A look at what the Steelers could do in seven rounds

April 20, 2017
The Rocky statue stands in view of the stage being constructed for the upcoming 2017 NFL football draft on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. When the NFL chose Philadelphia to host the 2017 draft, they insisted on holding the three-day event at the Art Museum in front of the iconic Rocky steps. Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials made it happen so construction crews are putting together a 3,000-seat theater for an extravaganza that's expected to draw about 200,000 people to the venue. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As regular readers of this blog know, I wrote last week I would not do another mock until the final few days before the draft is held.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at an ideal draft for the Steelers.

By ideal, we’re talking realistically ideal. Myles Garrett isn’t going to drop to the 30th pick, after all.

So we’ll keep things with reason.

First Round, Pick 30: Kevin King, CB, Washington. A developmental pass rusher is certainly a need. But improving the pass defense is, as well. The 6-3, 200-pound King isn’t strictly an outside corner, however. He also lined up at safety early in his career and slid inside to the slot in the nickel throughout his career. His size and speed (4.43) are special at the position.

Also considered: Takk McKinley, LB, UCLA; Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

Second Round, Pick 62: Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State. Things get dicey here for the Steelers after passing on the edge rusher in the first round. But they haven’t hidden their love for Rivers, meeting with him at every opportunity. He’s a good kid with an excellent motor and solid pass rush skills. Will they translate from a lower level of football to the NFL? That’s the question. But the Steelers seem to think so.

Also considered: Ryan Anderson, OLG, Alabama; Jordan Willis, OLB Kansas State

Third Round, Pick 94: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova. At 6-7, 289, Kpassagnon can block out the sun. He also had 11 sacks last season for the Wildcats. Another small-school pass rusher. That could be the theme of this draft. Keith Butler wants to get to the quarterback with four pass rushers. Beefing up the front is a must.

Also considered: Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee; George Kittle, TE, Iowa

Third Round, Pick 105: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo: Power, great balance and the ability to be an every-down back, if needed. Hunt would be a nice backup to Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers, interestingly enough, have kept their cards close when it comes to the running back position. They haven’t met with a single one openly during the draft process. But Hunt just looks like a Steelers back.

Also considered: Samaje Perine RB, Oklahoma; Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Fourth Round, Pick 135: Corn Elder, CB, Miami: It’s not unusual for the Steelers to double down on a position of need in a draft and with King’s ability to also play safety, Elder would be a fine addition to the mix in the secondary. Elder is solid in coverage and as a blitzer. He’s a willing tackler and gives an added dimension as a punt and kick return man.

Also considered: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami; Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International

Fifth Round, Pick 173: Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M: A tall, rangy receiver with decent speed, Reynolds gives the Steelers another bigger receiver. He’s gone a nose for the end zone (30 career touchdowns) and, though he’s a little on the slight side, is a willing special teams player.

Also considered: Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee; Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech

Sixth Round, Pick 213: Hardy Nickerson, ILB, Illinois: The son of former the former Steelers lineabcker of the same name, Pittsburgh should have plenty of inside information here. He transferred from Cal - where he was a solid starter - to play for his father and Lovie Smith at Illinois. Nickerson gives the Steelers another solid inside linebacker in the system.

Also considered: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa; Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo

Seventh Round, Pick 248: Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo: The Steelers would consider taking Roberts in the sixth round. Instead, the 6-4, 270-pound tight end lasts until the seventh. He’s a very solid blocker. He scored 16 touchdowns last season, but won’t be much of a threat in the passing game. But he’ll be more of a threat than Chris Hubbard, whom the Steelers used as their in-line tight end last season.

Also considered: The Best Player Available, regardless of position

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