Having advanced all the way to Super Bowl XLV, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a bit of a late start in their 2011 NFL Draft preparations. Of course, GM Kevin Colbert and his army of scouts have likely been hard at work behind the scenes preparing for April’s Draft, not devoting time and energy to actual game preparations. But still, Coach Mike Tomlin is part of that process as well, and only Monday was the entire organization free to turn its undivided attention to the 2011 NFL offseason.
We’ll have mock drafts galore here on SB Nation Pittsburgh during the lead up to April’s draft, and we’ll check in at SB Nation’s draft site, Mocking the Draft for insights as well. And we’ll look outside the SB Nation network for mocks that are conversation fodder. Let’s do just that by looking at the first mock draft of the season recently filed by Yahoo!
The Top Five:
1. Carolina Panthers
Da’Quan Bowers | DE | Clemson [Jr.]
A powerful, pass rusher for Ron Rivera to fill the void of Julius Peppers’ departure.
2. Denver Broncos
Marcell Dareus | DT | Alabama [Jr.]
The key for John Fox’s defense is to have heavy horsepower up front.
3. Buffalo Bills
Patrick Peterson | CB | LSU [Jr.]
Could make an average pass rush look better, bring playmaking return skills.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green | WR | Georgia [Jr.]
The type of mismatch piece to make a disgruntled quarterback happy.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Von Miller | OLB | Texas A&M
A key ingredient for a new defensive coordinator running desired odd front.
And what about their pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 31?
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derek Sherrod | OL | Mississippi State
Versatile enough to fill a number of roles on an injury-prone offensive line.
I don’t love the Sherrod pick at 31. We’ll get into some comprehensive roster analysis in the forthcoming weeks and months, but the Steelers offensive line actually started to play really well down the stretch. Willie Colon was one of the most durable offensive lineman in football the last four seasons, and his achilles heel injury this past offseason was more fluky than anything. Add in the fact that Max Starks is under contract for the foreseeable future, as well as the undeniable fact that Jonathan Scott elevated his game and looks to be a solid reserve option at tackle and there’s no real pressing need to draft an offensive tackle.
A wiser move in my estimation would be to move up into the early-mid 20s and nab a guy like Brandon Harris out of Miami. The Steelers definitely need to draft a cornerback of the future in my estimation, and with the roster pretty much filled with competent and talented players, you have to think that it will be hard for more than two or three guys from this year’s draft class to make the squad. If so, why not deal some mid-round picks and try to move up to get some premier talent in the first two rounds.
Lots to discuss and ponder. We’re just getting started.