, 55%
RB Evan Royster, 6-0, 215, Penn State, 60%

Steelers Lounge Steelers Mock Draft, Version 5
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Steelers Lounge Steelers Mock Draft, Version 1


This entry was posted in 2011 mock draft, Cool Stuff, Defensive Line, Draft, Front Office, Offensive Line, Wide Recievers. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Cols714

    Sounds good. I’d be OK with Jimmy Smith. I’m not sure the Steelers would. I think they are going to trade up in the 1st to get Sherrod. This is based on nothing at all though.

    • Ted

      Cols: I think the only player we would consider trading up for is Pouncey and that is only if he fell within a few spots. I just do not think there is a huge difference in the Steelers’ mind between Sherrod, and some of the second-round OT/G prospects like Carpenter, Ijalana or Boling.

      Considering that some early- to mid-second round teams may be interested in moving up to get a QB or pass rusher (especially since a rookie wage scale is expected this year in a new CBA), I think there is a better chance we trade back than trade up this year, which I would be happy with. Of course, Steelers’ history shows we are likely to stay where we are at for all our picks (especially the first round), and I am confident that either WIlliams and/or Harris will be on the board when we pick. Smith is a better prospect, but I assume he is off our board for multiple reasons and would be off many teams’ boards if he fell as far as No. 31 with his measurables.

      • Cols714

        Yeah, this is probably true. Is it just me or does Dowling sound just like the type of player McFadden was when he came out of college?

        • Ted

          Nail meet head. I have been saying the same thing for months. Now, he did run a better 40 in his private workout than BMac did but not by much. The critiques on BMac were not his speed, but rather his ability to turn hips and run with quick receivers. Those criticisms turned out true. That is his only weakness, because he has good size, instincts and toughness, but he just can’t cover many NFL receivers in man. You are better off having an undersized 4.6 guy with quick hips like Deshea than a big guy who can’t turn his hips. The latter will always be discussed as a potential FS: Chad Scott, BMac, etc.

          • Randy Steele

            Which makes me wonder why there’s so much interest in Aaron Williams, unless the plan is to ultimately use him as a safety instead of a cornerback.

        • Mike L

          I don’t think so. Dowling is much faster he ran a 4.4, this does not mean he is quick. McFadden did not run at the combine and had a 4.44 at his pro day. That is about 4.5 at the combine. Dowling can press and has good not great hands. I thought you were talk about Aaron Williams being alot like B-Mac. I like Dowling in a trade down but not at 31. Chekwa out of Ohio State would be my best choice in the 2nd. He has size and track speed.

  • Mike L

    As a follow up to this post, it would be nice to see a list of players who might lose a roster spot to a rookie, what spots might be available due to contracts ending, as you said on the DL, and who was on the practice squad and is still available to be again this year. The picks from rounds 1-5 will have to be on the active or inactive roster while you might be able to have a 6th or 7th round pick on the practice squad depending on position. My point is 5 draft picks will replace 5 players.

    • Anonymous

      In the random order they came to mind Moore, Dixon, Essex, Hills, Eason, Hoke, Fox, Sepulveda, and Warren each seem fairly likely to be absent once the regular season roles around. Depending on how things turn out in terms of drafts, other offers, free agents, and the like, none of Kapinos, Suisham, Spaeth, Colon, Gay, Madison, or Mundy would be surprising.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Around March 1, I took a crack at a list of 2010 Steelers least likely to be on the 2011 roster: http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/sl-discussion-thread-week-feb-28/

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Ted, I like your approach here.

  • FL Transplant

    This is interesting,
    Per your previous listing the Steelers brought in 30 players to consider drafting. Not including Pitt players, of the 30 players the position and projected draft round is listed below. From this I see only DT’s CB’s and OL in the early rounds, but many WR’s and RB’s are getting a mid-round look.
    # players projected rounds
    5 DT’s 2 players in 1st two rounds and 3 considered Free Agent only
    1 LB projected 5th round
    7 CB’s All 7 projected in 1st 2nd 3rd or 4th round
    1 SS FA only
    3 OT’s two projected 2nd thru 4th round and one FA
    3 G’s two 2nd and one 5th round
    2 TE’s 5th thru 7th rounds only
    5 WR’s four projected rounds 3, 4, 5 & 6th and one projected FA
    3 RB’s three projected rounds 3, 4, 5 & 6th