Our 2013 Community Mock Draft rocks on! In this annual exercise we put the fates of all 32 teams in the hands of our community. This exercise accomplishes several things. For one, we often have a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the NFL. We will get a glimpse into the needs of each of the franchises. It also helps us get familiar with each of the first-round prospects because like last year in a trade up for Morris Claiborne, you never quite know what the future holds for Dallas.
Every GM has been informed of their team's needs and is ready to roll. Let's see who will be selected with the 17th pick in the draft!
Selection: (WR) [Cordarrelle Patterson]
Here's our GM with his explanation of the selection:
Why the pick: I strongly considered going with Barkevious Mingo at this spot. The Steelers have a talented Top-5 defense. But they are aging and their recent first round picks such as Heyward and Ziggy Hood have yet to break out. With James Harrison being jettisoned, there is a true need for a Weakside LB. And Mingo is a borderline blue-chip prospect who could easily slide into Harrison's spot. Yet, I do not believe Mingo would last this long in the real draft.
The true Achilles heel for the Steelers has been a stagnant offense which was ranked 21st overall (14th in passing, 26th in rushing) last year. The loss of starting RB Rashard Mendenhall and WR Mike Wallace compromises the ability of the offense even further. The WR depth chart in particular reads like a bad horror movie cast. Antonio Brown is a capable wide out who's hitting his prime and Emmanuel Sanders is serviceable. Beyond them are Jericho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress (!), David Gilreath, Bert Reed, Kashif Moore and Derek Moye. Those names aren't exactly sending shivering in the boots of opposing DBs.
Roethlisberger while still an elite quarterback has turned 31 years old. Other QBs like Manning and Brady have continued to perform at an elite level well into their late 30's; but they didn't take the amount of vicious hits that Roethlisberger took in his career. Therefore, the possibility that Roethlisberger could break down much sooner than the others is highly probable. [Part of the reason for bringing in Haley as an OC was to alter the playbook and minimize the risk to Roethlisberger, by having him get rid of the ball quickly.] This puts a premium on Roethlisberger's prime and brings a sense of urgency for the Steelers. But without more play makers, this offense will not improve.
Enter Cordarrelle Patterson who is capable of making plays on offense and special teams as a WR, RB and PR/KR. Patterson scored TDs four different ways last season - on a reception, rush, punt return and kick return. He also set an SEC record with a combined kick- and punt-return average of 27.6 yards, and set a school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards. Patterson's physical attributes (6' 2" height, 9" hands and a 37" vertical jump) are ideally suited for surviving and dominating in the rugged AFC North. Most of his shortcomings as a receiver have to do with technique, which can be fixed by coaching. Richard Mann, who was hired by the Steelers as their new WRs coach this season, is known to be highly technique-oriented and would love to have an opportunity to work with the athletic abilities possessed by Patterson.
The Steelers organization has been known to put quality above need in terms of draft philosophy. However, this is one draft where they might have to pull a balancing act between need and quality. Cordarrelle Patterson fills both requirements.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): None
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): Feature Running Back, Feature Receiver, 3-4 OLB, Free Safety, Strong Safety, Cornerback, 3-4 Sam ILB
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): Guard, Left Tackle, Tight End, Right Tackle, 3-4 DT, 3-4 DE
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): Quarterback, 3-4 Weakside ILB, COP Back, Slot Receiver, Possession Receiver, Center
NFL.com Draft Grade: 90.6
-- Drafttek.com ranked #18 Overall, #1 at the position
-- Russ Lande, National Football Post: #33 Overall, #5 at the position
SUMMARY - Cordarelle Patterson will be one of the most hotly debated prospects this year in NFL war rooms as he possesses an elite combination of size and explosive play-making ability, but is extremely raw in nearly all facets of his game. His QAB, instincts in the open field and breakaway speed make him a constant threat to take it the distance, but he must significantly improve his route running. He does not use his hands well against press coverage and be more consistent in terms of running precise routes at full speed. He also has very little experience as a blocker, and drops too many easy balls to be considered a reliable every-down receiver at this stage. He is likely to be immediately inserted as a returner, but he likely won't see the field consistently on offense as a rookie as he will need to greatly improve upon his route running, blocking and focus. Scouts are certain to fall in love with his massive upside, but any team willing to take him in the high first round will be taking a huge risk because of the numerous inconsistencies and weaknesses in his game.
-- CBSSports.com ranked #11overall, #1 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #14 overall, #1 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #18 overall, #1 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #13 overall, #1 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #1 at the position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
STRENGTHS: Patterson has a solidly-built frame with good height and length. He is a fluid athlete with good initial burst and strength to release to the inside and gain separation in single coverage. Patterson knows how to create with excellent vision, controlled footwork and speed, showing excellent change of direction and a strong plant foot to make elusive, sharp cuts.
He has a natural feel with the ball in his hands, making defenders miss with quickness to weave through defenses. Patterson is tough, confident ballcarrier and runs with the belief that no one can tackle him, powering through arm tackles and allowing defenders to slide off of him.
He has very good strength for the position to use his body, box out defenders and make contested grabs, out-muscling defensive backs. Patterson has quick hands and natural adjustment skills to make impressive catches on off-target throws. His coaches rave about his football intelligence and his competitive nature, playing focused and fiery.
Patterson has been extremely productive at both the JUCO level and Tennessee, setting over a dozen school records at Hutchinson C.C. including career receptions (113), career receiving yards (1,832) and career total touchdowns (36). He was also productive in track at the JUCO level with a 10.33 100-meter dash and 22' long jump.
Patterson finished second on the team in receiving in 2012 and set a new Tennessee record for all-purpose yards (1,858), leading the team with 10 touchdowns (5 receiving, 3 rushing, 1 punt return and 1 kick return).
WEAKNESSES: Patterson is still developing as a route-runner and will tip his patterns at times. He is a natural hands-catcher, but will have some concentration lapses and drop some easy ones, running before securing the reception.
Patterson needs to scale back his physicality downfield, often extending his arms downfield against tight coverage and getting away with some push-offs. He has a bad habit of stopping his feet when running room isn't there, always searching for the home run instead of taking what's there.
Patterson has made some mistakes on punt returns, allowing the ball to go over his head or catching the punt too close to the goal line. He has just one year of experience at the FBS-level, albeit a productive one season.
Now On The Clock: [ ]
Previous Picks: Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Jaguars: CB Dee Milliner, Raiders: DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, Eagles: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Lions: DE Ziggy Ansah, Browns: DE Sharrif Floyd, Cardinals: OT Eric Fisher, Bills: QB Geno Smith, Jets: DT Star Lotulelei, Titans: OG Chance Warmack, Chargers: OT Lane Johnson, Dolphins: CB Xavier Rhodes, Buccaneers: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, Panthers: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, Saints: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, Rams: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia