Ahhhhhhh what a lovely time of year. The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and the mock drafts are flowing. This is my first one for this offseason, and I would normally have half a dozen posted by now.
This wasn’t a normal offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they had a lot of questions with free agents, needs, holes to fill, etc. They usually are a rather stable organization, so mocks can be accurate a lot earlier than most teams.
This year I decided to wait until the first few weeks of free agency were completed and the majority of Pro Days were done as well. Below is my first rendition of a mock draft for the Steelers as to what I think they might do, so let’s see how the chips fell.
Round One, #24: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Now, running back isn’t my first choice if I am the Steelers, as I like many of the backs that can be had in rounds 2-4 as this class has solid mid-round value. I also would like to see them trade down a few spots and add a pick or two if possible. However, I think the Steelers are leaning this way.
Etienne is an elite playmaker that can do whatever an offense asks him too, and he checks all the boxes. He has decent size, speed, pass catching ability, scheme versatility, and most importantly, both Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were at his Pro Day. We all know the history of first round picks and their attendance. In case you don’t, every first round pick since 2010 has had one of them at their Pro Day, so I’d say their presence is rather telling to their thoughts.
Round Two, #55: Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
With the Steelers losing two cornerbacks this offseason, they definitely need to add to this group even if they do trust guys who were farther down on the depth chart to step up. Holland can do that as he showed during the 2019 season to be an elite slot corner, as well as an elite safety in 2018.
The Steelers like positional versatility in their secondary, and for the majority of the decade have lacked the playmaking capability that Holland brings. I compared Holland to Minkah Fitzpatrick in his draft profile, and I still think that is accurate. He’d be a great addition to a secondary needing some new faces.
Round Three, #87: Josh Meyers, C, The Ohio State
Meyers has a large range of where he could land. He could land in the 2nd round or he could slip to the 4th, but I think he is a 3rd round pick easily if not higher. Luckily for the Steelers, him slipping a little bit allows them to get a center that can start Week 1 in the 3rd round.
Meyers is a mauler who is a people mover that can open massive holes in the run game. He is a solid athlete with good fundamentals that will be an early contributor for many teams, but definitely could use some work in blitz recognition during pass protection.
Other Potential Options: OT James Hudson, LB Justin Hilliard, RB Michael Carter, RB Trey Sermon
Round Four, #128: Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
A lot of people focus on running back and offensive line as big needs for the Steelers this year. However, I think tight end is pretty high as well considering they only have one on the roster with much experience who also happens to be a free agent next season. Enter Tommy Tremble.
Tremble isn’t your standard tight end since he is on the shorter side, but he is most likely the best run blocking tight end in this draft class. He run blocks like his life depends on it and he did it very often in college all over the formation. He wasn’t asked to be a receiver as often as we would have liked to see, but he is a very good athlete who should be able to work on that aspect.
Round Four, #140: Joshua Kaindoh, OLB, Florida State
If you look at the last few edge rushers the Steelers have drafted, they seem to have settled on a type. They seem to prefer their edge rushers very athletic, have very good size/strength, as well as be able to change direction well. Kaindoh definitely fits that bill standing in at 6’5.5″ and 260lbs, with testing numbers that are right in line with Bud Dupree’s, TJ Watt’s, and Alex Highsmith’s.
While he has the body and numbers, Kaindoh also has the flashes on tape to show he can use his skills. He can be a bit hit or miss some times as he leaves you begging for more, but his upside is through the roof. The Steelers don’t have much depth behind their starting OLBs currently, so they definitely need to look to add to the position this April.
Other Potential Options: OLB Malcolm Koonce, RB Kylin Hill, RB Khalil Herbert, CB Tre Brown
Round Six, #216: Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami (OH)
Early in the offseason, many thought offensive tackle would be a huge need for the Steelers. Based on how the last few weeks have went, they seem to be comfortable going into the summer with Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor as their starters. However, they still need some developmental talent behind them as both are free agents after this season.
Doyle has the athletic profile to be a premier tackle in the NFL, but does need some seasoning and coaching. He does well in pass protection since he is such a good athlete and a very large human being, but his technique needs polishing. He also lacks strength in the run game, but some time with an NFL strength and conditioning staff vs. the one he had at a small college should definitely help there. He could be out of the league in a couple years, or he could be talked about as the steal of the draft.
Other Potential Options: C Michal Menet, TE John Bates, OT Brenden Jaimes, RB Elijah Mitchell
Round Seven, #245: Grant Stuard, LB, Houston
With the Steelers resigning Vince Williams, inside linebacker has fallen way down the list in terms of need. They now have three quality guys with experience as well as their dime backer on the roster, but it never hurts to add depth to such an important position.
Stuard likely has the traits to develop into an early down linebacker due to his gritty play and legit speed. However, he is very small for the position and looks lost too often in coverage. He may not ever be a mainstay on someone’s defense, but he profiles well to be an ace special teamer at a minimum.
Other Potential Options: TE Luke Farrell, DT Ta’Quon Graham, OLB William Bradley-King, WR Damonte Coxie
Round Seven, #254: Marlon Williams, WR, UCF
Some people are wondering who the next great wide receiver the Steelers will draft on day 2 will be. I don’t see that happening again this season, as their wide receiver room is likely the best position group on the roster from top to bottom. However, that shouldn’t stop them from taking one late if they have been able to fill their other needs earlier.
Williams profiles as a slower JuJu Smith-Schuster, as they both have very similar play styles and builds. Both are great after the catch and are just able to overwhelm defensive backs with their strength. Williams likely will struggle some due to being a little slower and not as crafty as Smith-Schuster is currently, but he definitely has the physicality to carve out a similar role in the future.
Other Potential Options: QB Ian Book, S Trey Dean III, C Drew Dalman
Overall if this is who the Steelers end up with, I wouldn’t have many complaints. It isn’t necessarily how I would do it, but I think this is the path they are very likely to go down, or at least one similar. Let us know what you think below!