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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Andrew Luck Tops; Will Steelers Draft For Need?

Behind The Steel Curtain has the latest in its series of 2012 NFL Mock Drafts. The top three are, by this point, familiar - Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, USC quarterback Matt Barkley, and USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil - but there's tons of room for argument after that. BTSC has the Steelers picking at No. 24 (although, obviously, we don't know when they will actually pick, since the season isn't over yet) and taking Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o. That might anger some Steelers fans, since offensive linemen and cornerbacks are far more pressing needs, but BTSC explains the pick this way:

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But the truth of it is that the Steelers do not value the cornerback position as much as they should, or as much as the Steelers fans think that they should ... Regardless of how awful [the] offensive line has looked so far this season, the Steelers put a premium on some positions over others.

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It's hard to argue with that. The Steelers knew that offensive line and cornerback were problems this year, but they went ahead and took defensive end Cameron Heyward anyway, even though they already had Ziggy Hood to step in for one of Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. Then they took an offensive lineman (Marcus Gilbert) and two cornerbacks (Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen) later in the draft. It would be easy to see them do something similar this year. Obviously, it's way too early to say Te'o will be the player they take, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see them ignore their most glaring needs in the first round.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.