NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pre-Combine Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Mock Draft

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Pre-Combine Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Mock Draft

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With the NFL Scouting Combine fast approaching, it’s time to re-visit the Pittsburgh Steelers and their needs for the 2013 NFL draft. It’s also time to update the 7-round projection of the which players would best fit what the Steelers need for the 2013 season and predict which players head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert might take.

I have had the good fortune to be able to communicate with a huge number of Steelers fans and one fact that is undeniable is that there is no consensus about which players or positions should be considered top priority in this draft.

Much of this uncertainty has to do with the fact that several top free agents, including wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis are both set to be free agents this off-season and the Steelers are in still very far in the negative in terms of salary cap to re-sign either of these starters.

The Steelers are also in a position where several of their veteran players are getting up there in age and getting paid huge salaries and so decisions about their futures must be made as well.

For me personally, as I break down the top 7 needs of the Steelers in order from most significant to least it would look something like this.

1. cornerback

2. outside linebacker

3. offensive guard

4. safety

5. inside linebacker

6. wide receiver

7. quarterback

That’s not to say these are the 7 positions that will be targeted with their draft. The Steelers are good about being able to target the best players in each round, especially early regardless of position. So, let’s take a look at my latest Steelers mock draft.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, college football and the NFL draft for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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First Round-Desmond Trufant, CB Washington

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Desmond Trufant, CB Washington-The Steelers are likely going to lose cornerback Keenan Lewis to free agency which leaves a huge hole at cornerback for a team that needs coverage players as they struggled to rush the passer last season. Trufant is one of my favorite corners in this entire draft because he’s big and physical and aggressive with excellent athleticism and a fearless demeanor.

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Second Round-Larry Warford, OG Kentucky

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Larry Warford, OG Kentucky-Warford isn’t the mauler that Alabama’s Chance Warmack is, but he’s still an excellent run blocking guard who’s more athletic than Warmack but would give the Steelers the top interior offensive line in the league.

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Third Round-Quanterus Smith, DE/LB Western Kentucky

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Quanterus Smith, LB Western Kentucky-Smith would likely be a higher pick if it weren’t for a knee injury that he suffered last season. Smith has all the tools to be an excellent rush outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 scheme. His draft status and his impact will all hinge on his health, so don’t be shocked if he’s drafted even later than this if his medical checks don’t go through.

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Fourth Round-Tavarres King, WR Georgia

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Tavarres King, WR Georgia-Not sure why King doesn’t get more publicity than he does, but make no mistake King is an experienced receiver in the toughest conference in the country. He runs crisp routes, is strong to beat press man, and is sure handed. He’s not an elite speed type of player, but is very good in the open field and is not afraid to work in traffic.

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Fifth Round-Montori Hughes, DT Tennessee-Martin

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Montori Hughes, DT Tennessee-Martin-Hughes is a massive nose tackle prospect. He’s got an ideal physical build and plays with a great center of gravity and just eats up blockers. If he had been able to stay at a DI school he would likely be drafted much higher.

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Sixth Round-Mike Hermann, QB RPI

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Mike Hermann, QB RPI-Hermann is the type of physical specimen that franchises drool over. He’s 6-5 and 250lbs with excellent athletic ability and a huge arm. However he hasn’t really had a chance to test his skills against any real defenses during his career at RPI so it’s hard to project if he can make that next step. But this late, as a project quarterback behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this is an easy pick to make. I’d even be willing to take him a round sooner just to be sure the Steelers get him.

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Seventh Round-Stefphon Jefferson, RB Nevada

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Stefphon Jefferson, RB Nevada-Johnson was a late junior entry into the draft, and for some his reasoning was a mystery. But whatever the reason, Johnson is in, and during his time at Nevada was a very productive back. He's a nice mix of size and speed, he makes quick decisions and shows nice agility, especially in traffic. Jefferson is one of those sleeper back who is going to tumble in the draft and end up being very productive early in his rookie year.