CJ Lester’s Mock Draft 1.0: Pre-NFL Combine


By CJ Lester

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a total of six picks in this year’s NFL Draft once the league announces compensatory draft picks. The Steelers are projected to receive a 3rd round compensatory draft pick after losing RB Le’Veon Bell after the 2018-19 season. We all run different off-season scenarios in our head in order to try to predict what the team will do when faced with difficult decisions. Here is my shot in the dark at it!

In this scenario that I am going to play out, the Steelers will re-sign OLB Bud Dupree after clearing some cap space by electing not to pick up the team option on TE Vance McDonald‘s contract, extend DE Cam Heyward, cutting ties with OLB Anthony Chickillo, G Ramon Foster, and LB Mark Barron. The team will not be able to compete with what other teams are willing to offer NT Javon Hargrave, as he looks to cash in on a very productive early career. With confidence in CB Cam Sutton’s ability to play in the slot, the team will also let CB Mike Hilton cash in with another organization. The team will look to add cheaper pieces in free agency to fill in as depth pieces and look to fill the needs at TE and DT in the early rounds of the draft. Also, in this scenario, the Steelers will re-sign OL Matt Feiler and slide him to guard to take the place of Ramon Foster. In conjunction with this move, OL Chukwuma Okorafor and fan favorite OT Zach Banner will complete for the spot at right tackle. Now, let’s take a look at what kind of draft haul we can get after this scenario takes place.


Mock Draft

Round 2: Pick 17

The Pittsburgh Steelers select TE Cole Kmet (6-5, 250 lbs) from Notre Dame.

Cole Kmet is an NFL ready tight end that could come in and make an immediate impact. He is smooth off the line and does a great job of running routes. Cole Kmet could open the middle of the field for the passing game as a nice vertical threat for the Steelers’ offense. Kmet does struggle with drops occasionally, but that can be worked on. He is too big of a weapon to pass up with our first pick in this draft. Kmet was able to catch 43 passes for 515 yards and 6 TD’s in his last season with the Irish.


Round 3: Pick 38

The Pittsburgh Steelers select DL Rashard Lawrence (6-2, 308 lbs) from LSU.

Lawrence is a one-man wrecking crew and I was totally surprised to see he was still available in this mock draft in the 3rd round. He will do great filling the void left by Hargrave and will show NFL readiness by Week 1. Lawrence is a great run stuffer and has the ability to get to the quarterback as well. Lawrence totaled 9 sacks in his career at LSU and 20.5 tackles for loss. After analyzing the tape, Lawrence has showed consistent growth at the position since his freshman year in 2016. Let’s hope he would continue to improve in a Steelers uniform.


Round 4: Pick 18

The Pittsburgh Steelers select S Antoine Brooks Jr. (5-11, 215 lbs) from Maryland.

The Maryland safety is a very skilled tackler and is able to cover the intermediate and shorter routes. He is the typical high motor player the Steelers look for and could excel as the Steelers 3rd safety this season or later on. He is a versatile player who could take snaps in the slot as well as safety. He would add great depth at both positions. Brooks Jr. totaled 85 total tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and 5 passes defended.


Round 4: Pick 29

The Pittsburgh Steelers select OL Calvin Throckmorton (6-5, 310 lbs) from Oregon.

Throckmorton is a very versatile offensive lineman that is capable of playing all five positions. He is very technical with his blocking and is able to keep his hands inside for the most part. The OT from Oregon is a very intelligent player that shows great instinct with opponents’ stunts. He would be a very great depth piece that could help keep the tradition of great o-line play alive for the Steelers.


Round 6: Pick 19

The Pittsburgh Steelers select EDGE Alton Robinson (6-3, 259 lbs) from Syracuse.

Another depth piece would be added for the Steelers if they select Alton Robinson. Robinson is a lot like OLB Bud Dupree when he came out of college. He has an explosive first step, but needs some work with his hands. He is very successful when he is able to beat offensive lineman to their spots and working on the outside, but he has trouble working his way back to the inside if beaten initially. He would require some work, but he has some talent. A great depth piece to add on the EDGE for the Steelers coaching staff to work with. Robinson totaled 19.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in his career at Syracuse.


Round 7: Pick 18

The Pittsburgh Steelers select RB JJ Taylor (5-6, 185 lbs) from Arizona.

Taylor is a Darren Sproles type running back with great return skills. He is dynamic with break-away speed. Taylor is a back that will not be an every down back, but a great piece to have in the backfield and on special teams. He totaled 3,263 yards on 587 carries for a 5.6 yards per carry average in his career at Arizona. His size is a concern, but he could compete for a roster spot with Kerrith Whyte Jr. who shows a similar skill set.

I am not sure how realistic this mock is, but I just took the best player available that would benefit the Steelers in any way. A lot of things can change from now until draft night. Draft projections could change quite a bit after the NFL Combine takes place next week as we will see winners and losers of the event and it could affect the participants’ draft stock.


What do you think of the draft haul for the Steelers in this mock and off-season scenario? Let us know in the comments below!


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One Comment

  1. RK Benson

    February 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Not a bad haul for an early mock.

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