NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers 7 Round 2013 NFL Mock Draft

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Frank Victores-US Presswire

It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2013 NFL draft. The college football season is in full swing, so if you are curious about who the best players are, and who might be best for your favorite NFL franchise, now is the time. Fans who pay attention to draft coverage during the college season and use that information to review games and prospects are much better prepared when their team is on the clock.

Having said all that, I understand that some NFL fans who don’t follow college football aren’t going to take the time on Saturday to pour over games. But that’s why I am here. So for all my Pittsburgh Steelers fans out there who are pulling their hair out at this up and down season, know that while I do tons of research into prospects for the draft, I always have in the back of my mind where those players would fit with the Steelers.

What I’m doing today is a full 7 round mock draft for the Steelers. No trades, no big moves, and no extra picks. Just 1 pick in each round, and I always do this early in the year like this with the understanding that these picks won’t be at the very top or bottom of the round.

The positions of greatest need that I have see for this franchise are offensive tackle, cornerback, safety, and outside linebacker. These are the spots I view as needing an instant upgrade of youth and talent. I also targeted depth at wide receiver and offensive guard, and also threw in a defensive tackle, mainly because the future of Alameda Ta’amu is very much in limbo. But even if he stays, adding an eventual replacement for veteran Casey Hampton is never a bad thing.

I will update this later in the season and accounting for the changes in draft order as well as changes in my own draft rankings. I expect what you see right now to still resemble what happens in April in terms of positions targeted.

Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know who you would like to see in a Steelers uniform next season.

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First Round-Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

Brett Davis-US Presswire

Keep in mind, as I write this, I have Matthews at the third best tackle in the draft. Depending on how the season falls, the Steelers could be able to pick a tackle considerably better than Matthews or fall out of contention for one the top tackles all together. Matthews is a really fun player to watch as he is fearless, physical, and surprisingly athletic. I'd like to see him maintain his blocks longer, and stick with plays, but all in all he's a very complete and NFL ready football player. The Steelers could plug him in right away and he’ll be ready to go on the right side.

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Second Round-Jordan Poyer, CB Oregon State

Jamie Valdez-US Presswire

I have to admit I am a little late to the party on Poyer. I have been keeping track of the success of the Oregon State program but hadn’t scouted the players actively. So I was really pleasantly surprised to discover Poyer. He’s got great size, and real NFL caliber ball skills. He sees the field well and has excellent anticipation. I need to watch him closer, but I put him in now as a 2nd round pick mainly because this is a cornerback class just dying for talent, and when you consider Poyer is also an excellent return man, his stock could go up in a hurry.

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Third Round-Tony Jefferson, S Oklahoma

Matthew Emmons-US Presswire

I tweeted out during last weekend’s Oklahoma Sooners game that Jefferson might not be the first safety drafted, but in 5 years he might be the best. The Steelers are starving for talent in the defensive secondary, and all Jefferson does is make plays. He’s like a big corner in coverage, but comes into the box and hits like a linebacker. He won’t wow people with his triangle numbers like some other top safetys but he plays smart fundamentally sound football, and brings a lot of energy and intensity that I love. The Steelers could groom him a year or two and then plug him into the starting lineup at either safety spot.

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Fourth Round-Aaron Dobson, WR Marshall

Chuck Cook-US Presswire

Dobson might be the best wide receiver that no one has ever heard of. He’s stuck out there playing in Conference USA, but make no mistake he can play. He’s got excellent size checking in at 6’ 3” and a slender 205lbs, and he’s really stepped his game up this year, and is well on his way to a career year. He’s reigned his game in some this year, running a more diverse set of routes and less deep balls, and in scouting this is a real plus. The Steelers have a really fast, albeit small wide out group so adding a taller target like Dobson makes sense.

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Fifth Round-Montori Hughes, DT Tennessee-Martin

Jim Brown-US Presswire

There was a time when Hughes was regarded among the best young defensive linemen in the country. But things can go from great to all wrong in a hurry for a young man, and Hughes was that guy. After being first declared academically ineligible his first year, he returned but was then dismissed from the team a year later. He’s landed at the University of Tennessee at Martin and is currently leading the team in sacks as a defensive tackle and tipping the scales at around 6’ 4” and 320lbs. From the Steelers perspective he’s a calculated risk, but we’ve seen the staff loosen up a bit on their policy of character problems, so for a talent like Hughes maybe they will again.

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Sixth Round-David Bass, DE/LB Missouri Western

Kyle Terada-US Presswire

First off, I apologize to Bass and his family for not having his picture up here. It’s unfortunate that more people don’t know about Bass, but make no mistake he can play. Playing at DII Missouri Western he’s riding well under the radar, but quarterbacks in the MIAA conference know who he is. His size is ideal for either a big 3-4 rush OLB, or a rush specialist defensive end in the 4-3, and while he’s raw an gets by primarily on raw athletic ability, you can see there is a some potential there. Taking him this late is almost a zero risk proposition and if he doesn’t develop there is very little lost. But if he can refine his raw abilities, he could have a nice NFL career.

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Seventh Round-Braden Hansen, C/OG BYU

Jerome Miron-US Presswire

If Steelers fans have learned anything this season it’s that you can’t have enough offensive linemen. Hansen fits the mold of what the Steelers want to a tee. He’s got good size at around 6’5” and 305lbs, and most importantly can play all 3 interior line positions. Being a multi-tasker is bonus points for Steelers linemen since you never know where you might be called into duty. Hansen has held up well this year despite some shuffling on the offensive line for himself and his teammates, and from a skill set standpoint, his physical style of play is very interesting to a team that wants to run the ball more.