Found February 03, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
Steelers 2013 Mock Draft:
Round 1.) Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Jordan has the look of one of the next monster pass rushers in the NFL. He is very athletic at 6’6″ and around 250 pounds. Jordan also has great quickness off the edge and has been compared to San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith. Jordan may still be a bit raw and may need time before stepping in as a starter which could drop his value a bit. If he falls into the Steelers laps they will likely take him without much question.
Reasoning: The Steelers will likely have to part ways with James Harrison this off-season unless he is willing to take a pay cut. That will leave them pretty thin at outside linebacker; especially if LaMarr Woodley struggles to stay healthy for a third straight year. Jordan may not be ready to start as a rookie, but he could split time with a guy like Jason Worilds.
Round 2.) Eric Reid, S, LSU
Reid is a hard hitting safety and a good tackler. He is strong in the run game and the pass game and has the ability to separate the ball from the receiver. Reid is also an experienced player playing in 39 games at LSU during his career as part of the very competitive SEC. One of the positives with Reid is that he will be ready to step in right away so he can be a back-up his rookie season and start in his second year. Negatives for Reid are his ability to get beat deep; he struggles to turn and run with receivers and will need to improve in that area as he develops.
Reasoning: The Steelers need to find replacements for the aging Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark. If Reid slips to this spot the Steelers will be forced to grab him. Clark also went to LSU and has praised Reid’s play on the field so a mentorship wouldn’t be a problem. In 2013 Reid can play as a back-up and mold into a starter in 2014.
Round 3.) Marquise Goodwin, WR/KR, Texas
Goodwin is a smaller receiver at 5’10″ and 180 pounds, but he also has blazing speed and good hands. Goodwin played four years for the Texas Longhorns including 14 games as a true freshman. His stat lines as a receiver were never overly impressive, but his quickness and hands make him a dual threat as a receiver and returner. Goodwin was a track star in high school and college and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Right now Goodwin is being compared to Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, who is expected to leave Pittsburgh in free agency.
Reasoning: How fitting would it be for the Steelers to find Wallace’s replacement in the same round they drafted him four years ago. Goodwin has the speed to replace Wallace and take the top off of the defense. He would also give the Steelers a dangerous return man and allow Antonio Brown to focus solely on playing receiver. One positive with Goodwin is that he is a hands catcher unlike Wallace who often lets the ball into his chest.
Round 4.) Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State
Mauti did not practice or play at the senior bowl due to a knee injury, but his draft stock is rising after he sent a hand-written letter to all 32 NFL teams during that week. Mauti is a great leader and projects as a mid-round pick. He is expected to be a middle linebacker in the NFL although he played on the outside as well at Penn State. Mauti does a good job of getting off of tackles and is also a solid player on special teams.
Reasoning: He would give the Steelers another young option for the future alongside Lawrence Timmons. The Steelers spent their third round pick in 2012 on Sean Spence, but there are still rumors that they will be looking for a middle linebacker in this draft. Mauti and Spence would give the Steelers two young players to fight for the spot next to Timmons in 2013 or 2014.
Round 5.) Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Lattimore may have been a top ten pick had he not re-injured his knee during the 2012 season. Instead he will fall into the fourth or fifth round of the draft and could be a huge steal for any team willing to take a chance on him. Lattimore is a power back that hits the hole quick and hard. He easily breaks arm tackles and can be hard to bring down. His knee injury may set him back, but according to his doctors he is well ahead of schedule on his recovery and is hoping to be ready for week 1 of the 2013 NFL season.
Reasoning: Lattimore has all of the skills to be a top running back in the NFL and could be the feature back the Steelers are looking for. Also, with the Steelers other needs in this draft a later round option like Lattimore could be the steal of the draft and allow Pittsburgh to use their first four picks on other areas of concern.
Round 6.) Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida
Nixon had good and bad times at left tackle for the Florida Gators during his career. Nixon could go as early as the second round depending on the combine and pro day workouts, but if he doesn’t show great things he could fall. Nixon has the talent to be a very good offensive lineman due to his athleticism, but mental lapses on the field, inconsistent play, and an inability to maintain his weight are sure to drop him in the draft.
Reasoning: Max Starks, Ramon Foster, and Doug Legursky are all free agents and the Steelers will need to add depth to the offensive line. Also, with Kelvin Beachum expected to move to guard the Steelers could use a back-up tackle behind Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert. Nixon would also add to the Florida Gator depth on the offensive line with Marcus Gilbert and Maurkice Pouncey.
Round 7.) James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa
Vandenberg has been praised for his throwing motion. He is a fluid passer and does well when he can get into a rhythm. He is at his best on intermittent and short routes, but struggles to make all of the throws. His footwork needs to improve and he needs to work on his composure in the pocket. His passes could use more touch especially on throws to the sidelines where he struggles to lead his receivers. Vandenberg is in all essence a project quarterback that projects as a long-term back-up.
Reasoning: Charlie Batch may return for one more season to be the back-up to Ben Roethlisberger, but Byron Leftwich is a free agent and is unlikely to return. The Steelers need to find a long-term back-up and Vandenberg could be molded into that guy. He doesn’t project as a starter in the NFL, but he could be a solid career back-up and as we all know when you’re Ben Roethlisberger’s back-up you’ll see the field a couple times each year.
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