Momma’s 7-Round Mock Draft
Talk about on the clock! This is going to be a gargantuan post, as my picks are coming in at the very last possible moment.
I have an excuse, though.
My dog ate my post. Seriously, something went badly wrong. Knowing I would be away at the beginning of the week, I scheduled Rounds 4-7 (lovingly researched of course) for Monday morning and planned to publish the remainder of the draft today.
I returned last night only to discover there is no trace of that post anywhere. Rounds 4-7 are as if they had never existed. Even in the browser history I can find the tabs I looked at for my research but nothing whatsoever in terms of the post. It’s a bit creepy.
So I’m going to attempt to recreate an abridged version of those four picks and then finish up the last three rounds. Sorry to trouble you with my technical difficulties, but I promised a post for Monday, and didn’t want you to think I lied…
Round 7: OG Kareem Are
Also considered: None. Like Mr. Steelhammer in the All-Pro Names draft, I felt we couldn’t do better than this gentleman…
Although when drafting it is generally a good idea to take the best player available, (almost) regardless of need, the last round is surely a good place to take a chance on a player strictly out of need. What is a position of “need” is of course a matter of your perspective.
From my perspective, what this team needs is more players who look like Mike Tomlin. From that standpoint, I don’t think you could do any better than Mr. Are. He was even a social science major in college, which make it clear that this was meant to be. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com projects him as a UDFA, but can we really take that chance? Not in my book.
Round 6: DE Garrett Sickels
Also considered: CB Jamal Agnew, S Fish Smithson
Lance Zierlein had this to say about Sickels:
Led the Big Ten with 43 quarterback pressures…Decent athlete in space. Has lateral quickness to slide inside and attack the gap. Active hand fighter. Keeps playing to the whistle and will hustle into tackles down the field. Had one of his best performances of the season against the talented Ohio State offensive line.
Of course, there is always the bad news:
Sickels’ play strength at the point of attack is a big concern and he may be forced into an outside linebacker role in order to keep tackles off of him. Sickels projects as a backup who could eventually find the field in pass rush situations.
He might be a back-up, but he would certainly improve the view on the bench. Works for me…
Round 5: TE Cole Hikutini
Also considered: RB Donnel Pumphrey, LB Matt Milano
Here was Lance Zierlein’s bottom line on this fine-looking young man:
…natural hands and the quickness to create separation along his routes. He has NFL ball skills to win in competitive catch situations and he will be a challenge for linebackers to cover in space.
This concerned Mr. Zierlein, though:
Hikutini lacks NFL toughness as a blocker which could put a ceiling on his draft value.
I’m not nearly as worried. It’s scarcely surprising that Hikutini “lacks NFL toughness.” Would you want to mess up a face like that?
I am confident, however, that after he studies sufficient film on Heath Miller he will realize you can be a great blocker and still be gorgeous. Problem solved.
Round 4: RB James Conner
Also considered: No one. No one at all.
Anyone who even peripherally follows Pittsburgh sports probably heard something about the journey Conner had with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the 2015 season.
It was an amazingly inspiring story. Conner would show up to work out as soon as he got out of chemo sessions. He was there as much as possible supporting his teammates. He was comforting them when he himself was afraid. He’s an impressive young man in every way.
He wrote an article for the Player’s Tribune last year which I highly recommend you read. He appears to have an indomitable spirit, and I can’t imagine anyone I would rather see as a Steeler. So rock on, James Conner, and I hope you do so in the Black and Gold.
Round 3a: S Rayshawn Jenkins
Also considered: WR Mack Hollins, LB Raekwon Mcmillan, WR Shelton Gibson
There’s a lot to like, according to Lance Zierlein:
One of 16 siblings, Jenkins has had to fight for everything he gets throughout his life — and it shows with his competitive spirit on the field. Looks like a Miami safety with good size, long arms and an aggressive field demeanor. Looks to punish pass catchers over the middle and running backs looking to finish their runs against him. Has size and physicality to handle run support in the box. Gets wide as a tackler and fires from his hips. Does a nice job of reading keys when stepping downhill to fill his run fits.
I liked the “Sources Tell Us” comment, from an NFC scout:
“He’s not perfect, but come on. He’s big, fast and strong. I mean, if you don’t want that then I don’t know what to say.”
Zierlein thinks he would have to “work his way up the depth chart,” and I agree. Jenkins has made some poor decisions along the way in terms of hair styles, and I admit that I worry that exposure to Antonio Brown is probably not going to help.
Let us hope for better things, though. And given that the Steelers are pretty set at starting safeties for the moment, that isn’t such a bad thing for Jenkins to have to work his way up from the ground floor. This means less money for fancy stylists, for one thing. While he is working his way up, he will only enhance what is already a fine-looking group of young safeties.
Round 3: WR Chad Hansen
Also considered: DB Shaquill Griffin, WR Amara Darboh, QB Nathan Peterman
Perhaps now that Martavis Bryant has been conditionally reinstated there is less motivation to take a wide receiver, but there’s a lot to like about this guy.
Lance Zierlein quotes an AFC regional scout:
”I’ll bet you he will turn into a hot name during the draft. He’s kind of unassuming when you see him in person, but he’s a really competitive guy who plays bigger and faster than he might test. Coaches are going to love him.”
Zierlein’s bottom line:
Hansen has good combination of size and speed for the perimeter with an ability to climb over the top of cornerbacks and win the deep ball. He has average separation quickness when asked to work the first two levels, but he has the hands and strength to handle contested catch situations.
My bottom line? Seriously handsome. He would definitely be a contested catch in Pittsburgh!
Round 2: QB Deshone Kizer
Also considered: DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Sidney Jones
The Steelers have not attempted to be secretive about their desire to start looking for Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement. This may be a smoke screen, of course, and if so I hope they will consider Cooper Rush, my sixth-round pick in the All-Pro Names draft.
But it they are serious, I like the looks of this young man. Here’s how Lance Zierlein feels about him:
Big quarterback with a big arm. Can make all of the throws. Has step and crank power to drive throws into the seams. Has the arm talent and willingness to challenge safeties on both intermediate and deep throws. Looks the part with thick frame to withstand NFL punishment. Over the top delivery creates tight spirals. Has powerful grip allowing for aggressive pump fakes to move defense around.
There’s always bad news, of course:
Kizer has the ability to become a quality starter, but has to improve his ball placement and field vision first.
His vision may be somewhat lacking, but he certainly presents a more appealing vision than we’ve seen for some time amongst the Clipboard Brigade. And it seems to me that the Steelers’ situation at present is pretty ideal for a young QB who needs some time to develop.
And finally, Round 1. Without further ado, the 2017 Momma’s Mock Draft pick of the litter is:
OLB T.J. Watt
Also considered: QB Deshaun Watson, LB Jarrad Davis
“But,” you may object, “T.J. Watt is never going to make it all the way to No. 30.” Or you may object that the buzz about Watt has more to do with his last name than what he’s earned, and in fact he would be seriously overdrafted at the Steelers’ first-round slot.
That’s where my metric really shines. I couldn’t care less about his “pedigree.” As far as I’m concerned, everybody is on a level playing field. I only want to know whether they are going to look good in a Steelers uni, in every sense of the word.
Can you doubt that Watt would look fabulous? I thought not. So here’s some footbally information, courtesy of the indefatigable Lance Zierlein:
Produced at high-end level with just one season of full-time football. Has desired length for the edge with room to accommodate more size. Attacks blockers with early arm extension and utilizes push-pull technique to upset their balance as his pet move against run and pass. Outstanding hand play in his game. Disruptive as first man in on twists. Always ready to leap into passing lane and deflect the throw. Strikes fast and early to create leverage points. Rarely has helmet involved in play and is constantly searching for the ball. Understands art of quick disengagements and can flatten out against outside run. Has good agility to clear trash near his feet and pursue the ball. Functional in space when asked to cover. Can get skinny when shooting gaps and has decisiveness and pursuit quickness to crash down the line and close-out cutback lanes. Consistent, wrap-up finisher as tackler.
There were a few negatives, but I think the bottom line says it all:
A long-limbed effort rusher who posted impressive numbers against the run and pass in just one year as a starter. He is a tireless worker who pursues from snap to whistle and his brother, J.J., will be a tremendous resource for technique and pass-rush plan. While he is unlikely to win a race to the edge, he’s a plus run defender who can get to the quarterback with plus hand work and relentless effort.
We’ll find out tonight whether the Steelers are responsive to the distaff half of Steeler Nation (if I may be allowed to so term it) or whether they will be stuck in the same old tired way of only considering the football aspects of a player. I will be watching…