2014 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers’ Early Seven-Round Mock
Pittsburgh Steelers' Seven-Round Mock
Seeing as the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in the middle of a season falling apart at the seams, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.
Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest concerns is left tackle. The Steelers entered the season with second-year big man Mike Adams in a starting role, but found out in a few games that he wasn’t the answer on the blindside. Levi Brown was brought aboard, but got injured and landed on IR. If the Steelers are going to field a more efficient offense in 2014, they need an upgrade at left tackle.
Despite their need at left tackle, the Steelers still have holes across the board. Upgrades at wide receiver will be needed moving forward, especially if Pittsburgh fails to bring back a couple of their pass-catchers headed for free agency. The entire defensive secondary could use a few upgrades, specifically at the cornerback and free safety positions. Even adding another developmental quarterback to the mix might not be a bad idea.
Either way, the Steelers need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer Pittsburgh an opportunity to rebuild their roster while addressing the problems that have cropped up during the season.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Steelers could choose to do with their six current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.
1st Round: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
No matter how they do it, the Steelers must find a way to upgrade at left tackle this offseason. They haven’t gotten good play from Adams, and their trade for Brown obviously didn’t work out. That’s why they need to spend their first-round pick on a blindside blocker. Lewan is the second-best left tackle of the 2014 class, using good athleticism and a brutul demeanor out on the field to dominate defenders. The Steelers need a new starter, and Lewan is exactly what the doctor ordered.
2nd Round: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
It’s been another year full of issues out wide for the Steelers, who face Emmanuel Sanders and Jericho Cotchery entering free agency this offseason. That would leave them with only Antonio Brown and Derek Moye at the position. Richardson would be a tremendous addition for Pittsburgh. The tall, quick receiver has a knack for making plays with his size, speed and route running. While he will occasionally drop easy passes, Richardson is a difference-maker who can contribute from Day 1.
4th Round: George Uko, DE, USC
With a couple of their defensive ends set to be free agents, the Steelers could be forced to restock their 3-4 defense with big, versatile linemen. Assuming their pending free agents aren’t re-signed, Pittsburgh could choose to use a draft pick on someone like Uko. A well-rounded defender who spent most of his college career playing from the defensive tackle spot, Uko has the mix of pass rush and run defense needed to make an impact as a 3-4 defensive end.
5th Round: Kenny Ladler, FS, Vanderbilt
The Steelers have some work to do at the safety position this offseason. Ryan Clark is headed for free agency, and Troy Polamalu is a shell of his former self. They need some young talent that can bring the same physical presence the Pittsburgh defense has been known for. Ladler is a tough, hard-hitting safety who flies to the football, especially against the run. His awareness and instincts in pass coverage aren’t great, but his ferocious tackles and hard-nosed run defense make him well worth the pick.
6th Round: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
It seems like, sooner rather than later, the Steelers will move on from Ben Roethlisberger as their quarterback of the future. Seeing as the depth at the position isn’t reassuring, Pittsburgh should go out and grab a potential replacement. While he might be gone by the sixth, Thomas has the potential to develop into a quality starter in Pittsburgh. He has a big, powerful body that allows him to move in the pocket and pick up yards on the ground, but needs to improve on his accuracy and decision making to capitalize on his natural talent.
7th Round: Jemea Thomas, CB, North Carolina
Another physical defensive back, Thomas is a solid seventh-round addition. With numerous concerns in the secondary, the Steelers could use some extra depth on the backend of their defense. Bringing aboard a player like Thomas would do a lot for the Pittsburgh defense and their ability to slow down opposing offenses. He’s a willing run defender who isn’t afraid to take on runners, and has the skill set to develop into a quality slot cornerback in the NFL.