With the 48th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton. Sgdbw90 is serving as the Steelers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
This is a true story -- last Saturday, a friend of mine was in town (Austin) for his wife's law school reunion. Because there was free food/beer, I went to one of the reunion parties where we met up with one of his wife's friends. Apparently between law school and reunion, this friend got married. To James Farrior. Two-time All Pro, all-time great Steelers linebacker James Farrior. He was there too, and I told him all about how I drafted a replacement for him (Jarvis Jones) on my favorite blog's community draft. I solicited his opinion about a second-round pick, and he told me to draft Quinton Patton. So here I am!
Okay, okay, that's not entirely true. I DID meet and chat with James Farrior (VERY nice guy), but mostly we talked about babies and fatherhood (he's expecting twins in August; I'm expecting my first in June). That said, I'm 100 percent positive he'd agree with the Patton pick.
The Steelers have a surprisingly high number of needs for an ostensibly good team, which is what happens when good teams grow old. Having nabbed an OLB in Round 1, it's time to get a safety! (Oh wait, Eric Reid and Jonathan Cyprien are gone.) Tight end! (So long, Tyler Eifert & Zach Ertz.) Cornerback. (Jamar Taylor AND David Amerson!?) Thankfully, mercifully, there's still talent left at Pittsburgh's biggest position of need -- wide receiver.
Following the loss of Mike Wallace, the Steelers' receiving corps is VERY thin. Antonio Brown has shown flashes but is far from an established star. Even though the Steelers did match the Emmanuel Sanders deal, he's an average player who's only signed for one year. And their other receivers under contract (Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress) are far better names than talents at this stage in their careers. If you consider that Brown is the only one of these guys under contract for 2014 and beyond, the need to bolster the receiving corps is urgent.
Although I would have loved to have Robert Woods slip a little further, there's a lot to like about drafting Patton here. He's been hugely prolific at all stages of his college career, starting off in JUCO and then becoming the best playmaker for the highest scoring team in the nation at Louisiana Tech (183 receptions, 2,594 yards and 24 TDs in his two seasons). You might think that Louisiana Tech faces inferior competition, so how can we trust those numbers? But Patton has this amazing tendency to rise to the occasion, putting up his best games against the best competition. Facing a Utah State team that would finish 11-2, Patton caught 11 balls for 181 yards. Facing a San Jose State team that would also finish 11-2, Patton caught 10 balls for 125 yards and 2 scores. And, most memorably (and impressively), facing a Texas A&M team that beat champion Alabama and throttled Oklahoma, Patton was DOMINANT -- 21 catches, 233 yards and 4 touchdowns. Patton isn't the tallest or fastest guy available, but he has soft hands, runs great routes and has a phenomenal track record. His reliability makes him a great complement to Brown's home run potential, giving the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger a talented young tandem to build around.
Oh, and in case you think, "What does this sgdbwadasgdasgdlkh90 character know about drafting small, productive receivers?" Well, two years ago in this draft, I took an undersized, no-name receiver from a non-traditional program in the second round. Some of you derided the pick, called it a reach. But I think it's safe to say that Randall Cobb was a player worth investing in. Patton has that kind of potential. James Farrior agrees with me. Probably.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.