With the NFL Combine and big splash of free agent signings behind us, I am taking another look at the NFL Draft. Obviously, needs have changed a little after a few key signings, especially in the interior offensive line and quarterback positions. Check out below:
TRADE Round 1
Steelers trade #20 & #84 with the Green Bay Packers for #22, #59, & #92. There’s two players I want at #20 with Trevor Penning and Jordan Davis still on the board. Packers offer a lot to move up two spots and I take the chance to scoop up another second round pick.
1st Round #22 – Jordan Davis DT Georgia
With some of the Steelers’ recent off-season moves, defensive tackle becomes a priority. I feel Tyson Alualu starts the season atop the depth chart, but slowly and surely, Davis receives more and more playing time throughout the year. My biggest concern with Davis is stamina. I feel he might never be more than a 50% of the snap type player, but in this scenario, and with the Steelers having the luxury of splitting time with Alualu, it just makes sense. This should bolster a poor run defense immediately and hopefully help TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith receive more one-on-one attention on the outside.
2nd Round #52 – Leo Chenal ILB Wisconsin
I know the Steelers signed Myles Jack, but I feel he’s more of a Mack LB, much like Devin Bush, and we are still in need of a true Buck LB. Chenal is one of the best run stuffing and blitzing linebackers to come out of the draft in recent memory. With the luxury of having Bush and Jack for coverage, the Steelers can bring Chenal in during running situations immediately, and as his coverage skills improve, he can have added playing time as the season goes on. Again, this is an immediate bolster to the run defense.
3rd Round #59 – Kerby Joseph S Illinois
Bolster the middle of that defense again with Joseph, the former WR turned safety for the Illini. Joseph really broke out after the Nebraska game. He graded out the season at 90.4 and his run defense much improved with a 76.5 Pro Football Focus grade for the season. He ended the season with 5 interceptions, had a tackle for a loss, and sack to boot. I feel he’s an ascending player with his transition to safety finally setting in.
TRADE Round 3
Steelers trade #92 to the Cleveland Browns for #99 & #118. There’s a couple of trade offers on the board but this one stands out. I pick up a 4th round pick for just dropping another 7 spots.
3rd Round #99 – Christian Watson WR North Dakota State
Watson is a guy who has started growing on me the last few weeks. His athleticism is elite, his size of 6-4, 208lbs with 10 ⅛” hands is well above average, and his yards per catch has never averaged less than 18.3 a season. Now there’s things I don’t like and he’s very similar to Chase Claypool in the sense he’s raw. He needs to refine his route tree and expand it. He needs to become more of a hands catcher and have better concentration as he sometimes lets the ball get to his body or turns his head away from the ball, and does not follow it in until it’s secured. But this late in the draft, you aren’t going to have a perfect prospect.
4th Round #118 – Zach Tom OL Wake Forest
Tom is a versatile lineman with elite balance and athleticism. He is very smart, sets up his blocks well, and can play multiple positions. I feel he could potentially play every position on the line, but he is probably best suited for center or guard.
4th Round #138 – Jelani Woods TE Virginia
Woods is a riser on my draft board as he has elite size and athleticism. The former QB has filled out his 6-7 frame nicely, but he does have more room to grow. He enjoyed his best receiving season last year with 44 grabs and 598 yards with 8 scores. He has a long way to go on blocking but with Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry ahead of him on the depth chart, he likely won’t be asked to do much for his first year. This pick protects the Steelers from the likely scenario that Gentry leaves after 2022 as an UFA.
6th Round #208 – Hassan Haskins RB Michigan
Haskins would likely sit at #3 on the depth chart in 2022, but this pick should ensure a decent backup to Harris after Benny Snell Jr. possibly leaves as a free agent in 2023. Haskins is a typical Big Ten running back as he’s a north/south runner whose style of play translates well to the NFL.
7th Round #225 – Jack Jones CB Arizona State
Jones has primarily played outside, but I feel he’d excel inside as a nickel CB. He is a little undersized at 5-11 and 171lbs, but he is a willing tackler and this year showed much improvement in his blitz timing and run defense.
7th Round #241 – Esezi Otomewo DL Minnesota
Otomewo is a jacked up 5-technique standing 6-5, 282lbs with over 34” arms. He has room to easily add another 20lbs on his frame without losing speed or bend. In an ideal world, Stephon Tuitt comes back and Esezi gets a couple seasons to develop behind him. Regardless, Chris Wormley did a nice job last year and would allow Esezi to come in sparingly his rookie season.
Let me know what you would think of this draft in the comment section below!