The 2013 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a position to add a big part of their future with the No. 17 overall pick.
But it doesn’t end there for the Steelers as this is an important draft to not only add quality, but quantity as well. The Steelers need to come away with something with their eight picks in this draft and because it is a deep draft, the opportunity will be there to do so.
With that being said, here’s my final 2013 NFL Mock Draft as I take a look at the Steelers full seven-round mock.
Round 1 (17): Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: There’s a good chance that if Jones isn’t there the Steelers could go another direction such as wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or tight end Tyler Eifert. There’s also the chance that if neither of the three are available then the Steelers could trade down to acquire more picks. But I think when it’s all said and done that Jones is the guy and if he happens to make it to No. 17 then he will be the pick.
He gives the Steelers a legitimate pass rushing and playmaking threat from the outside, something they desperately need at the moment.
Round 2 (48): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: If the Steelers can land Jones in the first round, it’s time to turn their attention to the offensive side of the ball. They could target a playmaking wide receiver or look running back. Unless they use this pick on UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin, I would expect them to look for a receiver. I am projecting Franklin to be gone so the pick comes down to two players- Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins and USC’s Robert Woods.
I have Woods ranked slightly higher and project him to go a few picks before the Steelers select so that makes Hopkins the guy for me. Hopkins is a solid route-runner that can be used in the short, intermediate, and deep games. He does a nice job creating separation and has strong hands. He doesn’t have the greatest size and doesn’t have elite speed, but Hopkins has the versatility to play inside and outside and has the potential to be a draft day gem.
Round 3 (79): Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: Franklin and Alabama’s Eddie Lacy will be off the board, but that doesn’t mean the Steelers can’t get a quality running back here. They will likely have their choice between Ball, Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore. Truth be told, I like all three guys and think all three could be good fits for the Steelers.
At the end of the day I like the prospects of drafting Ball a little bit more than the other two. He’s an NFL-ready back who is used to carrying the ball a lot and has excellent vision to go along with good balance. He takes care of the ball, gains yards after contact, and is a very patient runner with good feet. He doesn’t have the best speed, needs to improve his blocking and isn’t the most physical back I have ever seen. But the pros outweigh the cons and Ball is NFL-ready right now. I like him for the Steelers a lot.