NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 1: 7 Rounds

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

2012 was a season to forget for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Injuries and poor play sunk what looked to be a very promising season. A team that some were considering among the very best in the NFL took a huge hit when their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was lost late in the season, and they backed into an 8-8 finish and missed the playoffs. The season left a bad taste in the Steelers’ mouth and there is a no shortage of optimism going into the off-season.

And the Steelers have been active. With the potential loss of cornerback Keenan Lewis, the Steelers brought in free agent cornerback and former Steelers player William Gay. From an NFL draft perspective, this take cornerback off the table for this team early in the draft.

On the flipside of that, it was announced that outside linebacker James Harrison wasn’t interested in taking a pay cut, so he was released and will be free to sign elsewhere. This, paired with recent rumors about players the Steelers are interested in and it seems as if outside linebacker is a priority in the draft — perhaps even in the first round.

The Steelers also anticipate losing free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, so certainly a new wide receiver would be a need. There are several other areas that could use an injection of youth and athleticism from inside linebacker to safety, so there are really many different directions the Steeler could go. But here is my current projection, to be updated weekly between now and the draft. Changes will be based on further game study and the rumblings of interest by the Steelers. Of course, this is the season of misinformation, so you have to be smart about what information you take seriously and which information you don’t.

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

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First Round-Damontre Moore, DE/LB Texas A&M

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers chose to cut ties with longtime star; rush outside linebacker James Harrison. This was done as a cost cutting measure but was done so without any real depth behind him. The Steelers have made no secret that they have shown an interest in Moore, first at the combine and more recently at the Aggies pro day. Moore fits what the Steelers like to do on defense. He's less about being an uber-athletic pass rusher and more about being very hard working, physical and versatile. As a player Moore is able to play standing up or with his hand on the ground, which fits the Steelers scheme very well. He's not very experienced in coverage, but as a rush specialist he could be very good in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's scheme.

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Second Round-Robert Woods, WR USC


With the pending loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace, there is a significant hole in the Steelers wide out depth chart. Woods isn't as explosive as some of the other top receivers in this draft, but what he does have is a polish and refinement to his game. He runs excellent routes, has live hands and goes and gets the football, and is sneaky athletic, particularly in the open field with the ball in his hands. He could be an exceptional complement to deep threat receiver Antonio Brown on the other side.

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Third Round-Matt Scott, QB Arizona

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Some Steelers fans might consider drafting a quarterback in the third round a waste of a pick for a team with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the roster. But as Steelers fans saw last year there are no guarantees about Roethlisberger's health and when he did go down, the depth behind him was miserable. Scott could be this year's Russell Wilson on the right team, but for the Steelers he's a very talented athlete who could be used in certain packages and provide the Steelers with a backup quarterback the team can be confident with.

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Fourth Round-Jon Bostic, LB Florida

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Inside linebacker is another position where the Steelers are thin at. Starting linebackers Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons are both solid, with Timmons having a ton of potential, but there's no assurances that Foote will return and there's no talent behind him. Bostic is more athlete than football player at this point but he plays with a high motor and shows me a high ceiling. Bostic has the skills and mindset that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau can coach up, find spots for and help him along in his development while he cuts his chops on special teams.

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Fifth Round-Shawn Williams, SS Georgia

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Safety Troy Polamalu has been the heart and soul of the defensive secondary for many seasons. But all good things much come to an end at some point, and the safety position for the Steelers is lacking in terms of talent. Williams slips in this draft because he's a pure strong safety, but while he's raw in coverage he has all the physical tools to be a very good safety in this league. He was the Bulldogs' top defensive back last season and shows excellent leadership abilities. And who better to learn under for a natural athlete like Williams than a future Hall of Fame safety like Polamalu.

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Sixth Round-Onterio McCalebb, RB Auburn

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The Steelers offense has a component for speed player out of the backfield. And there's probably not a player that better fits than role in this draft than McCalebb. He ran a blistering 4.34 forty, but in watching him play you can see he's much faster on the field. He won't go any higher than this because he's pretty seriously undersized at just under 170lbs. He's likely a part time player who will be more of a return man, but I can certainly see him bring used on offense on a limited basis.

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Seventh Round-Montori Hughes, DT Tennessee-Martin

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I have had Hughes in my mocks to the Steelers since the beginning. There is very little talk about him as a player, but I think he could be an excellent rotational player both as a 0 technique in the base 3-4 and a 3 technique when the Steelers play a nickel defense. He's so big and so strong there has to be a place for him even if it's just to eat up blockers and allow the Steelers linebackers free runs to the football. It's probably wishful thinking at this point that Hughes makes it this late, as players his size are in great demand in the league.