With the 56th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2012 NFL mock draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Midwestern State offensive guard Amini Silatolu. Northern Lite is serving as the Steelers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The Steelers have several needs on their roster. The needs in order would be NT, OG, ILB, S, CB, RB and WR. In the first round I passed over Dont'a Hightower for Mark Barron because of BPA. Now in the second round I find myself with many more choices and a slightly different approach. I turned my strategy to that which has now become known as BATFAN (best available that fits a need).
With that in mind, the biggest hole I wanted to fill in the draft was NT, but with Dontari Poe and Alameda Ta'amu coming off the board before my picks in the first and second round, I find myself again looking at a strong LB class. There is former first-round prospect Zach Brown, the Pac-12 defensive player of the year Mychal Kendricks and another great ILB prospect in Bobby Wagner all standing in front of me with excellent value. Now I know LB is a pretty significant need for the Steelers, but I actually found myself a player that could provide better value and fill a much greater need.
The Steelers offensive line has been pretty rotten the past few years, to say the least. Big Ben sustains and plays through more injuries than any other quarterback I can think of. The play at OG has been especially terrible. Amini Silatolu is the third-best OG available in the draft and at 6'4" and 314 lbs. it's easy to see how he could become an elite prospect.
Amini did have a bumpy college career coming out of Division II with a couple red flags of his own. To me David DeCastro, Kevin Zeitler and Silatolu all have the potential to be elite guards at the next level. In fact, I think that they all nearly have the same ceiling. The problem is that Zeitler and Silatolu have a greater chance to be a bust. Still, I will jump at the chance to lock down a road grader lineman with a mean streak and a body built to take the punishment. I believe Silatolu is more of a "Steeler" than the LBs available in Brown and Kendricks. Also, he fills a greater need, so that's why I ended up going with this pick.
With any luck, Silatolu will have great success at the next level and hold down the interior of the Steelers O-line for 10+ years and accumulate many Pro Bowls.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.