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Insider Only Steelers Draft Day: Top Names to Watch for Steelers at No. 17

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Steelers Top Needs: RB, LB, S, WR
Less than two Hours until the NFL Draft and here are the top names to watch for the Steelers at No. 17, pending the team moving up or trading down:
OLB Jarvis Jones (6-2, 242), Georgia – Jarvis Jones is the Steelers guy at No. 17 if he’s there. He’s the player the Steelers have their sights set on but team officials are not very confident of Jones being there at No. 17, with the Steelers believing the Jets and Saints are very strong possibilities to nab Jones in front of them. Despite the concerns of Jones being a medical risk and running a 4.92 forty, it doesn’t have the Steelers intending to turn away from him if he’s there. Jones had 14 1/2 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss at Georgia in 2012.
One evaluator on Jones. “He’s not a perfect player by any means, really raw, but he’s such an athletic pass rusher and has chance to be a very good one.”

The Other Three Notable Players to Watch:
S Kenny Vaccaro (6-1, 218), Texas – With Troy Polamalu on the downside of his career and Ryan Clark 34 years old, Vaccaro headlines a strong group of safeties in this draft and is a player the Steelers are expected to give strong consideration to. Vaccaro had 96 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2012 for Texas. He’s a prime trade up candidate for teams in the 20’s looking to move up a few spots into the middle of the first round and there’s no guarantee he’ll be there at 17 for the Steelers.
One Evaluator on Vaccaro: “He fits the Steelers mold, tough and physical”

WR Cordarrelle Patterson (6-3, 216), Tennessee – The Steelers operate as an organization who feel wide receivers are the easiest position to replace and in a deep receiver draft, the Steelers could find some help in the middle rounds, which puts Patterson being a bit of a longshot at No. 17.
That said, the Steelers are very high on Patterson and feel he has special ability. They have done a ton of homework on him and while there are some immaturity issues, the Steelers don’t feel Patterson is a bad guy which has him still on their radar. Under Todd Haley, the Steelers are no longer a vertical team and seek dynamic playmakers with ability after the catch. Patterson and Tavon Austin are the best as they come in that area. Patterson has the upside of a No. 1 receiver and is also extremely versatile as he can return kicks and had 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012 with the Vols. In the receiving game, Patterson had 46 receptions for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns.
One Evaluator on Patterson: “Special, Special ability with the ball in his hands.”

TE Tyler Eifert (6-6, 250), Notre Dame – The Steelers continue to downplay the need to add a high draft pick for a tight end, but Eifert is a name that has been picking up steam. Eifert is a very good receiver in middle the field and would give the Steelers that type of player who could be a matchup problem and also improve the Steelers play immediately in the red-zone. Some concerns with Eifert from teams is that he’s not a so called “all around tight end” and there’s been some questions about his commitment with a few scouts out there believing that he doesn’t like football that much.
One Evaluator on Eifert: “He’s really good in the middle of the field, fearless in making the tough catches to move the chains. NFL ready pass catcher and gets separation from linebackers.”

Sleepers to Watch at 17
MLB Arthur Brown (6-1, 230), Kansas State – When you break down the depth chart, the Steelers bigger need is at inside linebacker and Kansas State’s Arthur Brown is said to be at the top of the Steelers board at Inside Linebacker. Extremely athletic and some teams covet him as an OLB. Many evaluators seem to regard him as a late first round/early second round prospect but this is a draft where there isn’t much difference between the 20th best prospect and 35th best prospect. The Steelers really like Brown.
S Eric Reid (6-2, 212), LSU – While all of the buzz is on Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, LSU’s Eric Reid is flying under the radar and is another 1st round safety. He doesn’t play a tough and physical game like Vaccaro but is big and instinctive with 4.53 speed.
OLB Bjoern Werner (6-3, 266), Florida State – Once regarded as a top-15 pick, Werner is suddenly a name you hear more about as a late first round/early second round prospect. The reason for that is that he’s not a dynamic type of rusher who scouts feel has that special ability about him like a Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo or Jarvis Jones. That said, Werner is one of those players who might not wow you but he gets results with 13 sacks for FSU in 2012.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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