Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


The Steelers are on the clock

March 25, 2009 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

Steelers Today has been participating in a mock draft among bloggers. 31 picks have been made, and the Steelers are on the clock.

To see all of the players who have been drafted so far, click here.

Many of the players that fans want the Steelers to take like Tyson Jackson and Alex Mack are already off the board. So, who do you think the Steelers should select of the players who are still left?

I have to make my selection by tomorrow morning, so let me know what you think.

(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. Thanks.)

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39 Comments to “The Steelers are on the clock”

  1. Uhh, Beatty I suppose

  2. Well, there isn’t an obvious choice. No highly rated prospect has fallen in our lap, which just leaves a number of borderline 1st-2nd rounders. Given the Steelers roster (and what we know about the prospects vs what the Steeler scouting department knows) we are essentially left with the following: (including pro’s and con’s)

    OT: Will Beatty (Best Tackle left - some rate him higher than Britton - good arm length and technique - only Con is strength which can be improved in the weightroom)
    C/G/T: M.Unger (Not as good of C as Mack but very good and extremely flexible - can play any line position)
    DT: R.Brace (I would not take this high due to the issues you addressed in you second 3-4 column)
    DE: J.Gilbert (Good prospect for a 3-4 end but not sure if this is too high for him - generally considered a 2nd rounder)
    DB: Sean Smith (A FS with the capability to play any DB position FS/SS/CB. Only open question on him is, playing for Utah, the level of competition he played against.)
    CB: A.Smith or D.Butler (Remaining top CB prospects. A.Smith is a bit short and D.Butler played for UConn so again there is the level of competition issue.)

    So, who do I think you should pick? Since trading down isn’t an option and given what I know now, I would say Beatty or Smith. Both have first round talent and good upside. Gilbert or Brace could potentially be there at the end of round 2. Unger won’t but pick #32 is a little high for him.

  3. One correction: Sean Smith actually played CB in college not FS. Some pundits/scouts are just projecting him to safety due to his size (apparently they think he’s too big to play corner…go figure?)

  4. It’s tough, I think if that;’s what’s left, I’d love to see them trade back 10 spots and still get one one those players, then trade back into the high second and grab another. If they have to stay I suppose Butler ( UConn) Quick side note. I heard the knock on Brace is back issues, is this true, if he has back issues at his size I don’t think he’s worth a top three round selection

  5. I’d say Butler or Alphonso Smith. If we HAVE to go OL, take Max Unger. (Just say no to Beatty and Brace.)

  6. I agree with scott but, I go with Sean Smith @ 32. or Unger @ 32.

  7. I’m actually leaning towards Sean Smith. He’s big, fast, and can play either CB or S.

    I have concerns about Alphonso Smith. I know that he has great speed and coverage skills. However, I don’t like 5’9″ cornerbacks. Also, he’s too small to be as physical as Dick LeBeau would require him to be. I can’t see him being strong in run support. I also think he’d have problems shedding blockers or jamming a strong #2 receiver like Anquan Boldin.

    Darius Butler might be a 2nd round consideration, but I’d never take him this high.

    I like Max Unger, but I don’t think he’s worth a 1st round selection. The only interior lineman worth that was Alex Mack, and he’s gone.

    I actually like Eben Britton more than I like William Beatty. He’s got a 20 lb. weight advantage and ran a faster 40. Beatty did do 3 more bench presses than Britton, but that’s not much of a difference. I also think Britton played against better competition.

    Brace is not a first round player. Neither is Gilbert.

    There are a few guys who haven’t been mentioned that I’m also considering. Louis Delmas is an intriguing DB. I’ve also thought about William Moore, but I talked myself out of that one.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to Sean Smith or a player that I haven’t mentioned yet. He’s my top choice right now, and nobody has even mentioned him yet. Hint: Aaron Smith’s replacement.

  8. I agree that it is too early for Unger. I also agree that Britton has played against better competition than Beatty. They both are said to have pretty good technique and feet. Beatty, however, has longer arms. Why might you ask is arm length important? Well, for linemen, it is far more important than their 40 time. The longer a lineman’s arms are, the easier it is for him to get into his opponent’s body and move him before his opponent can get into his body and move him.

    Anyway, at 32 I can only justify picking a Tackle (Beatty in this case) or Sean Smith who could play any of the DB positions. I must admit that, although I follow the draft closely, I don’t have a clue what DE you would take this high with Jackson off the board.

  9. Here I was all set to shop the pick for an early second and maybe a third, but then I realized that Michael Johnson is still available, I think that is where you were going.
    They basically have the first pick of the following round, because the talent for the respective pick in every round will be long gone, so if they stay in place none of their picks will be of that caliber.

  10. Lenn,
    I like Michael Johnson, but he’s just too light to play DE for the Steelers. He’d be a 3-4 linebacker. You can never have enough linebackers in a 3-4 system, but we don’t need one in the first round.

    If we played a 4-3, Johnson would definitely be a speed rushing defensive end candidate.

  11. John,
    Who said he was a defensive end? ;-)

  12. What about Robert Ayers-De or Evander Hood-DT
    or Dairus Butler-CB or William Moore-FS

  13. Oh another question i like to have answered, Can Michael Johnson-DE/OLB from Wake Forest can her play MLB? If so, why not give him a year to learn the system behind James Farrior then in 2010 he should be ready to start along with Harrison, Timmons, and Woodley. Now that’s linebacker group for this 3-4 defense.

  14. Surprise Draft Pick
    Brandon Pettigrew-TE,
    I’m sure he can block better than M.Spaeth and better red-zone target. Also Tomlin said last year “Best way to protect your QB is to give him weapons”!

  15. Michael,
    I thought a lot about Robert Ayers. However, I thought there was another option that was better than him.

    I didn’t think any of the safeties were worth this pick. If I wanted a safety, I might even take Sean Smith and convert him.

    I like your Michael Johnson idea to replace Farrior. James Farrior has been so good for so long, that I sometimes forget that his time is coming to a close.

    As far as taking Pettigrew, I wouldn’t put it past Bruce Arians. I’ve often said that Arians has a tight end fetish. As far as Arians is concerned, there is no such thing as too many tight ends.

  16. I was hoping that V. Davis might fall. I don’t really like any of the DBs left for this spot.

    I think I’d have to take Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State. He’s a terrific eventual replacement for Aaron Smith.

  17. man i have to role the dice and try to steel darius butler at pick 32 and in the second round jerron gilbert or kruger if availible or any defensive end that can compliment an aging d line the rest of the picks can somehow find a sleeper OT or diamond in the rough guard just get some good cattle from the third pick on, and hopfully get a couple of good steels on O line in this draft!!!!

  18. ooh and limas sweed just needs to play catch with anybody that wants to throw to him and we might just have a beast in him heck nate washington was an undrafted free agent…. i think?, we might find someone late in this draft yet so i wont panic on sweed i belive he can come thru this year or hines ward will just blind side him!!

  19. Michael Johnson is from Georgia Tech and he takes FAR too many plays off to be considered this high.

  20. To the “admin”
    Thank you for liking my selection or idea for the Steelers #1 pick. But reality is the Steelers needs OL help, The weaklink is not Hartwig alone but Stapleton appears to me to be that link.
    Herman (big baby) Johnson-OG/OT or Jamon Meredith-OT/OG (Combine very impressive)
    so with that said here’s my first three picks.

    1.Herman Johnson-OG/OT (Darnell Stapleton)
    2.Ron Brace-DT (if he falls)or William Moore-FS
    3.Lawrence Sidbury-DE

    I have a question for you, Would you trade Willie Parker? To move up or for several extra picks like a 2nd and 3rd round?
    The value in trading Parker is now, it should be Mendenhall’s show in 2010. No value for Parker then.
    Last Question, Can Michael Vick play WR? Does anybody know if Mr Vick can catch the ball?

  21. Fili Moala from USC is a hard worker and would be perfect for the Steelers. They love players who love the game. But I would still trade down for Ron Brace. We need a replacement for Hampton, I think he could be cut this summer if he is not in shape again.

  22. Michael,
    Herman Johnson is indeed huge. However, he’s not the best guard available. That would be Duke Robinson. If I were to take an interior lineman at this point, it would be Robinson, not Johnson. I think Herman is going to have stamina issues. He’s already shown as much in college.

    Brace’s back problems scare me.

    As far as Parker goes, I would definitely consider trading him if I got enough in return. I have never been a big Willie Parker fan. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “Fast Willie” was leading the NFL in rushing before his injury in 2007. However, I have never been satisfied with Willie’s elusiveness, nor his ability to gain short yardage. Parker is a bit of a one trick pony, IMO. He’s fast. But that’s it. He doesn’t have great vision or great moves.

  23. Michael,
    I forgot to comment on your Michael Vick question. Vick was the face of the NFL (along with Peyton Manning) as a QB. Why would he want to switch positions? Even if he did switch, I think he has shown that he has the speed and elusiveness to be a running back. I don’t know if he’s ever caught a pass. Why would you want to convert him to WR? Help me understand your thinking on this one. Thanks.

  24. John,
    I agree. Michael Johnson is a very good speed rusher, but he isn’t worth a 1st round pick.

  25. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

    Dennis nailed it on the head. I submitted my pick this morning. I will be posting it in a couple of hours. But Fili Moala was my pick. He should make a perfect Steeler. I don’t want to give away my rationale just yet, since it will be in my post. But congrats for picking a guy that I haven’t heard mentioned on any messageboard or on any mock draft, but who has all of the attributes that will make him a perfect Pittsburgh Steeler.

  26. I was just going to add that my first three are based on the Steeler’s resigns James Harrison. If not or they can not resign him before the draft then his replacement should be selected in this draft. (in my opinion) Michael Johnson may fit that need and be the BVA at 32.
    I’m sorry, i understand that Duke Robinson is the #1 OG. But I’m not impressed. Meaning, he didn’t do anything at either he’s bowl game or at the Senior Bowl. Nor at the combine, in fact he rather looked sloopy and out of shape. At Johnson’s pro day, he look like He should be the #1 OG now and he can play OT (Senior Bowl work-out’s).
    Now if the Steelers can’t sign #92 then my mock may look like this.
    1.Michael Johnson DE/OLB (try to r/s 92 and move to MLB if they do).
    2.Herman Johnson-OG/OT (if he falls due to bad press prior to pro-day)
    3.William Moore-FS (if he falls + let R.Clark go in 2010).

    Last thing, Try to trade FastWillie to move up in round 2 and get an extra pick in 3 or 4.


  27. Hmm,

    To answer you question, I would not replace BigBen with anybody (past or present) but if M.Vick can catch and we know he USE to be pretty fast (4.2 40). Two thirds of a SLASH would not be to bad on a team lacking a PR/KR and 3rd down wr. Like Tomlin said”He deservers a 2nd chance”.
    Your selection of DE/DT Fili Moala I liked him in the beginning of the college season but for some reason he’s been falling. Nothing mention about him at USC’s pro day he may fall to #64 for the Steelers, Who knows’

    Steeler History as shown me that the Steeler’s fist pick is the Position that they cut or release from the team or the first position they bring in thru FA. This year they cut or release ILB,OG, this year’s FA have been WR,CB/S/RS. Also the player or position is brought into Pittsburgh for that final interview prior to the draft. (Mendenhall is the only one, and that’s because he dropped to them at 23. Why? i don’t know but i hope i’m wrong (meaning he’s like L.Sweed problems holding on the ball in college. In last year draft bio’s that was listed about him)Anyway!
    Question, there’s a list of draft prospects coming to Pittsburgh that hasn’t been listed yet any information on that?
    thanks for your time

  28. The Steelers do not have to replace James Harrison in this years draft if they do not think they will sign him long term. Harrison has this year and he will be franchised the year after. Plus Bruce Davis will get a look and Timmons can move to that spot, plus the sleeper in this is Donovan Woods. He will be in the mix at inside or outside, just remember Harrison was an UDFA and I think Woods will be come up along those same lines. He is athletic, smart and a hardworker.

    Fast Willie is not the best, I have the same short yardage concerns, but he is not going nowhere. I call him the final straw. The Steelers will wear out a team with a combo of backs then bring in Willie in the second half of the game to break off the long run that put the game away. Yes, Willie is 2 yds, 2 yds, 2 yds, 2 yds, then 50 yds. He knows the Steelers way and he is not going to expect big money from the Steelers, He wants to play and most of all he wants to “WIN”.

  29. I’m Sorry but I know this player has been selected in your mock draft but if this player falls (like he has)and the Steelers have been known for trading up more in the 1st round (than trading down). Do you think the Steelers would trade up for Malcolm Jenkins-CB/S or Andre Smith-OT/OG?? i would for a 1st+3rd+6th or use Fast Willie (53yds in the Super Bowl,and don’t blame the O-Line, BigBen loves them) as trade bait. Or at least try to trade Larry Foote for a 4th or 5th round pick.

    thanks again

  30. To Dennis,

    I understand what you said but they resign Arnold Harrison for a reason, maybe for depth ok but he did start in two games for the Steelers in 06(when Porter was inj). Now he’s no James Harrison but he can play better than(when heathy)B.Davis or A.Frazier or P.Bailey or D.Woods. Remember he was on I/R last season and Bailey and Woods was brought back on the team for his position.

    Also as far as Willie Parker, since his inj. he hasn’t run the same way, meaning he looks alot like Famous-Amos Zereoue(dances to the hole)and he does not have the body mass that Steelers need to help that O-Line besides with that extra 5th round pick Frank Summers FB/RB from UNLV along with a 2nd year Mendenhall that maybe the best tio (forgot about M.Moore for a moment)that the Steelers need. Notice no memtion of Gary Russell or Carey Davis. One maybe Two extra roster spots for them as well.

    thanks again,

  31. Michael,
    If Malcolm Jenkins or Andre Smith fall to the point where the Steelers can get them, I would definitely trade up.

    People overstate how bad Andre Smith’s behavior was. He has never hurt anyone but himself. He doesn’t hit women. He hasn’t been caught with drugs in his car. He just makes stupid personal decisions that hurt his position in the draft.

    Prior to some of his stupid personal decisions, he was recognized as the best offensive tackle in the draft. What has really happened to change that? Not much, in my opinion.

  32. You never know, Mendenhall was not suppose to be there at 23. But he did, now can he play up to the hype. But if Smith does fall to where the Steelers might entertain the tought of a trading up I would use him more at OG than OT I know call me crazy but he looks more comfortable with less space.
    I liked Fili Moala DE/DT from USC, but for some reason or another his stock has fallen where he might be a steal in the 2nd or 3rd round’s like Mr Woodley.
    Here’s a question I have, when do scouts really grade these draft prospects? meaning before the season based on last year’s(as a Jr or So) performance or during the college season or their Bowl game’s or at that the combine and their pro-days?
    Based on performance in his Bowl game and at the Combine, Robert Ayers-DE maybe that pass-rusher vs a second tier DT who did not produce at his pro-day.
    Besides they may draft both…why not, Timmons + Woodley were both ranked at OLB and DE in the 07 draft.
    The Questions is do the Steeler’s Resign Both Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel or One or None?

    I think this draft will tell us alot of whose going to be here in 2010.

    thanks for the reply

  33. I agree with Michael on Moala. I have nothing against Moala and we all agree that young depth on the D-line is a priority (although not necesarily the top priority), however, this seems way too high for him. Most sites (SI/CBS/ESPN) have him rated as the 6-8th best DT. It seems very likely that he could be had at the end of the 2nd round. The same can not be said for Beatty, Unger, or S.Smith.

    I diagree with Michael on trading up. Unless someone drops into the late 20′s, they simply do not have the ammunition. To move from 32 to 25 to get Holmes they had to give up 3rd and 4th round picks. They can’t afford to do that this year. They may have 9 picks, but 5 of them are in the 5-7th rounds. The Steelers really need add some quality depth to the O-line, D-line, and secondary. They can’t do that in the 5-7th rounds (unless extremely lucky).

  34. John,
    I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Although he is listed as high as the #2 DT on many boards as well. I do my own board. I base it mostly on game film. I’m not a big believer in the Combine or pro days.

    We’ve all seen cornerbacks who can’t cover anybody shoot up the draft board because they run a 4.2 in the 40 at the NFL combine. That’s total crap in my opinion. I’d rather have a guy who doesn’t do as well at the combine, but who performs well in games. That’s what I see in Moala.

    Be careful about placing too much emphasis on players’ “ratings”. Remember what the ratings said about James Harrison, Willie Parker, and many others. Also, do you recall how highly rated players like Quentin Groves, Max Jean-Gilles, Matt Jones, and others have done in the NFL?

    If this were an exact science, computers would do the draft, and there would be no “busts” in the NFL.

    I don’t think that Moala will be available late in the 2nd round, and I think he is much more valuable than he is rated. That’s why I view him as a steal. But my pick is also partially driven by the fact that this mock draft didn’t play out the way I expected it to.

    Lastly, I think this pick has made some people think. That’s a good thing. It’s a new conversation. I don’t think I could stomach another rehashed discussion about the virtues of Alex Mack and Max Unger. :-)

  35. To John,

    Thank you for agree with me about Fili Moala.
    Also Beatty is a project not a 1st rounder as for Unger, Woods is a better fit and a better value in rd’s 2 or 3. I like S.Smith but can he return kicks or punts if not Dairus Butler is a better fit a better value being the 3rd best CB and rising vs CB/S whose falling maybe in round two.

    If’s it’s O-Line then Herman Johnson (not Duke Robinson)-OG/OT or Jamon Meredith-OT/OG or Alex Mack-C/OG

    Secondary then Malcolm Jenkins(if he falls)-CB Dairus Butler-CB/RS or William Moore-FS/SS.

    D-Line then Peria Jerry(if he falls) or Tyson Jackson(if he falls) but who should be at #32 then Evander”ziggy”Hood-DT/DE or Robert Ayers-DE.

    LineBackers then Michael Johnson(move to MLB)-DE/OLB or Rey Maualuga-ILB(he may fall)or Larry English(move to MLB)-OLB/DE

    WR then Darrius Heyward-Bey has the numbers but Brian Robiskie is more like Hines Ward either way the Steelers could do no wrong.

    TE then Brandon Pettigrew, no word or mention about a “new-deal” for Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth had a 30/70 year.

    thanks again

  36. Don,

    I agree that you can’t put too much stock on the combine or pro days. Unfortunately, I am not able to watch too much college football so most of my opinions are based of reading the analysis of others. Given my opinions on the the Steelers top priority I have been focused on the O-line and, to a lesser extent, the secondary. Hence, my votes for Beatty or S.Smith.

    If you have been able to watch a lot of these guys, then you have more info than I do. I would, however, add one caveat. No matter how much you like a particular guy you have to have an idea of how the rest of the field values him so you can maximize your overall draft value. That is, don’t take a guy at 32 just because he might not be there at 64. Or, using your example, do not take Harrison or Parker in the first round when you know they can be had in the seventh (or the undrafted FA that they were).

    Ideally, if there is no one of obvious value at 32, you would trade back to a point where you think you can still get your guy and pick up additional picks (which could be used to move up from 64 or 96). Pittsburgh did this back when they drafted Hampton. In this case, you were stuck as there are no trades.

    To Michael,
    I wouldn’t call Beatty a project but I do agree that neither he nor Unger are true 1st rounders. Barring freak luck, a true 1st rounder will not be there at 32. Most boards will only list 25 or so players with 1st round grades and then start lumping them into a 1st-2nd round tweener group (which is where Beatty would fall).

    On the specific players you mention, everyone has their favorites. I can’t imagine Jerry, Jackson, Jenkins, Maualuga or Bey falling that much. The others are all quality players although I still favor S.Smith over the other other CB’s likely available and I am really high on Unger. I am also very leary of Johnson. He is incredibly gifted but he doesn’t seem to play with much heart.

    If Mack is available I would take him over Unger but Unger is my second choice because he could play any position - and the Steelers have potential holes all over the o-line. If Colon doesn’t improve he can play tackle, if Stapleton fails, he can play guard. I also have the same concerns on H.Johnson that Don (admin) does.

    Overall, this has indeed provoked some discussion. While there are positions and players that I favor, I trust the Steeler scouting department and Colbert to make the right decision. (And lock Arians in a closet to keep him from taking another TE)

  37. To John and Everyone else who has been reading and replying back, THANK YOU. I had alot of fun talking draft,and could keeping if you like but Like last years draft, you just don’t know who is going to drop or what trade deals are going to be done. Last year I would of bet that the Steelers was goint to take Jonathan Stewrt-RB from Oregon, in fact i made a wager with a reporter(No Names)about last years 1st rd pick. His was Jeff Otah-OL from PITT. you know mine anyway we decide NO Winner, but I still think I won because they choose a RB and I did say a RB not OT. What can you do..

    Hey do you know what draft prospects are or have scheduled visits here in Pittsburgh?
    That will tell you alot on who they are really looking at.

    thanks again for you time

  38. John,
    If I could have traded down in this draft, I definitely would have done that. I actually found myself in a position where there was NOBODY that I wanted at that spot. But I had to take someone.

    BTW, the primary problem that I have about basing opinions on rankings is that they rankings don’t take into account what system the player is being drafted into. Peria Jerry is a very good defensive tackle for a 4-3 system. He’s less so for a 3-4 system. So when a ranking says he is the #2 tackle in the draft, is that universal? Would he be #2 for all teams’ needs, or only certain teams.

    The way I see it, Moala is more useful to us than any other potential DE candidate except Jackson. But he is not even ranked as a DE, since he didn’t play DE in college.

    If people had it all to do over again, do you think LaMarr Woodley would be more highly rated than he was coming out of college. But of course, he was rated primarily as a DE, not a LB.

  39. Michael,
    You’re welcome. It was fun. Come back any time.


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