How can we possibly predict who the Steelers will draft on Thursday? How can anybody?
This year's draft has no consensus No. 1 pick, no clear-cut top quarterback guaranteed to go in the top 15, and as many as five offensive linemen who may be among the top 10 picks. Those five would be Luke Joechel, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack.
Quarterback Geno Smith may not be the first QB taken, and he may not get picked until late in the first round -- or maybe even later. There may not be a quarterback taken before the Steelers' turn comes at No. 17 -- which we mention only because it means players at other positions of interest will go off the board.
"Risers" and "fallers" mark the cornerback crop, and Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are getting the feeling that Alabama CB Dee Milliner may fall to the Steelers at No. 17. If so, should he be the pick? What about CB Xavier Rhodes? He'll probably be gone by No. 17. Ditto Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Milliner, Rhodes and Vaccaro are all prime candidates to possibly go to the Jets or Panthers at No. 13 or 14 overall, or to the Rams at No. 16, and we doubt any of them will be available to the Steelers at No. 17. If so, other players will get pushed down.
How about Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones? Well, if you're sold on his college productivity and can overlook his 4.92 40 and spinal stenosis, he will probably be available at No. 17.
Is he the best choice for the Steelers? No clue. How about tight end Tyler Eiffert? Maybe. On the other hand, the Steelers currently have four tight ends on the roster, and Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are not convinced Eiffert will even have a better pro career than Stanford's Zach Ertz, who may be available to them in the second round and provide better value than Eiffert in the first round.
Lots of talent this year seems to be earmarked for rounds two through four, and it would be great to acquire at least one or two more picks in those rounds, hopefully to grab a player like Stedman Bailey (WR), Markus Wheaton (WR), Le'Veon Bell (RB), Arthur Brown (LB), Margus Hunt (DE/ILB) or other intriguing prospects.
Our feeling is that the Steelers should trade down, and that Atlanta is a potential trade partner. Really, though, lots of teams ahead of the Steelers also want to trade down, and it's possible the Steelers will not find a suitable trade partner.
It will be fun, and interesting.