David LaForest’s “Dream Scenario” 2022 7-Round Steelers Mock Draft

Editor’s Introduction: David LaForest has been a friend of mine and that of SCU’s over the years. I often speak with Dave “behind the scenes” about football and I’m constantly prodding him to become a regular with us. While his time is often taken up with other stuff, one thing has been consistent over the year: he’s a huge fan of the NFL Draft.

Dave often sends over his thoughts – sometimes a novel in its own right – about what the Steelers should do. In many ways he’s hit on picks and prospects with some “dream scenario” drafts.

I think I’ve finally convinced him to let me publish one of these on the site – at least as a guest author. I find his insights entertaining, even if not entirely realistic. I think you will too, so I’ll step out of the way and let Mr. LaForest have the floor…

A few years ago I was in a fantasy football league in my guard unit, and the way it was set up, running backs were the MVPs who got you the most points. Trades were five dollars. The draft rules were whoever had the last pick was compensated by having the first pick in the next round, for the whole draft.

I, of course, drew last after all of the top running backs were gone. The guys looked at me to see what I was going to do. This was a while back… I took Warren Moon with the last pick of the first round and Steve Young with the first pick of the second round: they were the two best fantasy quarterbacks.

I can still see the look of “oh sh*t!” going around the room when they realized what had just happened!

No one risked not picking the best of the remaining quarterbacks, which meant with the last pick of the next round I took Jerry Rice, then Anthony Carter, etc. Long story short, I’m not sure if the guy who came in second that year made any money cause he had to make so many trades to keep me in shouting distance. I think they changed the rules after that, I don’t know for sure, once I became a ROTC cadet I was unable to participate!

Carry over to my dream scenario coming true in this year’s NFL Draft. The world according to David LaForest! But I need a few things to happen:

“With the fifth pick of the 2023 NFL Draft the Seattle Seahawks select Jalen Carter, defensive tackle, Georgia.”

Well, that kills my attempt to move up to pick number nine with the Chicago Bears. However, on Day Two of this year’s draft, apparently talent rich draft, every GM is going to start salivating when their second, or if they had two firsts, third guy is still on the board. Whoever has the 32nd pick (thanks Dolphins for the forfeit) controls the entire second round and maybe the draft… the same way I did in the guard unit.

So, what are you offering Omar Khan on April 28, 2023? Let’s look at some options:

  • Seahawks #37, #52, #83
  • Lions #48, #55, #81
  • Chargers #21, #85
  • Giants #25, #89

LaForest Dream Draft Board

Day One – Dream Scenario

  • Steelers draft Jordan Addison, WR, USC (Pitt)
  • Steelers trade WR Diontae Johnson to the receiver-desperate Chargers for a first and third round pick. (People overpay on draft day!)
  • That gives Pittsburgh the Chargers #21 and #85 picks OR they trade for the Giants #25 and #89.
  • Steelers take Calijah Kancey, DT, also Pitt

First Round (17): Jordan Addison – Wide Receiver (USC)

Note: Sorry Dave, I know you listed him as being from Pitt! (#H2P)

1/28/23: In 2022, Addison had 59 receptions for 875 yards and eight touchdowns. He played well overall when on the field and missed some time with an injury.

6/23/22: Addison benefited from quarterback Kenny Pickett having a phenomenal 2021 season to produce a massive sophomore season of his own. Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021. He displayed the speed to get vertical and threaten defenses downfield. For the NFL, Addison could stand to get stronger and fill out his frame.

First Round (22): Calijah Kancey – Defensive Tackle (Pitt)

2/18/23: Kancey is an extremely fast interior defender who can fire upfield to penetrate into the pocket. Off the snap, Kancey is extremely explosive, possessing phenomenal first-step quickness. With rare ability to rush the quarterback from the inside, Kancey is a special prospect. If he were 20 pounds heavier, he would be a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Kancey, however, is very undersized and does not project as a three-down starter capable of holding up in the ground game. Hence, he is a bit of a luxury pick for a team late in the first or early in the second round that is selling out for a pure inside pass rusher.

For 2022, Kancey was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, recording seven sacks and 31 tackles. He recorded 33 tackles, seven sacks and a forced fumble in 2021.

Day Two – Dream Scenario

Pete Carroll’s saliva gets the best of his logic and the Seahawks trade two picks to move up five spots. (Thanks Pete!)

The Stillers get #37, #52, and #83 in exchange for #32. (And this is how the rest of my dream scenario draft plays out.)

Second Round (37): Anton Harrison – Offensive Tackle (Oklahoma)

12/10/22: Team sources say Harrison has potential because he is quick, athletic, and has good size. However, they say he is too finesse, not tough and not physical. They wanted to see him improve in those areas in 2022, but that has not happened. However, his ability is good enough for him to go on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft – at the lowest.

6/27/22: Over the past two seasons, Harrison was impressive as the left tackle for the Sooners. Harrison has quality size with good athleticism and quickness. He broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and held down the left tackle spot as a sophomore. With a good skill set, Harrison could rise into being a sought-after early-rounder.

Second Round (49): Steve Avila – Center (TCU)

11/12/22: Team sources say Avila is a solid player and looks like a future starter. He has played left guard and center for the Horned Frogs. Avila could play either spot in the NFL. Avila is strong and can generate a push at the point of attack. On top of his strength, Avila has more quickness and athleticism than one would expect and he moves well for a large interior lineman.

6/29/22: Avila is a big center who has also logged some starts at right tackle and right guard during his collegiate career. He is big and strong while possessing enough quickness and athleticism to remain at center in the NFL. With his skill set and experience, Avila could be a plug-and-play pro starter.

Avila can play all three interior line spots. He can road grade in the running game and he can anchor and set a pocket in the passing game. Avila might best fit with “a heavy run team that wants to beat you up,” Jeremiah suggested. TCU’s run to the National Champion Game was fueled from the trenches as well as by big plays.

If you are looking for a mauler in the middle, Avila is your guy. A guard by trade, he also has experience at center and is a three-year starter. Avila is a tough guy that abuses his opponent and likes to finish blocks. He has lighter feet than you might image for someone his size and can adjust to moving targets in the run and pass game. While he wasn’t a great tester in Indianapolis, Avila has some snap in his hips and shows decent change of direction skills. But battling in tight quarters is what Avila does best.

Second Round (52): Tuli Tuipulotu – Edge Rusher (USC)

3/25/23: Tuipulotu was one of the most productive pass rushers in the nation during 2022, very consistently getting after the quarterback. For the year, he collected 46 tackles, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three passes broken up.

Tuipulotu is an interesting player for the next level. He has some serious twitch and explosion as a rusher. Tuipulotu can fire his gap and create some disruption with his burst to get behind the line. The 290-pounder is big and carries his weight well. Tuipulotu is listed at 6-foot-4, but he might be more like 6-foot-3.

Thus, Tuipulotu is a bit of a tweener in that he lacks the length of end, but he is a little underweight for defensive tackle. As a pro, he might be able to add some more weight to be an every-down defensive tackle, or he could potentially fit as a 4-3 defensive tackle and three-technique. Tuipulotu could end up as a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Third Round (80): Darius Rush – Cornerback (South Carolina)

3/18/23: In 2022, Rush recorded 38 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes broken up. He then had a good Senior Bowl week, including one dominant practice.

6/30/22: Rush is a big cornerback who had a solid debut as a starter in 2021. He recorded 26 tackles, one interception and eight passes defended. Rush could be better now that he has a year of starting experience.

Third Round (83): Jaelyn Duncan – Offensive Tackle (Maryland)

12/10/22: Duncan has a good skill set and has improved throughout his college career. For the NFL, he looks like he has starting left tackle potential. Duncan is quick out of his stance and does a nice job of moving his feet to glide with edge rushers. To maintain proper leverage, Duncan bends at the knee and shows the agility to move. Duncan could stand to improve his hand placement, but he has starting skill set of size, athleticism and strength. Duncan had some issues against Ohio State late in the season.

6/27/22: Duncan has been solid for Maryland and received a quality grade from NFL advance scouts. Duncan is a team leader and captain with good size and athleticism. If Duncan does well against top opponents, he could be a riser. Duncan broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2019 and has been a mainstay at left tackle for the Terrapins

Third Round (89): Eli Ricks – Cornerback (Alabama)

In 2022, Ricks has seven tackles and four passes defended. He was benched for a time and seemed to be in the coaches’ dog house. Ricks is talented, but maybe he should return for his senior year and improve before going pro.

Ricks has transferred to Alabama and could be a breakout star for the Crimson Tide in 2022. He is a big corner with ball skills. Ricks started out his collegiate career at LSU and had an excellent debut in 2020 with four interceptions, five passes broken up and 20 tackles. He notched 11 tackles and an interception for the Tigers in 2021.

Fourth Round (120): Camerun Peoples – Running Back (Appalachian State)

1/28/23: In 2022, Peoples averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 593 yards and five touchdowns. He recorded six receptions for 43 yards as well.

6/22/22: Peoples is a big power back who has a thick build and possesses the strength to run through tackles. In 2021, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry for 926 yards and 14 touchdowns. He ran for 1,124 yards – a 6.7-yard average – and 23 touchdowns in 2020. It would help Peoples to show more receiving ability as a senior because he only has made five receptions across his career so far.

Seventh Round (241): Trey Dean III – Safety (Florida)

2/11/23: In 2022, Dean collected 81 tackles and four passes broken up. Team sources believe Dean will test well but think he is a better athlete than football player. He received some late-round grades for the 2023 NFL Draft.

7/1/22: Dean has been a steady contributor for the Gators over the past four seasons. He had modest tackle totals in 2018 (26), 2019 (26), and 2020 (34) before breaking out in 2021 with 88 tackles, an interception and eight passes defended. Dean forms a nice tandem with Rashad Torrence, but Dean needs to produce more splash plays to rise as a senior.

Seventh Round (251): Nick Patti – Quarterback (Pitt)

2021: Played in nine games, making one start…starting assignment—the second of his career—came against Michigan State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl…on the year, completed 14-of-19 passes (74%) for 161 yards and rushed four times for 36 yards (9.0 avg.) and two touchdowns…against Michigan State, completed 2-of-5 passes for 21 yards and rushed three times for 27 yards (9.0 avg.) and a TD before missing the final 3½ quarters due to injury…scored Pitt’s first touchdown against the Spartans on a dazzling 16-yard scramble but sustained his injury at the end of the play…threw for a season-high 58 yards on 5-of-5 passing against Massachusetts in the season opener…added a nine-yard rushing score against UMass.


Some notes courtesy of analysis by WalterFootball.com

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