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Mock Draft: Steelers NFL Draft Plans Are Clear

The Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft plans are coming to life, and the trail to their top picks are easy to follow.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are through their first wave of free agency, and even with a few more names expected to sign before the NFL Draft, we have a strong feel of where this team is headed with their rookie class. 

The Steelers are deep into the scouting trail and have left some pretty big breadcrumbs to follow with their comments about certain players - both on and off their team. From there, it's about connecting the dots. 

At this point in the offseason, you can get a good feel about what direction the Steelers will go in the NFL Draft. So, let's get started. 

Round 1, Pick 17: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Mike Tomlin couldn't be more excited about having Patrick Peterson around. Not because he has a future Hall of Famer who will shut down the outside, but because he has a future Hall of Famer who will mentor the next generation of Steelers cornerbacks. 

And at 17, with Joey Porter Jr. sitting on the board, the Steelers will have an easy decision on their hands with their first pick. 

Porter Jr. brings prototypical cornerback size to Pittsburgh, and with Peterson helping him develop and his father, Joey Porter, in town, it's an easy fit for the Penn State alum. 

Pittsburgh has had different positions tossed out there with their first pick, but if Porter Jr. is on the board, he's their guy.

Round 2, Pick 32: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

"The Steelers and a few other teams came up to me and told me that I had one of the cleanest workouts they've seen in the past few years," Downs said at his UNC Pro Day. 

The Steelers only have five wide receivers on the roster right now, and even if expectations are high for Calvin Austin, they need more options within the group. It's surprising they haven't signed an outside depth piece, but that could still be expected to this point. 

In the slot, they'll use the NFL Draft, and playing with Austin and Anthony Miller next season will be Josh Downs. 

Downs is gaining speed with his NFL Draft workouts and at 32, he'll be a sleeper on the board. Pittsburgh will have other options at the wide receiver position available, but adding more speed and elusiveness to the mix is going to be their top priority. 

Round 2, Pick 49: Jammie Robinson, DB, Florida State

Disclaimer: Don't be surprised if this pick is Penn State's Ji'Ayir Brown. 

The Steelers are planning to utilize Patrick Peterson at safety as well, but Tomlin made it clear they plan to add another safety either through free agency or the NFL Draft. But with three picks in the top 50, and no names left on the open market, it's an easy call to see they're going to draft their next defensive back. 

Robinson comes with defensive back versatility and play safety and nickel/slot. He could be a Day 1 starter, but his best role as a rookie will be a primary backup. 

Robinson has the ball skills and physical play to work both the run and pass, and he'll have time to develop behind Damontae Kazee and Patrick Peterson. 

Don't be surprised if Robinson gets an opportunity to start in year one, but even if he doesn't, the Steelers' expectations will be that he's a year two star. 

Round 3, Pick 80: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

Pittsburgh has completely ignored their nose tackle position in free agency which makes you believe they'll add a big man in the middle through the NFL Draft. 

Ika is everything the Steelers need for that nose tackle position - 6-foot-3, 335 pounds with 32-inch arms. This guy is massive, and the Steelers have needed a massive body on their defensive line for two seasons now. 

They haven't left many breadcrumbs to follow with their defensive line scouting, but if Ika is on the board at pick 80, he'll be nearly impossible to pass up for the Steelers. 

Round 4, Pick 120: Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane

Pittsburgh has their eyes on an inside linebacker, and even if Trenton Simpson is their favorite, they'll prioritize other needs over him and feel comfortable waiting for Dorian Williams. 

Williams brings athleticism to the position and could be the pass-coverage inside linebacker they've been searching for. He needs time to develop, but with Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts signing in free agency, Pittsburgh isn't pressed to put a rookie on the field more than they need to. 

Expect Williams to be a contributor, which is all the Steelers are looking for. They want speed and coverage ability with some upside. Williams provides all of that. 

Round 7, Pick 234: Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State

I'll stay grounded to the idea that Connor Heyward is going to play more fullback/slot than he will tight end during his career. He's going to be utilized within the offense, but he's not big enough to play tight end, and the Steelers need an all-around player at that position. 

Strange isn't the ideal year-one player for any NFL team, but no seventh-round pick is. What he'll provide is the ability to block and be utilized to some degree in the passing game. He can fill in for Pat Freiermuth or Zach Gentry when needed, but he's not going to be a weapon as a rookie. 

However, he does come with all the physical attributes you look for in an NFL tight end. He's 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, and can both block and catch. 

The Steelers didn't send tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts to Penn State's Pro Day for nothing. If Strange is available late, Pittsburgh adds a tight end. 

Round 7, Pick 241: Karl Brooks, DT, Bowling Green

Brooks was extremely impressive during the Senior Bowl early in the offseason, and it's surprising he hasn't gained much steam to move up draft boards. But, for the Steelers, if he's around this late, they're going to take him. 

Brooks is 6-foot-3, 300 pounds who can play both nose and defensive tackle, and could be the depth the Steelers have tried to find in players like Carlos Davis and Isaiahh Loudermilk over the years. 

This late in the draft, you're taking the best available. Brooks being on the board with pick 241 is an easy decision for a team who lacks defensive line depth and got a first-hand look at him in Mobile, Alabama. 

Seventh-round picks are like throwing darts at a wall and trying to get one to stick. From what they've seen from Books, he's got the potential to stick. 

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