Hello fellow members of TheSteelersFans! AskQuestionsLater here, bringing you the third take of my Pre Combine Mock Draft. For those of you who have been here since the first take, welcome back! If you just got on, do not worry! The first and second takes of this series can be found below! Take 1 Take 2 Now, continuing on with this series, this take is going to be very intriguing. Given Tomlin's 12 drafts, there has always been that one pick that has many fans raising their eyebrows far greater than usual. This Pre Combine mock will feature said pick. Before I begin though and, as always, a disclaimer: "These written statements by the author do not reflect nor are shared opinions of members of TheSteelersFans Message Board Members, Staff Members and/or Site Administrator." Now that all conditions our set to begin the Pre-Combine mock Draft, let us not waste any more time! Now, let us attempt to venture forth onto the draft! Round One: T.J. Hockenson: Tight End from the University of Iowa. Round Two: Amani Oruwariye: Cornerback from Penn State University. Round Three: Terrill Hanks: Linebacker From New Mexico State University. Round Four: Justin Hollins: Defensive End from the University of Oregon. Round Five: None due to the Ryan Switzer Trade Round Six (Pick One): Greg Gaines: Defensive Tackle from the University of Washington Round Six (Pick Two): John Baron II: Kicker from San Diego State University. Round Seven: Sean Bunting: Cornerback from Central Michigan University. Boy oh boy, are you not going to want to miss any of this! To say this has been my most controversial mock is an understatement. What is going to make it even more controversial is the reasoning behind it. Again, all that which you seek will lie in the post analysis. As always, please sit back, relax, and enjoy! Post Analysis: In the previous two mock drafts, I had explained in short detail on scenarios as to why the first three rounds of the Steelers draft may not be all defensive oriented as one would expect. Moreover to the point though, what all of us Steelers fans are currently watching with the "Antonio Brown Saga" is clearly the biggest reason why I have been hesistant to even place a defender in Round Two. Some of you who are reading this may be a bit confused though as to not only why am I explaining this given the fact that the previous two mock drafts are complete but also how this has anything to do with the selection of T.J. Hockenson. Now, for most of you out there reading this, the logicial assumption of the selection of T.J. Hockenson is that the likes of Byron Murphy, DeAndre Baker, Devin Bush (whom I still believe the Steelers will have great interest in), Jachai Polite, and Brian Burns are no longer available. However, for this mock draft, all the aforementioned players are on the board. Yep! You read that correctly, all on the board. "This makes no sense." "What a stupid pick." "Another wasted pick." "Byron Murphy was right there! Why not him?!" "Even if Byron was not the choice, why not DeAndre?!" Ah yes, so many questions brimming with rage and confusion. This is often the case every season for every NFL Team. This mock is no different. Yes, I do understand the importance of acquiring a "Day One Impact" starter. I also understand that Big Ben's window is closing rapidly by the day. Most importantly though, I do know that, by the time Big Ben hangs up his cleats, Mason will need some additional assistance when he embarks on his own NFL Story. Replacing Antonio Brown will be next to impossible at this point. However, as I stated in my second take, a Wie Receiver commitee approach is capable of not only ensuring team success but sustaining it. Most of all though, the major reason T.J. Hockenson has been the pick will be due to the new paradigm shift within the locker room. Now that there is no more receivers in the locker room who will starve for the football every play, balancing out an already dynamic offense will pay immediate dividends for the team. In addition, this also means that Big Ben has a security blanket in those tough situations; a seam buster as another bonus. Keep in mind that, when Ben throws for 33 times or less, Pittsburgh has a winning percentage of 82.6%. Whenever it is 34 or more times, this number drops greatly to 50%. These numbers are being showcases because not only can T.J. catch very well, he can also run block too. Playing in a Pro Style Offense at Iowa has served young Hockenson well as he has demonstrated to consistently take on not just defensive ends but also more explosive blitzers like safeties and cornerbacks. Among the routes Pittsburgh is likely to go when Antonio Brown is gone, T.J. makes too much sense due to his all around game in a position that is benefiting more from the new rule changes than they did when the likes of Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzales. Furthermore, given the fact that, among the 337+ draft eligible participants, only 7.8% will be given a Top 20 Draft Grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. While the board commitee itself itself means nothing to the Steelers Organization, it does give us a more clear picture on which players constitute as "Day One Impact Players". T.J. either has or will receive such a grade before the combine is complete. Add the fact that Vance McDonald playing all 16 games is no sure thing and Jesse returning to the team, T.J. will give not just Big Ben but Mason a reliable, team oriented player the Steelers have not had since Heath Miller. For Round Two, let us make some amends to this. Byron Murphy will not be in a Steelers Uniform and DeAndre may have been too high a price to pay. To that end and, to still ensure that the cornerback issue is not forgotten, we go to Happy Valley to take one of their finer cornerback prospects in years; Amani Oruwariye. Thanks in part of electing to stay for one more season, Amani has shown NFL Scouts he is capable of playing in the big leagues. Much like Murphy, Oruwariye has shown he can play in multiple covergae sets. Unlike Murphy though, Oruwariye should not be trusted in off coverage due to his feet and his C.O.D (Change Of Direction for short). In addition, his 40 time will be tested given the fact that he does have some questions about his long speed. Given the fact that Pittsburgh employs mainly press zone to occasionally press man, Amani has the tools and experience to slot right in with Joe Haden. Unlike in "Take Two", this take has the Steelers drafting Terrill Hanks in the Third Round. Furthermore, I do believe he is a top 75 player in this draft. After rewatching some more tape from the last time I observed him, I had missed very specific aspects; his increased comfort levels upon not only shooting gaps but taking on lineman as well. Add his cover skills and he is easily worth this pick. Bear in mind that cover skills was just used in the previous sentence. Given the fact that Butler loves his Linebackers to have coverage depth, Terrill has some of the best cover skills in the draft. Due to his nature of being a former safety, his ability to not just sink his hips in covergae but also have exceptional COD and short area explosiveness also aid his strongest assest. Now, that being said, I still would like to see him take on blocks more willingly as he ascends to the NFL level. That being said however, I would not count it entirely against him. Having Terrell come in on sub packages will greatly aid in his development; supplanting Vince Williams of covergae duties. Much like the previous two, I will not waste too much time in analyzing these prospects as these players will be drafted for either developmental purposes or possibly have a greater role in sub packages. Justin Hollins and Greg Gaines all fall in the latter category of the previous sentence. This is more so important for Hollins as Bud Dupree might not be a Steeler for much longer and having Hollins on the fast track will ensure the teams present and future as Hollins will mainly be used for situational downs. Greg could also fall into this category but I am curious of his combine measurements. Should he have arms of 33 inches, that is a major win for him as run stuffing will not be as much of as issue. Sean Bunting is for exclusively development. He has the tools but will need some quality coaching. Hopefully both Terryl Austin and Tom Bradley can mold him into a fine corner as Joe Haden cannot last forever and there will be many other needs for the team in the future that will require a greater level of focus. I did slot John Baron II higher because the more I look at his film, the more I come away impressed. That being said though , keep in mind that Colin Holba was drafted by this very same team years ago. If he is capable of being drafted for being a long snapper, there is no reason to assume someone like Baron is off the table. Okay everyone! This completes the post analysis. As I said in the beginning though, I will have to strengthen my case for the aforementioned picks even more. To that end, we head to the final notes. Final Notes: Again, with the likes of Byron Murphy, Jachai Polite, DeAndre Baker and other hot names for the Steelers on defense, the selection of T.J. Hockenson still might not make sense to many of you. Yes, the need to actually have a corner to secure both the present and future is very much a need. Yes, the need to pair T.J. Watt with someone to terrorize opposing quarterbacks is also a pressing issue. In addition and, a big thanks to TheSteelersFans Moderator SteelCity_NB, a single high safety also cannot be ignored here either. Here became my two major issues before I conducted this mock: 1.) Trust. How much trust do the Steelers have in a Sophomore?! For that matter, how much trust would they have in adding a young Free Safety?! 2.) Culpability. Would the Steelers actually admit the likes of Sean Davis and Bud Dupree were mistakes; the former not the Single High Safety many thought and the latter simply not the answer?! After giving both of these issues some thought, I had decided that, much like what had happened with Artie Burns, I elected to remove the likes of Byron Murphy all together. Again, I know, shocking. However, how much trust do I have in this coaching staff as we speak?! There in lies the issue as there is still insufficient information on both Terryl Austin and Tom Bradley. Both are known as sticklers for fundementals and technique. Within the same vein though, even with Bradley, neither Artie, Sean, Brian Allen or Cam Sutton saw any development. The only major winner here; minor at that, was Mike Hilton. Regarding Bud Dupree though, among the two defensive options, his seems to be more likely. However and, again, I do not believe Pittsburgh would opt to go this route out of the lack of culpability Tomlin has shown. Jarvis Jones was a disaster (not all his fault as the 2013 draft was not good to begin with) yet stayed with the team until the start of the 2017 offseason. Bud Dupree was supposed to have a breakout season in 2016 but got injured. That aspect is not on Tomlin at all. What is on Tomlin however, is pushing him after that season's conclusion. Looking back in hindsight, double dipping for that position using one of the two third round picks in 2017 would have been more beneficial. All of this leads to where I found myself with T.J. Hockenson. If the selection of Terrell Edmunds was any indication, securing both the present and future (albeit more rapidly) has been a hallmark of the Tomlin Era. Given this information, Vance McDonald is not the future seam busting Tight End Pittsburgh needs as he has shown to be unreliable to stay healthy a full 16 game season. Furthermore, time is running out for Big Ben. To maximize what remaining time there is with him, why not take a trip down memory lane and draft someone whom many Steelers fans will be reminded quickly of when Ben first embarked on his NFL Journey? In addition, it also acts as an indirect "passing of the torch". Big Ben will give the keys to Mason as Heath Miller will finally pass his torch onward to T.J. As I said before, less than 8% of prospects receive Top 20 grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. T.J. is likely to receive such a distinction. Furthermore, my selection of Amani Oruwariye cushions the blow of Murphy a bit. While Amani is not scheme transcendent like Murphy is, being able to play what both Tomlin and Butler employ and deploy in their coverage schemes should give him a fast track onto the field. Regarding Terrill, some might be shocked I grade him out as a top 75 player. For those of you who have watched how Keith Butler likes to deploy his linebackers, coverage ability is a must; something Hanks does in spades. Even in the event that L.J. Fort is released by the team, I do think that, while not ideal, Hanks can come in and play right away in a similar vein that Javon did back in 2016. Hollins gives Bud not only the push but also a likely starting candidate should Hollins gradually develop. I have more faith in Hollins developing though as he has shown some good pass rushing traits. He might not be as flexible as his teammate in Jalen Jelks but he is capable of bending the edge. A year in an NFL Strength and Conditioning room could unlock a starting capable lineman. That does it for the final notes section of this thread! I hope any remaining concerns you had with the picks above. Before we go, we must now wrap this up! Closing Statements: This concludes the third take of my mock draft series! Regarding the fourth and final take, I have decided to embark on a fourth take but that will not be until Saturday this week. I will be using the extra preparation time to gather more information on my newest picks. Those of you expecting my Top 32 Draft Big Board however, I am sorry to disappoint but that also will be pushed back tomorrow. Certain prospects are either climbing up my board better than I thought and others are removing themselves from it entirely. I also will give both a post analysis and add some final notes when the Big Board arrives tomorrow. Be sure to stay tuned as you do not want to miss that! What are your overall thoughts on this mock draft?! Does it bite the bullet too much?! Would you actually accept this outcome should it actually come down to that?! How would your inital reaction be if the draft ended up like this?! Once again though everyone, thank you all for reading! I hope you have enjoyed the same! For those of you who have been on this run since "Take One", thank you for your continued support as it really helps me a lot! For those of you just tuning in, I hope you enjoyed this mock draft. Until next time everyone, take care! Thanks again! Your continued support is very much appreciated!! Go Steelers!!