The Final Word: Momma’s 2016 Mock Draft

Over the course of the past several weeks I’ve carefully considered quite a passel of fine-looking young men. All of them are not only good-looking but have impressive football credentials (at least when you consider where they are likely to be drafted) and are, insofar as one can judge, high-character prospects.

This was all very enjoyable, but now comes the hard part—whittling it down to a single guy per Steelers pick. Some of the guys’ draft stocks have been moving up or down over the course of the last few weeks, but let’s be honest—nobody really knows what’s going to happen. You could even argue, given the two big-time trades for the No. 1 overall and No. 2 overall slots, that nobody knows for sure who the top two teams are going to take. Laremy Tunsil, the pre-trades consensus No. 1 pick, has just been ousted by Carson Wentz, who a few weeks ago was Rob Rang’s “sleeper pick”. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem to me that you can call a guy going in the top five players of the draft a “sleeper pick.”

So without further ado, here’s my picks. Feel free to mock (in the old-fashioned sense) my metric. I realize that “Best-Looking Player Available” is probably not winning any fans in the war rooms where the picks are actually made. But chacun à son gout, as Prince Orlofsky would say. (And no, he’s not a defensive back prospect, although there are some with similar names, but a character from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. It has nothing to do with drafting and everything to do with attitude…)

To heighten the tension, a technique I’ve learned from watching Dancing With the Stars, I will start with the Steeler’s final pick:

Round 7, Pick 240

Wide receiver Bralon Addison pauses in the Oregon locker room after the Ducks' Fiesta Bowl victory. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Michael Arellano/Emerald

Bralon Addison, WR/RB

You can read more about him hereThe short version, no pun intended, is that Addison is a Dri Archer-type pick with a lot less risk. Addison gives the Steelers the ultimate in positional flexibility, as he not only is a fearsome punter returner and a capable wide receiver but can play some QB on option reads.

With this pick Todd Haley’s brain will go into full Mad Scientist mode as he thinks up gadget plays with which to outrage Steeler Nation.

And seriously, we need to get Antonio Brown off of punt returns before something bad happens. The Jacoby Jones experiment was about as successful as the “Pedro Alvarez to first base” experiment was for the Pirates last season—in other words, not. Why not take a flyer on this guy?

Round 7, Pick  229
web1_4-12-16-Derrick-Alexander-mtWebDerrick Alexander, DE/DT 

Check out the rather modest amount of information I could find about this end-of-the-draft guy. He seems like a great kid, comes from a football family (his younger brother Dominique declared early for the draft this year, and their father played college ball, also in Oklahoma.)

He’s a solid citizen and a high-motor guy who may or may not pan out in the NFL, but one senses he will give it his all. I like these kind of guys… 



Round 6, Pick 220

akilAkil Blount, LB

How can we not take the high-character, hard-working son of Steeler legend Mel Blount? It’s only right that he come back to Pittsburgh.

You can read more about him here. My only fear is that as he is rising up the boards lately he won’t be available.

That pick the Steelers gave up for Brandon Boykin or the one they gave up for Josh Scobee would sure come in handy right now, although you can’t blame them for trying…

Round 4, Pick 123

Tom HackettTom Hackett, P

You can read more about him here. But what more do you need to know than you can see for yourself over to the left?

Besides winning Momma’s coveted BLA crown, he has an Australian accent, acquired legitimately, a self-deprecating sense of humor,  and truly amazing punting skills.

I suppose there’s nothing unusual anymore about finding a punter with an Australian accent—it’s probably more difficult to find one without it. But his skills put him in another class.

As I mentioned in the linked article, we haven’t had a truly proficient or truly good-looking punter since Daniel Sepulveda was released. Sepulveda was drafted in the fourth round. It will almost certainly take this year’s fourth-rounder to get Hackett. It’s obviously fate. Here’s our punter of the future, and he will look good both on and off the field.

To reiterate the conclusion of my profile, you can’t put a price on handsomeness, entertainment value, and good field position…

Round 3, Pick 89

Perry (1)Joshua Perry, OLB

I would love to put Kamalei Correa (also an OLB) in this spot, but I’ve seen him even mocked in the first round. He’s been all over the map. But on the safe assumption that Correa won’t be there, I’m going with Perry instead.

There’s a lot to love about Perry besides his obvious coolness. Although I’ve seen him mocked to the Steelers in the fourth round, he’s No. 44 on Dane Brugler’s Big Board. He’s a solid citizen, a leader on the field, a wrap-up tackler, big, physical, competitive, athletic—what’s not to like? He was described by fellow linebacker Sean Lee thusly:

“He does the right thing at every given moment. He’s a guy you never really have to worry about. And he works his tail off, day in, day out.”

You can read more about him here.

Round 2, Pick 58

CravensSu’a Cravens, S/ILB 

If Keanu Neal is still available I would take him first—maybe. But Cravens would be a great pick.

In so many ways he reminds one of Troy Polamalu, and what could be more appealing to Steeler Nation?

When this was pointed out to him, he said:

“The fact that people see a little of him in me, I mean that’s humbling, but at the same time that’s a legend. You don’t get compared to a legend and be a bust,” he said. “So it just makes me want to compete even harder and drive myself to be great like that, and hopefully one day be better than him.”

He mostly played ILB in college but will probably transition to safety in the NFL. But whatever he plays, he’ll look good doing it.

You can read more about him here.

And finally—

Round 1, Pick 25

mackensie-alexander-nfl-combine-1MacKensie Alexander, CB

I have seen a couple of recent mocks with William Jackson III going to Pittsburgh because the Washington signing of Josh Norman makes it more likely he will fall far enough. I would be fine with that. I profiled him here.

But on draft day you never know. And it’s a pass-happy and consequently corner-needy league, so Jackson might well be gone anyhow by the time the Steelers pick. For that matter, so might Alexander, and my alternate in that case is Artie Burns, who you can read about hereCan you tell I’m hoping for a DB?

But if he isn’t gone, Alexander has it all. He’s got an amazing story, great character, high football IQ, and he’s a cornerback. And let’s be honest—the Steelers badly need a good cornerback. I wrote a great deal about Alexander which you can read herePlease do. He’s worth reading about. I’m hoping to be writing about him come late July or early August, live from Latrobe.

And that’s it, folks. It isn’t the draft I thought I would end up with, but I’m really liking it. A project OT would have been nice, but I really couldn’t pass up the punter. And I hope the Steelers don’t either…


  • roxannafirehall

    Very nice draft, sans punter. I’m fine with our present punter. I would rather see another DB or DL with that pick, but I really like the guys you picked. We should be so fortunate. If the Rooneys read this, maybe Momma ends up in the war room next year.


  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    I am with roxannafirehall on this. The punter, though undoubtedly handsome, is both unneeded and a reach in the 4th. I would also like to see a DL with one of the first 3 picks because Heyward and Tuitt need a competent backup to share their rotation with if they are going to make it till the end of the season.

    Other than that, this is a fine draft.


  • +1 for the use of the collective noun “passel,” as in “passel of fine-looking young men.” Far classier than herd or stable, as in stud horses.

    I bring that up, because HOMER WANTS A PONY AGAIN THIS YEAR!!!

    The draft is like Christmas, where we all have our wishes and when it arrives, we finally get to see what’s under the tree for us. A couple years ago, we couldn’t believe we actually got DeCastro at 25. So there’s hope something wonderful will fall our way, or the ‘rents will mortgage a bit of the future and trade up so that we can get another Polamalu or something like that.

    Of course, now that they’ve spread the NFL Player Selection Meeting over three days, it’s a big more like Hanukkah. Thank goodness LGK Roger Goodell hasn’t decided to add an eighth round and spread it over eight days, or Homie would have to hit him upside the head with his Menorah.

    It’s a good draft, but I’m not sure – with all the need and the depth among defensive players, especially linemen – I’d take a punter in the fourth unless he was a second Ray Guy or maybe Reggie Roby.



  • I have to agree with cold_old_steelers_fan’s and roxannafirehall’s comments. I do believe that Berry will do just fine in his second year with the Steelers. He may not become the best punter in the NFL but he should do ok.

    “Feel free to mock (in the old-fashioned sense) my metric. I realize that “Best-Looking Player Available” is probably not winning any fans in the war rooms where the picks are actually made.”

    After two months of reading (elsewhere) posts and comments from people who act as if they are actually scouts, who act like they have a better idea of talent than the teams who have so much more information available, and who do mock draft after mock draft with different picks so that can say that they can say that they “mocked” the player that the Steelers eventually pick, I find that your metric makes just as much sense and has as much bearing on what the team does as any others that I read. In some ways it makes even more sense because you look at a player’s character. I look forward to reading your mock draft every year.


  • Dennis Doubleday

    Good call on Burns.


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