With two extra weeks of hype leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, most people are probably mock-drafted out at this point.
So how about another Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft?
This one comes with a twist. Not only does it predict picks but also trades.
Previously, we modeled four possible trades the Steelers could make in the first round. None of them are included in this mock draft. The first-round trade in this mock is more conservative, but there are two more trade-downs later in the draft that bring the Steelers’ total number of picks to 12. They’ve never had that many picks in a draft since it went to seven rounds in 1994.
With so many draft picks, the Steelers finally can admit they’re rebuilding and not in “transition” after missing the playoffs for two straight seasons and three of the last five seasons.
FIRST ROUND (No. 18, from Jets)
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
(Sr., 6’2″, 234 pounds)
In this scenario, it’s the New York Jets who move up to No. 15 because they want LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who goes to the Steelers in our most recent mock draft.
If Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard is gone and the Steelers are set to pick Beckham, the Jets are going to have to pay if they want the Steelers’ pick. According to the draft pick trade value chart on Drafttek.com, there’s a 150-point difference between the No. 15 pick and the No. 18 pick. The Jets’ third-rounder, No. 80, is worth 190 points. But for the Steelers to essentially give up Beckham, they’ll drive a hard bargain. With 11 picks in the draft, the Jets can afford it.
At No. 18, the Steelers could fill their glaring cornerback need with Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, but he’s not quite a top-20 pick. Inside linebacker isn’t one of their biggest needs, but the Steelers need so much help on defense that they can’t go wrong picking at any position. The best value here is Mosley, one of the safer picks in the draft as long as he’s healthy. He’s turned in back-to-back seasons with more than 100 tackles.
The Steelers signed inside linebacker Arthur Moats in free agency, but he’s never started a full season. Vince Williams, a sixth-round pick last year, performed admirably after Larry Foote went down. Sean Spence, their 2012 third-rounder, was the last early-round investment the Steelers made on an inside linebacker, but he might not see the field after a devastating knee injury in his rookie year.
Mosley would be the Steelers’ first inside linebacker chosen in the first round since Lawrence Timmons in 2007, and that worked out pretty well.