Found January 02, 2013 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense ranked first in the league and if you asked fans not many would blame the season on the defensive side of the ball. That said there are a lot of changes coming and a big time defensive leader and play-maker could be just what the Steelers need in the 2013 NFL Draft. One such player is middle linebacker Manti Te’o of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Te’o was the Heisman trophy runner up and Mel Kiper Jr. thinks that he should be the number one overall pick in the draft. That said why are so many people thinking he could be an option for the Steelers past the mid-way point in the draft at #17? Well to start Manti Te’o won’t blow anyone away during the NFL combine with his intangibles. His tape tells you that he can play football, but we all know how players can get overvalued or undervalued based on their combine numbers. Knowing that it is fair to think that Te’o will fall a bit farther than many currently think he will, but could he really be around when the Steelers are put on the clock? Let’s take a look at the 2013 NFL draft order and see what could happen for the Steelers to land Te’o: I’ll start at number five because middle linebackers don’t go at the top of the draft. Those spots are saved for the best quarterback, defensive players, and offensive lineman. 5. Lions (4-12) – The Lions could think about taking Te’o, but there will be a rush linebacker that will keep them from grabbing a middle linebacker with their first pick. 6. Browns (5-11) – The Browns defense is surprisingly solid so this pick could go offense. The only thing they do need on the defense is a pass rusher and that is not what Te’o is. 7. Cardinals (5-11) – The Cardinals need a quarterback plain and simple. 8. Bills (6-10) – The Bills need a quarterback too. Fitzpatrick isn’t the answer and it’s time to find a replacement. 9. Jets (6-10) – The Jets could use a quarterback as well and could reach for their guy here. They could also grab another pass rusher to help solidify the defense. 10. Titans (6-10) – The Titans need secondary help and with the top corners still on the board it’s time to strike. 11. Chargers (7-9) – It’s time for the Chargers to protect Phillip Rivers they must find a left tackle with this pick. 12. Dolphins (7-9) – This pick will be a corner, wide receiver or guard. The top guard in the draft, Chance Warmack, would give the Dolphins a young and talented left side of the line starting at center Mike Pouncey and ending with Jake Long. 13. Buccaneers (7-9) – The absence of Aqib Talib hurt this team. It’s time to find a new top corner and they should have some good options left on the board. 14. Panthers (7-9) – The Panthers need a big body at defensive tackle so that they can free up last years first round pick Luke Kuechly to make plays. They can find a very good DT at this spot in the draft. 15. Saints (7-9) – The Saints struggled to rush the passer in 2012 and they can find a top tier pass rusher with this pick. 16. Rams (7-8-1) – The Rams need a top wide receiver to pair with Sam Bradford. Keenan Allen, the top wide receiver in the 2013 Draft class, should still be on the board here. If Te’o has a great National Championship game, Senior Bowl, and Combine he could go at five to the Lions, six to the Browns, eight to the Bills, nine to the Jets, eleven to the Chargers, twelve to the Dolphins, or sixteen to the Rams. However, as stated before his intangibles won’t stand out (unless something changes) and that could drop him out of the top ten. Once out of the top ten that only real concern is the Chargers, but if a top left tackle is on the board at eleven they can’t pass up a protector for Rivers. The only concern left from 12-17 would be a team trading up to grab Te’o before the Steelers can get their hands on him. With Ray Lewis announcing his retirement and the Ravens wanting a middle linebacker since last years draft they could look to move up for Te’o. Losing a talent to Te’o to the Ravens would be a huge lose-lose for the Steelers. Trading up to grab him, however, is not likely as the Steelers have many holes to fill and can’t afford to lose any draft picks. It’s only January second which means there will be a lot of things changing before the 2013 NFL Draft takes place in April, but just like last year the player that would have the biggest impact (David DeCastro in 2012) on the Pittsburgh Steelers could be there when they pick even though it seems unlikely.   Other options in the first round include: The Top Safety – As of now there are a lot of good safeties, but no one has positioned themselves as the top guy in this class. Whoever that guy ends up being and if he moves his draft stock up to the middle of the first round he could be the pick as a eventual replacement to Troy Polamalu or Ryan Clark. Jonathan Banks, corner, Mississippi State – Banks is a very good corner and if Keenan Lewis leaves via free agency this guy could be the pick to pair with Cortez Allen as the corners of the future Alec Ogletree, inside linebacker, Georgia, – Ogletree is leaving school a year early to enter the NFL Draft. He is the second best option at inside linebacker behind Te’o. Ogletree is likely to shoot up draft boards during the combine because of his elite athleticism. Jesse Williams, nose tackle, Alabama – Williams would be a replacement for Casey Hampton, who will likely leave in free agency. This pick would come only if the Steelers don’t have faith in Steve McLendon to take over as the nose tackle in 2013 and beyond.   The post Steelers: Could Manti Te’o Fall to #17 and Land in Pittsburgh? appeared first on SteelBlitz.
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