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The Steelers pick of Georgia OLB jarvis Jones in Round 1 of the NFL draft certainly didn't come as a huge surprise (by the way, check out that mock. That guy crushed it through about the first 19 picks). Jones was very productive in college and fits a need for a team that decided to cut ties with James Harrison and can't be completely sold on Jason Worilds. I thought Jones or Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro would be the pick and when New Orleans took Vaccaro at 15 and Buffalo surprised everyone with E.J. Manuel at 16, the Steelers couldn't get the card up to the podium fast enough. Kevin Colbert joined me on our Draft Coverage show on 970 ESPN shortly after the pick and was smiling ear-to-ear. He felt Jones was one of the 6-8 elite players in this draft and hadn't originally thought the Steelers would ever have the opportunity to get him. In his mind Jones' slow 40 time acutally benefitted the Steelers and caused Colbert to set up a meeting through Jones' agent right then and there. Interesting back story and for the second year in a row the Steelers get exactly the guy the wanted.
What's next? The positions of need that stand out for me are WR, RB and safety. Interesting news broke this morning former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw has been medically cleared to resume all football activities after having surgery on his foot in the offseason. The Steelers have had Bradshaw in for a visit, but don't have the cap room at the moment to sign him to a deal. They will when Willie Colon's money becomes available in June, but Bradshaw figures to be signed by then. Nothing is going to happen today, but if the Steelers don't come away with a back by tonight, I would expect them to focus on getting a deal done with Bradshaw ASAP.
No backs were taken in Round 1 for the first time since 1963. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy stands out to me as the clear number one back in this draft, but is unlikely he will fall to the Steelers at 48. He likely goes to the Bengals at 37 or the Jets at 39. If he gets past there it could get interesting, but other teams may trade up to take him. If Lacy is on the board at 48 it is a no-brainer for the Steelers, but I don't see it happening.
Here's what I do see.
There are a ton of good wideouts still available. Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins, my two favorites, are off the board along with Cordarrelle Patterson, but still leaves plenty of talented players that would be good value at 48. Keenan Allen of Cal is the highest ranked of the players still left and I think he'll go early in round 2 as will Justin Hunter of Tennessee. But I think Robert Woods of USC could still be on the board. If Lacy is gone, I grab Woods with my second-rounder.
If I get Woods, in the third round at pick 79 I'm hoping that UCLA RB Jonathan Franklin is still around. Other guys I would target with that pick include West Virginia WR Steadman Bailey if the Steelers don't get a WR in Round 2. Some other names to watch at those positions include RBs Joseph Randle and Christine Michael (3rd round) and my personal favorite Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore is coming of his second serious knee injury. If the Steelers haven't picked a RB by the 4th round and he is there at 115, I would jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately I think they would have to take him in round 3 to get him. A safety to watch for in the 3rd round would be Syracuse's Shamarko Thomas who the team had in for a pre-draft visit.
Projection: Round 2 Robert Woods WR, USC. Round 3 Jonathan Franklin RB, UCLA
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