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With the 17th Selection in the NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers Select…

January 7th, 2013 at 9:05 PM
By Mark Mihalko

In the first projection at which player the Pittsburgh Steelers may target with the 17th selection of the first round of the NFL Draft, we will take a different stance than many of the prognosticators out there. Of course, at this point, this is nothing more than a shot in the dark. With only speculation of what roster moves are on the horizon, it is virtually impossible to predict this far out. That being said, it is fun to do, as there are no playoffs to look forward to.

'Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears' photo (c) 2008, Mark Spencer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
One quick search of draft websites and mock drafts, fans will see names such as linebacker Manti Te'o, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, or even LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo as projected selections. While none of those players are out of the question and would sit at a position of need, it is totally possible that the Steelers could go a different direction and probably should.

The Steelers suffered this season in many facets, especially with the running game. Yes, the offensive line was a work in progress, but that was not the total problem. One of the biggest problems was the lack of consistent production from Mike Wallace in the passing game, who was unable to make teams pay when they covered him one-on-one.

Now that Wallace has likely played his last game in Pittsburgh, the Steelers lack solid depth at the wide receiver position with only Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery under contract, and Emmanuel Sanders a restricted free agent, the team could use another playmaker outside. This may be even more critical with tight end Heath Miller recovering from major knee surgery on multiple ligaments.

With this in mind, a logical selection for the Steelers in the first round of the NFL Draft would be All-American wider receiver Terrance Williams from Baylor. Williams is an interesting prospect with a combination of size and speed that would allow him to vertically stretch the field with his 4,40 to 4.45 speed and be a Red Zone target with his 6-2, 205-pound frame. In 2012, he led Baylor (and the nation) with 1,764 yards receiving and hauled in 95 passes with 12 touchdowns.

If as expected Wallace departs and Miller is still battling injury, Williams could be a player that could pay big dividends for  the Steelers offense and he will likely be available at 17 or even a few picks later, which could allow the team to potentially trade back a couple spots and grab an extra pick or two. That variable must come into play from general manager Kevin Colbert as they rebuild the roster that will have even more departures that the 2012 offseason.

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Tags: Antonio Brown, Barkevious Mingo, Emmanuel Sanders, Football, Heath Miller, Jerricho Catchery, Kenny Vaccaro, Manti Te'o, Mike Wallace, NFL, NFL Draft, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Terrance Williams

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