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Christmas Mock Draft


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5 hours ago, Steeler Hitman said:

 

I freaking love discussions like this... as a coach myself, it is really neat to bring in some of the things that I have insight on from an X's and O's POV.  (I also don't know how to do the fancy multi-edit stuff... sorry.

Great points. I agree that history has shown that you can find good and great backs other than round one. That has proven to be even more true today with the success of so many non first round backs. If they are the BPA, I say take them regardless of position. At this point, even QB. 

Yea... 100%.  Elite backs like S. Barkley and Zeke you need to take high, but most of the backs are worth waiting on.  Especially complementary backs.  But, I can see how adding a player like Eteienne, who might be an elite back, would be worth a high pick.

 

I think it is that way based on personnel and ability. Add the right components and you can change that. I love a high powered offense, but if you can pound the heck out of a team and they can't stop you, you will 1). kill with the TOP 2). Wear down an opposing defense even if or especially if you have a quick strike offense.   The first Ravens game changed after the penalty (or I should say BS penalty) on Cam. The offense then sputtered and the defense was on the field more than half of the first half.  I saw TOP in the Bills game of 56 sec, 1 minute 3 seconds, and 56 sec again.  The ole' offense (1,2,3 kick). I think Ben is even better with a much more balanced attack.  Right now the Steelers are probably 80% and at times 90% pass instead of being at 60%-40% ratio. They don't have to be the old school Cowher or Marty ball style of running 8 of 10 plays, but our weapons (Dionte, Chase, Ju Ju, Washington, & Ebron become much more dangerous with the threat of a rushing attack. I am essentially saying the current version of the Steelers can and probably should change WITH Ben here. That can be done with some off-season adjustments. 

Agreed, BUT... I guess I am hung up on the desire to change under the Big Ben reign.  As you point out, we are built to throw the ball.  We have Ben's self-designated OC calling plays.  We have invested in WRs in every draft... changing now is almost counter-intuitive. We did win 13 games this year...  as much as I hate it as a run-first fan and coach, doing so right now would be a step backwards in some ways.

I will address how we can change that and add run principals in in another answer below.

Agreed. Villy is probably out based on age and salary. Draft a more balanced LT to groom to replace him. I think Banner and Dotson fix the rushing game immediately on the right side. DeCastro and Pouncey are pass blockers and I would move DeCastro to the LG while we draft or sign a decent free agent flex a la Wiz this season that sadly didn't work out because of his injuries and then getting snatched up due to Dotson's success. He could have helped when Pouncey went on the Covid-19 list, etc. This is probably a two year project.  

Not for 2021... I'd try to keep the band together as much as possible.  I'd make some changes to try to fix things, but again... 13 games.  Sure, I'd draft him this year for next year, but I would not run Villy/Pounce off before this window closes.

I think things will change. To what extent, I am not sure. They have to make some changes just to stay competitive. The owner has been stressing run, run, run, I think Mr. Rooney may even get a little more forceful in that message this offseason. Again, it is a benefit not a harsh chore or detriment to this offense. They get the right back and some blocking, he will start getting much more than 4-6 carries. They don't want to throw 50 times for 16 weeks. That's absurd. Although after seeing the stubbornness of our first drive against the Colts, you may be correct. I never thought that much banging your head against the wall could be possible. 🥵

So... hiring Matt Canada was a step in the right direction.  There many ways to skin a cat.  Not to get too far down the rabbithole, but there are many ways to fix the run game, schematically.  A lot of us old-timers think that the runnning game is I formation, run downhill.  But, modern offenses are spread option, read-option or ZBS.  We can obviously NOT do read-option with Ben, but some outside ZBS or spread option is something that can be added.  But, not with Connor... he is a downhill runner.  AMac/Snell are good pieces, but IF we commit to a ZBS/spread option, we need to look at backs/OL that can do that.  I do believe that this is part of the reason that Canada was brought in.

 

I think if we think about our running game, we have to decide if we are going to try to do all pin-pull like the old days, or ZBS to take the pressure off of Ben and the passing game.  BUT, we have to look at things organizationally and see if what we are trying to do is sustainable post-Ben.  I guess what I am trying to say is that if we 'fix' the run game for next year and then Ben retires, are we looking to re-boot things in 2022, or keep on with the changes.  Where is our organization trying to go... trying to be?  We have no idea since we have not had to change offenses in a very long time, but it would suck to draft and develop players for one thing, and then have to change midstream.

 

I see this going one of two ways:  A) Keep the status quo and try to ride out this year and next with Ben and the boys with the elite defense and pass based offense to try to win it all before the window closes.  Then, look at what we are and see what we want to be.  Or, B) think about what we want to be post-Ben now and make the post-window world better, but at the expense of getting players/scheme to win now and in 2022.

If we pick A (which I would) I would think we would look at ways keep Ben doing what he is doing now and not making many scheme changes.

 

 

 
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On 12/29/2020 at 11:49 AM, kurgan said:

FWIW, we are going to have at least 2 comp picks (3 and 6).  Maybe another 7th as well.

I don't like the idea of NOT drafting a CB.

use the extra 3 to get the CB (I would use a higher pick and move IOL to the extra 3rd; or the RB) and the 6th on the TE.


Here is my updated mock draft based on your recommendations:

1. Travis Etienne RB Clemson

2. Jackson Carman OT Clemson

3a. Drake Jackson IOL Kentucky

3b. Paulson Adebo CB Stanford

4. Myjai Sanders EDGE  Cincinatti

6. Peyton Hendershot TE Indiana

7a. Matt Duffy P Kentucky

7b. Reggie Roberson WR SMU

7c. Delarrin Turner-Yell Safety  Oklahoma

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18 hours ago, kurgan said:

 

 

 

Quote

I see this going one of two ways:  A) Keep the status quo and try to ride out this year and next with Ben and the boys with the elite defense and pass based offense to try to win it all before the window closes.  Then, look at what we are and see what we want to be.  Or, B) think about what we want to be post-Ben now and make the post-window world better, but at the expense of getting players/scheme to win now and in 2022.

If we pick A (which I would) I would think we would look at ways keep Ben doing what he is doing now and not making many scheme changes.

I have really been thinking about this one Dr. Kurgan. My question is why does it have to be one or the other? Why couldn't this team not be able to have an effective rushing attack with Big Ben at QB? I am not suggesting that the Steelers need to be as effective at running the ball back in the days of Cowher Power with Dirt Dawson and Barry Foster. You get up by 14 points and they will four yards and a cloud of dust you to death. 

I almost want to use the term offensive parity to essentially mean balance.  How dangerous is this offense if they can run, pass and possess the clock the majority of games. Different era, but that was essentially the 78 Steelers at their best. They ran well, they threw well. I think Ben is a more accurate passer than Bradshaw was. the formula and results for success would be essentially the same. 

Some of the problems with the rushing attack are timing, rhythm, and flow. Some are they get little to no push. Some are the RB's don't read or hit the hole properly or have the proper timing with the blocking. Lastly is some is a missed block here or there. A few great examples of this:

1. WFT goal line when Eric Ebron took a bad angle and missed hitting Chase Young. If he just gets in his way, I think Benny Snell scores there. 

2. Against the Bengals the Steelers ran a screen to Ray Ray. Villy missed the block on a Bengal defender who tackled him for a short loss. If Villy gets that block it is a huge gain or TD. (Not a run, but an example of the miscues). 

I see this offense being capable of doing what they did to the Titans consistently (without the fumbles and penalties that they still overcame). I mean how dangerous would this team be with a healthy defense and a ball controlling offense like that? This wasn't like a fluke or some luck. They went out and put it to the Titans defense early. They did the same with the Browns game one somewhat as well. 

 

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Nice mock...no to the QB..when been here before...if we are going to go qb in the 2 or 3..time to think outside the box and stop letting the league pass us by... I would like desmond ridder here. Outside of that..I like it. 

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No to RB in round one for me.   The drop off in talent in the position doesn’t justify taking a rb that high in my opinion.  Just look at the best backs today Henry (2nd) Kamara (3rd) Cook (2nd) Hell the Packers got Jones in the 5th.

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On 1/2/2021 at 9:46 PM, 95lloyd said:

No to RB in round one for me.   The drop off in talent in the position doesn’t justify taking a rb that high in my opinion.  Just look at the best backs today Henry (2nd) Kamara (3rd) Cook (2nd) Hell the Packers got Jones in the 5th.

Agree.

Only way I ever justify taking a RB in round 1 is if 1) its a special talent, 2) we dont have many other needs or 3)   they are easily the BPA.

Etienne is far from a special talent, we have needs everywhere, and no chance Etienne is easily the best player.

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Something to consider with the RB in the late 1st is the 5th year option. You get an additional year at a very reasonable price for, what is most likely, one of the top RB talents available.

Get him. Use him for 5-6 years, cut em loose. Bottom half of the draft 5th year option price for RBs was about $5M this year. Franchise tag was around $8. Those are reasonable numbers to get what you really hope is a stud player at the position for 6 years without committing long term -- which is where the RB's make far less sense. 

 

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40 minutes ago, 43M said:

Agree.

Only way I ever justify taking a RB in round 1 is if 1) its a special talent, 2) we dont have many other needs or 3)   they are easily the BPA.

Etienne is far from a special talent, we have needs everywhere, and no chance Etienne is easily the best player.

Even if you have almost no needs, it still seems like a waste to me. Look at CEH for the Chiefs. He was nothing special this year. 

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10 minutes ago, Dcash4 said:

Something to consider with the RB in the late 1st is the 5th year option. You get an additional year at a very reasonable price for, what is most likely, one of the top RB talents available.

Get him. Use him for 5-6 years, cut em loose. Bottom half of the draft 5th year option price for RBs was about $5M this year. Franchise tag was around $8. Those are reasonable numbers to get what you really hope is a stud player at the position for 6 years without committing long term -- which is where the RB's make far less sense. 

 

I'd agree about the 5th year option for other positions, but the volatility of the RB position makes it almost untouchable in the 1st for me.  

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8 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I'd agree about the 5th year option for other positions, but the volatility of the RB position makes it almost untouchable in the 1st for me.  

I think volatility of the position as a whole is true, but the top picks in the draft at Running back have a pretty strong track record of working out. Since 2015 only two really stand out as not working out that were drafted as a top 3 running back in the class (Penny for injuries and Fournette - and both had varying form of success). You can add Henderson too if you want for 3. That's a 83% hit rate on getting a successful player at the position. 

I personally don't believe that the 5th year is as important to other positions, mainly due to the shelf life of the other positions in comparison to RB. I only really want 4-5 years outta my running back. I want 8-10 out of a OT. That means getting to the second contract regardless. I don't want to see the second contract of a RB, so I want to extend my shelf life of him while I can. 

I view the back end of the first as a great time to get a RB. There is a chance he is the best running back in the class. Not a lot of other positions you can say that about when you are picking at 25 or so. 

Best talent, that players best years, and an extra year (or two) of control. I understand why people overlook RB at the end of the first, but I think there is a real argument to be made that it can be super beneficial. 

 

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2 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Even if you have almost no needs, it still seems like a waste to me. Look at CEH for the Chiefs. He was nothing special this year. 

I dont disagree...just saying that if I were to consider it AT ALL, I would have to have pretty much no major needs.

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2 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

Since 2015 only two really stand out as not working out that were drafted as a top 3 running back in the class (Penny for injuries and Fournette - and both had varying form of success). You can add Henderson too if you want for 3. That's a 83% hit rate on getting a successful player at the position.

Really depends how youre viewing "success"

A guy like Todd Gurley started off strong, but injuries pretty much derailed his career.   Thats part of the volatile nature of the position, and why many dont want to sink huge resources into the RB position, whether its draft capital or cap space.  Was Gurley's 3 great seasons really worth a top 10 pick?    I dont know that I would necessarily call that a successful pick   Wouldnt call it a bust, obviously....but this is the reality of the RB position.   Short shelf life and hugely reliant on other factors for their success.

Melvin Gordon is another one.   Was he worth a top 20 pick?    His running has just been okay his entire career.    His production, outside of maybe one year, isnt that hard to find later in the draft.

The question isnt really whether or not you can find a good RB in the first round.   Obviously you can.   The question is, is it worth the investment?    

The answer for me is: It depends....but largely no.

Like I said, if you dont have any other glaring needs and/or the RB is notably the best player on the board....I can live with that.

For a team like us....numerous major needs, a poor run blocking OLine, and in this years case, no special talents at RB....I dont think its a good idea.

People keep chanting we need more talent at RB....and I dont necessarily disagree, but our RBs arent the biggest issue with our run game.  Not even close.

Lets not forget that, in 2018, which Munchack still coaching the OLine and Ben throwing it downfield....James Conner looked damn good until he got injured.   Conner has the overall talent to be a quality back....but a) his fragility prevents him from being dependable and more importantly b) our run blocking totally tanked after Munch left.      Conner was a 3rd round pick.   He obviously isnt a crazy athlete, but it doesnt really matter.   Outside of an Adrian Peterson level talent, no RB is going to have consistent success behind a poor OLine.

 

2 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

I personally don't believe that the 5th year is as important to other positions, mainly due to the shelf life of the other positions in comparison to RB. I only really want 4-5 years outta my running back.

Okay, but thats not really worth a first round pick....IMO, anyway.

I want a guy I can potentially build a unit around for a decade or more with a first rounder.   RB is the only position you are pretty much guaranteed NOT to get a decade out of...and thats why I believe most teams arent looking to invest top picks into RBs.     Obviously every draft pick is a gamble with countless variables that can determines success or bust....but RB. more often than not IMO...is just not worth a top 50 pick, especially to a team that is about to lose several key players or has players at key positions aging.

For 2021, 3rd round is the absolutely earliest I want to see us draft a RB.    I dont see any notable talent in the first 3 rounds that would make me happy with taking one sooner.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, 43M said:

guy like Todd Gurley started off strong, but injuries pretty much derailed his career. Was Gurley's 3 great seasons really worth a top 10 pick?

The Gurley is actually the type of guy, that I believe, validates my use of the first round pick. Use his really high quality talent, and be out from under it before the wear and tear collapses. He was in the top 15 of all purpose yards 3 times in his first 4 years, twice in the top 4. He scored 56 TD's in his first four years. The other types of guys doing that? Christian McCaffery, Derrick Henry, Zek Elliot, Saqoun Barkley, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook and Kamara. Kamara is really the outlier because, of the rest of those guys, Cook was the lastest drafted at 2.9. All but Chubb were the top 3 of their class at the position (he was 4th). Kamara is even kinda a special case because of how good that class was, he was the 5th back taken as the 67th pick behind Fournette, McCaffery, Cook, and Mixon -- a pretty talent group. 

I once read a scout talking about NFL running backs. They basically said that at the NFL level....everyone can run. But it's all the extra's that make you great. Your vision, your cuts, your receiving, your blocking. I dont want running back by committee. I dont want a between the tackles guy and a receiving guy. I want an all around player to come in and succeed in multiple facets of the game and cross the position off for me for the next 4-5 years (so all my assets can go elsewhere). You get less and less likely to get that guy the further you go through the draft.

I want the chance at those first 4 years of Gurley, and realistically you need to take a top end guy to get it. 

1 hour ago, 43M said:

Melvin Gordon is another one.   Was he worth a top 20 pick?    His running has just been okay his entire career.    His production, outside of maybe one year, isnt that hard to find later in the draft.

I get what you are saying here, but my pointing out the top guys in the draft having success is more or less just considering them NFL starter quality. You can decide that varying levels of success from there, but it's a big difference in "Missing" on Gordon, who is still a top half starter and "missing" on Matt Jones because you wanted to wait until the 3rd round of that same draft. He was a top 10 all purpose guy and averaged 4.6 splitting carriers on a pretty bad Broncos team. The top backs in the draft just have a usable floor vs. a non-existent career in the middle. You are just far more likely to "hit" is what I am getting at. 

47 minutes ago, 43M said:

For 2021, 3rd round is the absolutely earliest I want to see us draft a RB.    I dont see any notable talent in the first 3 rounds that would make me happy with taking one sooner.

We have now drafted 3 straight RB's in the middle rounds, with none looking like a real quality NFL starter. For all the talk of "its cool, just grab the next aaron jones in the 4th" its actually a landmine filled field of success stories. 2017 was kind of a stupid awesome draft for RB's after round 2. But for all the success stories like Jones, Kamara, Williams, Connor, etc....there were 26 total RBs taken rounds 3-7. We are talking absolute dart throws for success even in a draft that seemed to have had nothing but successful RBs.

For every Aaron Jones, there are 3 TJ Logans. For every Chris Carson, theres 10 Elijah Hoods. By my count, there were 9 hits in those 26 picks in the 17 draft, for a 35% hit average. That was an incredible draft.....and still low percentages. 

Now, the real crux of my argument for it is not in the top 10. I don't think RB is worth anything in the top 10 in todays game, maybe not even the top 20. But when we talk about the Steelers drafting Mid-20, we start having conversations about is the best player for us the #3 OT or is it the #1 RB - that's when I think its significant. The last 2 drafts the league only drafted 1 RB in the first round, the highest was Josh Jacobs at 24. In 2018, it was 3 - Monster talent Barkley at 2 and then Penny at 27 and Michele at 31. So the likelihood of us getting the best RB prospect in the draft at our position, is pretty darn good. 

I don't think we necessarily should draft a RB, but for me -- if we are going to, I want the best talent available, not a hope and a prayer. Id rather sign a low dollar guy like Connor or Mack and skip the position entirely in the draft than hope I find my next starter in the 4th. I don't want any more mid-round dart throws. 

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would nice to have a every down back who can take it to the house with 50+ yard TD runs...have not had that since Willie Parker. Bell had a few of those runs early in his career, but slowed down around 2016-17.

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13 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

I don't think we necessarily should draft a RB, but for me -- if we are going to, I want the best talent available, not a hope and a prayer. Id rather sign a low dollar guy like Connor or Mack and skip the position entirely in the draft than hope I find my next starter in the 4th. I don't want any more mid-round dart throws. 

I’d actually prefer we try and bolster our Oline early than go RB.  I’d actually consider taking a punt on Fournette if we could get him at a reasonable price for a couple of seasons. There’s also the likes of Lindsey, Mack and Williams as guys who could come in.

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