Matt’s Weekly Mock! First Free Agency Update!

Photo via Charlotte University

By Matt Papiernik, @Matt_Papiernik on Twitter
SteelerNation.com

With the 2020 NFL Draft looming closer day by day, I am going to be doing a quick mock draft every week just for the Pittsburgh Steelers, utilizing the mock draft tool at thedraftnetwork.com. This is the fourth in this series, and now, features the Steelers 3rd round compensatory pick that they were awarded, which is number 102 overall. It also takes into consideration the first couple days of the NFL Free Agency Tampering period. Let’s get it started!

 

The Steelers first pick ends up being a repeat of last week’s mock, as I was able to take J.K. Dobbins, a RB out of The Ohio State University at pick number 49. Dobbins was a work horse this past season for the Buckeyes, as he eclipsed the 300 touch mark and 2,000 yard mark. Dobbins is a powerful runner who possesses “make you miss” quickness in tight spaces. He is a willing blocker in the passing game who can help step in immediately and provide a boost to an offense that lacked many game changing plays last season.

The Steelers have officially placed the franchise tag on OLB Bud Dupree, but they still need to add depth behind him and TJ Watt, as none of the other OLB’s on the roster have much production in their careers following the release of Anthony Chickillo. In slides Alex Highsmith out of Charlotte. Highsmith really made people take a hard look at him coming out of a small school, as he caused havoc in the backfield registering 21 tackles for loss and 15 sacks this past season. He needs to fill out a little bit and work on his ability to hold up against the run, but he should be able to make a quick impact rushing the passer. The Steelers also have a FaceTime meeting scheduled with Highsmith which shows they have interest.

The Steelers were unable to re-sign Javon Hargrave this off-season as he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, which is unfortunate with how well he played for the Steelers. Leki Fotu is a massive human being that is more than capable of taking up space in the middle of the Steelers defensive line in wake of Hargrave’s departure, and has proven he is capable of getting after the QB as well when asked to. Fotu is suprisingly quick for his size, similar to Hargrave, which will help him be able to get after the QB on early downs early on in his career.

Albert Okwuegbunam helped his stock as much as anyone during the combine, as he posted one of the fastest 40-yard dash times of any tight end over the last 20 years. The Steelers have had an official visit with him at the combine as well, which means they already have their eye on him. He fills a need for them on offense as a potential big play weapon, especially with the Steelers needing to add to the tight end position this off-season. They have little proven depth behind Vance McDonald, and McDonald has had some injury trouble in the past.

Ramon Foster has announced his retirement via his Instagram, and it is always sad to see a long time Steeler go, but it was a good time for him to hang them up. The Steelers now need to add depth on the interior, especially if BJ Finney leaves in free agency as well, and Tyre Phillips is an excellent option to do just that. Phillips is a mauler in the run game who loves to drive forward, which works well in the Steelers power run game. He has some technique work to do as a pass blocker, but he is very light on his feet which should help him see playing time sooner rather than later. He also has experience at tackle, as that is where he spent most of his college career, which is an added benefit.

Austin Mack isn’t a name many fans will scream for a team to draft, but he is someone many NFL coaches would love to have. Mack is a thick bodied receiver who possess good route running and a very good ability to track the ball. Mack isn’t a burner by any means, but his tape shows a faster player than his 40-yard dash time. Early in his career, Mack can be used as a possession receiver anywhere on the field, and should be able to provide support on all special teams units.

Let us know what you think of Matt’s Weekly Mock Draft!

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