2011 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers Could Pick Offensive Lineman, Defensive Lineman Or Cornerback

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Todd McShay Has Steelers Selecting An Offensive Guard In Latest Mock

It’s that time of year when mock drafts get filed with increasing regularity. SB Nation publishes a new iteration each week, and a number of the network’s properties, including Behind the Steel Curtain, consistently tweak their mocks as April’s Draft approaches. Then there’s the national guys like ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. On Thursday, McShay published his most recent first round mock draft ($) and here’s who he had pegged as the Steelers first round pick at No. 31:

Orlando Franklin, OG, Miami (FL)

Cornerback is a possibility here but Smith might be too much of a character risk, and Aaron Williams of Texas might be better at safety. There are also other options among offensive linemen but Franklin has experience playing guard and tackle, he plays with a chip on his shoulder and employs the kind of physical style the Steelers look for in their offensive linemen.

I personally hadn’t heard Franklin’s name thrown around much this draft season, so let me do a little research on the young man and I’ll get back to you with my two cents on him as a potential selection.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Another Mock Has Steelers Picking Aaron Williams

The Shutdown Corner has the latest NFL Mock Draft to predict that the Steelers will pick Texas cornerback Aaron Williams with the 31st overall pick:

Speaking of great defenses … the Steelers’ front seven is generally above reproach but Aaron Rodgers was able to do to their secondary what he did to all others on his incendiary postseason tour. Williams would be a safe pick in that he is a cornerback with safety skills — he plays the ball reasonably well, can crash down on the run or in the blitz quite well, and has an excellent on-field sense. He could hold things down while Troy Polamalu flies around, and he can make plays on his own. More athletic pass defenders with more risk attached to their names may come in the later rounds.

I can’t really argue with that. This draft has Alabama DT Marcell Dareus going first overall to the Carolina Panthers, with Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert going No. 3 overall to the Bills and No. 5 to the Cardinals, respectively.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers Could Pick Offensive Lineman, Defensive Lineman Or Cornerback

Two new mock drafts are up at CBSSports.com, and they have the Steelers heading in two different directions. Rob Rang has the Carolina Panthers taking Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert first overall, with Auburn quarterback Cam Newton going third and Georgia wideout A.J. Green going to the Bengals fourth overall. The rest of the top ten is a bunch of defenders - Marcell Dareus, Von Miller, Da'Quan Bowers, Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley, Prince Amukamara, and Robert Quinn. He has Florida's Mike Pouncey - a potential Steelers target if he should fall to them - going to the Colts at No. 22 overall. He has the Steelers taking Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod, who for months has been a mainstay in the first round of mock drafts. Doug Farrar's scouting report hails Sherrod as the "most consistent" tackle in the draft class.

Meanwhile, Chad Reuter's mock has Newton going first overall, with the Steelers taking Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson. The Steelers do need help on the defensive line, but they might also decide that their cornerback issues are more urgent. SB Nation's latest mock has the Steelers taking Texas corner Aaron Williams.

So, three different mocks have the Steelers taking players at three different positions. That sounds like there's a lot of disagreement, but probably there isn't as much as there appears. The Steelers are more or less set at the offensive skill positions, and there's been pretty broad agreement throughout this year's mock drafts that the team's biggest needs are on the offensive and defensive lines and at corner. What the Steelers ultimately end up doing may depend on who's available to them, and to their own idiosyncratic approach to the draft.

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