The Pittsburgh Steelers have only begun to endure what will be a challenging offseason, as they’ll likely watch several key starters depart this offseason. As it stands, WR Mike Wallace, DT Casey Hampton, RB Rashard Mendenhall, OT Max Starks, G Ramon Foster, S Ryan Mundy, and ILB Larry Foote will all be free agents after being key contributors over the past several seasons. They’re also
Courtesy of ESPN’s Mel Kiper, here’s how his latest NFL mock draft favored the AFC North teams:
Kiper’s pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Hensley’s comment: Kiper is still sticking with Werner as his pick for the Browns. Werner, who had 13 sacks last season, would fill a big need as a pass-rusher. But Kiper has said Werner is a 4-3 end and wouldn’t fit the Browns’ new 3-4 scheme.
Kiper’s pick: Ezekiel Ansah, LB, BYU
Hensley’s comment: Once again, Kiper didn’t change his pick. He still has Ansah going to the Steelers. He’s a massive athlete who is being compared to Jason Pierre-Paul. Ansah is a raw prospect and there is concern whether he will ever be a 3-4 outside linebacker at 275 pounds. But he will make an impact as a pass-rusher immediately.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Kiper’s pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Hensley’s comment: This pick makes a lot of sense for the Bengals. Vaccaro is a physical defensive back who would fill the biggest void on defense over the past year and would be a great compliment to Reggie Nelson. Teams often find good values by taking a safety in the bottom half of the first round.
32. Baltimore Ravens
Kiper’s pick: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Hensley’s comment: Inside linebacker is currently an area of need. Ray Lewis retired,Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent and Jameel McClain is coming off a spinal-cord injury. Minter is a tackling machine, but Kiper notes there’s a chance that Minter won’t last this long. With the drama surrounding Manti Te’o, Minter could take his spot in the top half of the first round and Te’o could fall down to the bottom of the first round.