Who Should Pittsburgh Take in the 1st Round?

It is apparent in most mock drafts, experts have the Steelers filling the void that Ryan Shazier left behind. It only seems right that Pittsburgh uses their first round pick on an inside linebacker, seeing as the defense never looked the same with Shazier off the field.

The debate seems to have narrowed down to Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans. Both are very different linebackers, but both look the part to help fill in at the position.

Vander Esch finished his 2017 campaign with 141 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 5 passes defended. A great player no doubt, the only concern is however the competition level in Vander Esch’s conference is not exactly the stiffest. There is no denying the young man has great skill in his tackling ability as well as recognizing when and how to drop into certain coverages. Here’s a couple of impressive plays by the Boise State linebacker.

On the other hand we have Alabama’s Rashaan Evans, who is slightly smaller than Vander Esch, but his speed more than compensates for it. In contrast to Vander Esch, Evans’ conference is undoubtedly the toughest and Alabama won yet another National title this past season. Evans had been moved to the inside position as a junior, and his play at the position speaks volumes. Evans lead the team in tackles with 74 as well as 13 tackles for a loss. His ability to explode off the edge, as well as chase opposing players down with his freakish speed, gives Pittsburgh something to look into further.

At this point, it just appears to be preference based, but as the draft draws nearer, we will see which player Pittsburgh views as fitting into their scheme more adequately.

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