Brian Roach’s 2018 Mock Draft Insanity – Version 2.0

As the season of mocking continues, and the nonsensical ideas continue to be put forth (the Steelers are not going to draft a quarterback in the first round, they just aren’t, so stop mocking them one!) I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for Mock Draft Insanity Version 2.0!

Remember the rules (for whatever those are worth):

  • I use Fanspeak’s Mock Draft Simulator, and I select for ONLY the Steelers.
  • Trades are allowed (and encouraged). I can trade picks for 2018, 19 and 20. I cannot trade players.
  • I have to be able to give some theory for why a trade was accepted/offered by another team. That reason does not have to be logical (because the point is that logic is on vacation).
  • I have to sit through the movie “Draft Day” prior to starting in order to obtain the appropriate sense of lunacy.
  • And remember – this is supposed to be ridiculous – and not remotely plausible.


I may have to eat my words a little bit from mocking all the people who have the Steelers taking a running back in the draft. While I still don’t think it’s going to happen, and certainly not round 1 or 2, I’m starting to understand that it might become an actual necessity.

For the moment, the primary needs the Steelers have remaining are ILB, S, (maybe RB), depth at DL, OL, LB, and CB. Kevin Colbert has confirmed Ryan Shazier will not play in 2018, and the Steelers have already been to Alabama’s pro day (where you can be sure they looked at LB’s Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton), as well as S Ronnie Harrison. With the release of Mike Mitchell (even though he could return at a lower dollar figure) and the statement by Colbert, ILB and S remain the top needs.

The Drama

Normally in the second version of Insanity, I try and tone things back a bit. Last time around I made a lot of early trades to garner a ton of picks (especially in the second round). So of course, this time I’ll be a little more cautious in dealing away future picks.

Yeah, right – this is called Mock Draft Insanity for a reason!

However, since the last iteration, Cleveland has been wheeling and dealing and I am not convinced that they will be willing to part with picks as readily as last time. Instead, my first call is to the Dolphins. I want their eleventh pick in the first round, and I offer a future number 1 and a future number 3 (assuming I can sweeten it to a second rounder if they balk). They don’t balk, and they take the deal.

Next, I want both of Buffalo’s picks, so I offer them one more of my three available first rounders, and two of my second rounders for picks twenty-one and twenty-two in the first. Of course, the Bills may not be willing to trade out of the first round, but maybe I can convince them (you know, by sweet talking my computer) that they are better off looking for a QB next year. They take the deal, and I now have 4 first round picks and have given up next year’s 1,2 and 3, and the following years 1 and 2.

I want more. I dial up Cleveland again, but this time I just want all 3 of their second-round picks. I offer a future 1 (my last) and two 3’s (giving me some wiggle room if they say no). They say yes. Leaving them their two number one’s may be enough for them with all the movement they’ve done.

I start the draft, knowing I’ll likely get some offers and make even more moves. Nobody makes me an offer for pick 11, so after making that pick I roll on to 21 and still, nobody is interested in making me an offer. I use 21 and suddenly offers roll in at 22. The Bills decide they want to move back up and offer their 2,3,4 and 5 round picks. But Kansas City has more to offer, coming to the table with pick 22 in the second, picks fourteen and twenty-two in the third and a future second rounder all for my twenty-eighth pick. I take that deal. And use the twenty-second pick.

In the second round, Dallas offers me a future second-round pick, picks seventeen in the third and sixteen and thirty-seven in the fourth for my thirty-second pick in the second. I take that, gaining back another of the picks I spent. Additionally, the Texans offer up pick thirty-four in the third and two picks in the sixth (thirty-seven and forty) AND a future second rounder. Again, I say thank you very much and retrieve another of my lost second round picks.

In the third round, Arizona offers me a fourth (34), a fifth (15) and a seventh (36) as well as a future third rounder for pick 28. I like getting some of my future picks back, so I take it. Leaving me with 4 third round picks.

I gave up I’ve got more picks than I know what to do with: 3 in the first, 3 in the second, 4 in the third, 3 in the fourth, 4 in the fifth, 2 in the sixth and 3 in the seventh. It cost me my next 3 first round picks and two of my next 3 third round picks. I can live with that. Hey, if I play my cards right, those picks are always going to be in the 28-32 range, so the second rounders I got in these deals could be nearly as good.

The wheeling and dealing is over, let’s see who I ended up with!

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Round 1 (Picks 21, 22 and 28)

Pick 11 – Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
6’ 5”, 253 lbs.

Both Edmunds and Roquan Smith were still on the board, so I had my choice of the top two linebacker prospects in this draft. I see Edmunds as a bigger risk than Smith in some ways, but not in others. Smith is shorter and lighter, and maybe a bit faster than Edmunds, but if he is, it’s not by much. Edmunds put up what is an absurd forty time at the combine for someone his size (4.54 – Smith posted a 4.51). Honestly, I think they both ran slower than what I expected because they appear to play so fast on tape. Edmunds was a second-team All-ACC player in 2016 with 106 tacklers (18.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks). He was All-ACC in 2017 with 109 tackles (14 for loss, 5.5 sacks). The production is there, without a doubt.

Edmunds is already imposing, his height, speed, and weight are unique for someone playing inside. His lateral quickness is fantastic and he has the ability to finish tackles (as shown in his production). He can be an effective weapon in man coverage as well and could be just what the Steelers need to shore up the ILB position.

Edmunds is not without flaws though. His instincts are not great and he needs to get stronger. His frame seems like it could handle adding weight through training though, so it should only make him a more explosive player, rather than slowing him down. He will make mistakes in coverage that will be exposed at the next level and he needs to learn to play with more patience.

Bottom line is that Edmunds is likely long gone before the Steelers get a chance at him, and some crazy scenario that allows them to move up would have to come into play for them to get a shot at Edmunds.

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Pick 21 – Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
6’ 1”, 204 lbs.

Justin Reid has been a topic of conversation in the SCU backrooms for a while now. Zach Metkler loves this kid, and his combine numbers (4.4 40 yd dash, 6.65 3 Cone Drill and 4.15 20 Yard Shuttle) were all in the top performances. Reid has what scouts like to call “football IQ”. He’s smart. He can diagnose and respond to what he sees quickly. He is versatile and can play centerfield or in the box. One NFC General Manager said “He’s better in coverage than his brother”, referring to NFL Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid of the Forty-Niners.

Reid can get beaten by fast slot receivers, and sometimes let’s crossing routes get ahead of him in coverage. Like a lot of college players, he can be grabby at the top of the route, but coaching should help him learn to trust technique over time. He can miss tackles (collective sigh) because of how fast he comes in, and he’ll need to learn control at the NFL level.

Reid is, in my mind, the second-best safety in the draft behind Derwin James, and in a lot of simulations I’ve run he is off the board at 19 to Dallas. Tacking him at 21 allows the Steelers to erase their two biggest needs with their first two picks in the ridiculous scenario I’ve painted.

If Reid is on the board at 28 (where the Steelers are more than likely to stay) he still could be the guy that gets the nod.

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Pick 22 – Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)
6’ 3”, 252 lbs.

Landry had a solid combine, and his 3 cone (6.88 s) and 20 and 60-yard shuttles (4.19 s, 11.35 s) were better than I expected, and showed he could likely work as a 3-4 OLB. Those numbers lead me to believe he can handle the coverage duties he would be asked to take on. Landry is probably considered more of a DE, but his height might have teams looking at him more as an OLB type of player. He has great arm length (32 7/8”) and is a twitchy, solid athlete. As a pass rusher, he’s disruptive. He makes great use of his long arms to attack the throwing arm of the QB, resulting in strip sacks and batted balls.

He will need to hone his pass rush game in the NFL. He is a burst rusher and will need to develop counters and other moves to remain effective. His hands need work as well. He sometimes fails to wrap up on tackles, and there is some question if he always gives top effort.

Most of the flaws in his game can be coached out, and he would provide the Steelers with yet another option in the rotational package of edge rushers they have, without sacrificing the flexibility of being able to drop into coverage if necessary.

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Round 2 (Picks 1, 3, 22)

Pick 1 – Vita Vea (DL, Washington)
6’ 4”, 347 lbs.

If you are longing for the days when Casey “Big Snack” Hampton was the anchor of the defensive front, this could be the pick for you. The truth is that the Steelers don’t play enough “base” defense anymore to warrant this pick (and Vea probably doesn’t last until round 2 anyway). Still, for a big guy, he shows surprising quickness, and it would be interesting to see the Steelers line up with Cam Heyward, Vea, Javon Hargrave and Stephon Tuitt as a front.

Vea is a staunch run stopper, and he can eat up blocks and bodies. He defends his turf, can punch, lockout and has a solid ability to attack the ball. He can shed and move down the line and possesses above-average quickness and burst. Great violent hands. Tremendous bull rush ability.

Vea needs to work on his footwork. He can find himself on the turf more often than you’d like to see. His pad level can get too high and he can be overwhelmed and caught by double teams and follow up blocks. Still, his upside is huge and he has the potential to be an All-Pro caliber player.

Pick 3 – Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
6’ 1”, 203 lbs.

Sticking to the defensive side of the ball the Steelers pick up an extra corner. I love his arm length, and his size and that made it easy to take Davis, who I was surprised was still on the board. He uses the boundary well, and he had double-digit passes defended in his first three seasons at Auburn. He played against high caliber talent and showed he has the ability to guard athletic receivers and win. A really solid press cover corner. Shows the ability to overwhelm weaker receivers and jam them with his wingspan.

Davis is susceptible to fakes and struggles with off-man coverage. Again, like many defensive backs coming out of college needs to learn technique to avoid being grabby. He’ll get tagged with holding calls for tugging jerseys and will commit some PI penalties, but with time he should learn to be more disciplined. He may not compete for starting time right away, but he can be someone who can be in the mix if Artie Burns or Joe Haden were to go down.

Pick 22 – Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
6’ 0”, 212 lbs.

I considered taking a back earlier in the draft, but regardless of what happens with Le’Veon Bell, the defense felt like the bigger priority. Still, Johnson is a value pick late in the second round. A regional scout for an NFC team said that Johnson “sometimes plays with that Le’Veon Bell style where he glides until he sees it and then ‘bang’.” That is appealing, and I think Johnson is faster than Bell, and might be quicker to hit the hole.

His slight frame and thin hips make him an injury concern and he needs to grow more and develop a better feel for run lanes. His talent is appealing though, and he does seem to be a capable pass catcher, which makes him a potential 3-down back.

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Round 3 (Picks 14, 17, 22 and 34)

Pick 14 – Da’Shawn Hand (DL, Alabama)
6’ 4”, 297 lbs.

With Karl Dunbar coming in, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Steelers picked up someone who Dunbar knows well. Hand could be a solid backup or rotational player on the front for the Steelers.

Pick 17 – D.J. Chark (WR, LSU)
6’ 3”, 199 lbs.

After running a blazing 4.34 forty at the combine and posting solid vertical and broad jumps it’s unlikely that Chark falls this far. IN the middle of the third round he’s a steal and the Steelers always seem to draft a WR at some point.

Pick 22 – Terrell Edmunds(S, Virginia Tech)
6’ 2”, 220 lbs.

The Steelers make it a family affair by taking both of the Edmunds brothers. Terrell isn’t the player his brother is, or could be, but he’s a solid S prospect and could provide great value at this point in the draft.

Pick 34 – Quenton Meeks (CB, Stanford)
6’ 2”, 205 lbs.

The defensive backs room is getting crowded, and I don’t need another CB, but I like Meeks and while some might think this is too early to take him, I like him as a potential backup player who might be able to be hidden on the practice squad for a year or two.

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Round 4 (16, 34 and 37)

16 – Shaquem Griffin (LB, Central Florida)
6’ 1”, 227 lbs.

After taking the fastest WR in the draft, why not take the fastest LB as well. I like Griffin as a potential hybrid guy who can play in sub packages. There are concerns with Griffin but I think he’s proven he’s worth the risk, and speed is something you can’t coach.

34 – Shaun Dion Hamilton (LB, Alabama)
6’ 0”, 233 lbs.

This is what Lance Zierlein said in Hamilton’s NFL Draft Profile:

“Technically sound and tough, Hamilton is a 3-4 inside linebacker with good football intelligence who is almost always where he is supposed to be.”

Good enough for me to take a shot and see what he can do.

37 – Nathan Shepherd (DL, Fort Hays State)
6’ 5”, 315 lbs.

I love this kid. I loved watching him at the combine, and when you take the time to find and watch tape on him, it’s worth it. He’s got flexible hips and really good lateral movement and quickness. He played against low-level competition but given time he could develop into a starter.

Round 5 (11, 15, 28 and 34)

  • Pick 11 – Will Dissly (TE, Washington State)
  • Pick 15 – Taylor Hearn (G, Clemson)
  • Pick 28 – Jaleel Scott (WR, New Mexico State)
  • Pick 34 – Geron Christian (T, Louisville)

Disly could provide a solid blocking TE, and I like Jaleel Scott as a possible developmental player for 2019. Hearn and Christian provide depth on the line.

Round 6 (37 and 40)

  • Pick 37 – Troy Fumagalli (TE, Wisconsin)
  • Pick 40 – Kentavius Street – (EDGE, North Carolina State)

If Dissly doesn’t pan out, Fumagalli is the same kind of player. Two dogs, one bone and keep the one who wins. Street is a project but has upside.

Round 7 (2, 28 and 36)

  • Pick 2 – Holton Hill (CB, Texas)
  • Pick 28 – Kamryn Pettway (RB, Auburn)
  • Pick 36 – Brian Allen (C, Michigan State)

Hill and Pettway are likely practice squad players at best but each has qualities that make them worth taking a flyer on. As for Brian Allen, I just can’t help myself, and the idea of having two Brian Allen’s on the roster who are so completely different just makes me laugh.

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Let me remind everyone, in no way am I expecting anything I just predicted to actually happen. Not even close. This is possibly my most ludicrous scenario in the past two years. There is no way the Steelers could even afford to sign all of these picks, let alone find places to hide them, either on the roster or the practice squad. I mean come on now, even with a need at LB can I really find a place to put 5 of them (3 true LBs and 2 Edge guys)?

As with all my “insane” drafts, the idea is more to introduce prospects, and emphasize that none of us really knows what the Steelers are going to do until they actually read the name off and the pick is made.

It can be fun pretending though!

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