FanPost

30 Prospects Will Have Visited By Week's End, Time To Speculate Who Will Become Steelers: Updated

Past history tells us that at least a few of these guys will end up as Steelers. While it's unlikely that all of their draft picks will come from the prospects that visited, they have a wide enough mix that covers just about every round in the draft. This year, their visits seem to be top heavy in that they have several 1st round guys on their list. I'd say there is a strong chance their top pick will be one of these guys who visited. From there, it will depend on how things shake out the rest of the way through the draft, but chances are they will land a few more of these "visits" along the way. I break down the "visits" by round below...

Update: We now know that RB Jerick McKinnon and S/CB Jemea Thomas have visited bringing the total to 28 of the 30 non-local prospects allowed (Aaron Donald doesn't count since he's local). The interesting part is there is still 4 who were reportedly scheduled to visit who haven't yet (Kyle Fuller, Seantrel Henderson, Nick Williams, and Lawrence Martin). Plus, rumor has it that WR Quincy Enunwa is supposed to visit. That would bring the total to 33...which can't happen. My guess is Williams and Martin weren't visits, but rather private workouts and Henderson's visit may have been cancelled. Purely speculation on my part, but one way or another, only 2 more non-local visits can happen and must be done by Sunday. Therefore, I'm going to go with the 33 (plus Donald) names that have been associated with "visits" for now. Next week, I'll do a similar post that adds in prospects who had a significant Steeler presence at their pro-day or at private workouts.

1.15 CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Bradley Roby, CB Jason Verrett, CB Kyle Fuller, OLB Anthony Barr, ILB Ryan Shazier, DE Stephon Tuitt, DT Aaron Donald, S Calvin Pryor. That makes 9 prospects who could be candidates for the pick. The 4 CBs are the likely leading contenders at this point, and they have a good chance of getting the one they like best @ 15. Who that is remains a mystery at the moment. Barr originally would have been considered unlikely to still be around, but he has become a candidate to fall out of the Top 10. This is due in part because he is still raw and that (while still a very good athlete)he may not be quite as "elite" of an athlete for his position as he was originally projected to be. Shazier, on the other hand, showed that he is an even better athlete than originally projected and would easily be considered an "elite" athlete for his position. Even so, he still would be considered somewhat of a longshot to be the pick @ 15. Tuitt fits a serious need at DE, but 15 seems a bit too high for him, although it's unlikely he will fall to 46 at this point. He may be a more likely candidate in a trade down scenario. Donald is a local visit since he's from Pitt, so he doesn't count toward the 30. It seems unlikely they would pick him since he's a better fit for a traditional 43 D. He will likely go somewhere it the teens though (and possibly ahead of 15). Pryor is a bit of a head-scratcher since S doesn't appear to be a need at this point, and he isn't necessarily a Top 15 guy. If he somehow fell to 46, they might see him as a value pick worth taking. Prediction: They stay at 15 and take the top CB on their board (whoever that may be).

2.46 WR Donte Moncrief, WR Martavis Bryant, DE Rashede Hageman, CB Phillip Gaines, DE/OLB Scott Crichton, OLB Demarcus Lawrence, OLB Carl Bradford, S Deone Bucannon. Another 8 picks here shows just how "top heavy" they are with their visits (with over half being potential 1st or 2nd rounders). Moncrief and Bryant fit the "tall WR with speed" category. Both make for intriguing fits with the current WR group, yet both seem raw (Bryant more so). However, neither would be asked to start (or even be #3) so they could develop and, in time, potentially be nice weapons to go with AB, Wheaton and co. Hageman was once considered a potential candidate for the pick @ 15, but that seems unrealistic now. As well documented, he just didn't do enough at the collegiate level for a man his size and athletic ability. He seems like a classic boom or bust prospect, but with DE being such a big need, he could potentially be worth the gamble @ 46. Gaines is a fast riser up the boards going from a day three pick to now a likely 2nd rounder. He could be the Steelers fall back plan if they miss out on their CB in the 1st. If that happens, I can't see them passing on Gaines if he's there @ 46. Crichton seems better suited to be a DE in a 43, but he can convert to OLB. He might also be able to be a hybrid DE/OLB in some of the sub packages. Lawrence would also need to convert to OLB due to his size, but could make for a good project behind the current group. Bradford is the most versatile of the OLB prospects in that he's played DE, OLB, and ILB. That adds some value to how he could be used in different schemes in the sub packages. Bucannon, like Pryor, would seem a bit redundant since they appear relatively set at S. However, he brings the possibility of being a hybrid ILB/S in the sub packages which could make him a nice sleeper pick. Prediction: After landing their CB in the 1st, they stay on the D side and take an OLB (Crichton or Bradford) or a DE if Hageman or (especially) Tuitt was there. Another possibility if Tuitt was still around once they got into the 2nd round would be to trade up for him. TB(38), BUF (41), or TEN (42) could be spots (they each have only 6 picks), and throwing in the 5.157 and 6.192 with the 2.46 might just be enough to do it.

3.97 WR Bruce Ellington, RB Lache Seastrunk, OLB Jackson Jeffcoat. This seems like a spot, like last year with Wheaton, that they might take a guy who wasn't one of the visits. If any of these 3 are taken, Ellington is probably the leading candidate. He's not the "tall WR" that many are hoping for, but he brings much value as a PR/KR to go with nice speed and a 39.5" vertical. That makes him a good fit with the current WR group (in a different way than Moncrief and Bryant). Seastrunk fits the bill and need for a "speed" back. However, he isn't necessarily a KR or good catching it out of the backfield. So, this seems a bit high for someone that doesn't meet all of their needs. Jeffcoat would potentially be a fallback option if they don't grab an OLB earlier, but that being said, there might be better value in some other OLB prospects later on. Bryant and Bucannon from the 2nd round lists could also be possibilities here if they were to slip, with Bucannon making for a sneaky good pick at this point. Prediction: This could be a spot where they take a guy who wasn't a visit but slipped a bit lower than expected and fits a need...like DL Daquan Jones (if they didn't get Tuitt or Hageman). It's also a spot for a guy like WR Cody Latimer who they recently had a workout with, or a guy like Bradford might slip to here. One way or another, they will have to use this pick since it was a Comp.

4.118 CB Ross Cockrell, SS/CB Brock Vereen, LB Jordan Zumwalt, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, RB Jerick McKinnon. For some reason it seems destined that they take Cockrell here. He fits the projection of a mid-round CB that they can develop into a reasonable starter candidate. He would make for a nice double-dip with their first round CB. Vereen is a fast riser too, due to his athleticism and could make for a nice fit as a versatile DB. Zumwalt is a high motor guy but isn't necessarily an ideal fit at either ILB or OLB with what the Steelers do. On the other hand, Pierre-Louis could be a nice fit at the hybrid cover ILB that Garvin played. There could be some value in getting a player like this on day three who fits well with some of the sub package schemes. Now with McKinnon in the mix, things could get interesting. If they really like him, this could be the spot they need to take him as he may not make it back to 5.157. He would fit the role as scatback, but also brings versatility and is strong and a good blocker too (plus can be a KR too). Prediction: Cockrell may still be a leading candidate here for a double-dip at CB, but if they really like McKinnon, don't be surprised if they were to take him here...or check out another possible scenario in my prediction for 5.157.

5.157 CB Shaquille Richardson. Richardson seems like the only prospect who fits the 5.157 spot. He has good speed/size and is athletic, but was inconsistent and has some character concerns that need to be checked out. He could be a fall back on the DB double dip if they miss out on Cockrell or Vereen. That being said, I think this is a prime spot for them to go with a player from the O side. Of course, it would be nice if McKinnon was still available here as I think they would grab him. It's a good spot for a guy who is KR capable. Prediction: One way or another, I can see them trading this pick. They may trade up from this spot if a guy they like from the 4.118 list slips to the top of the 5th. They can use the 6.192 to trade up to the top of the 5th with maybe Washington or TB (who both only have 6 picks) to grab McKinnon if he was still there. Or maybe this pick will have been used in my trade-up in the 2nd scenario.

5.173. S/CB Jemea Thomas. This could be a spot for Thomas. While he lacks idea size for both S and CB, he is versatile and can cover and is a good tackler. He may never be a starter, but he could end up as a decent nickel S in some sub packages (and has more upside than Golden), or be a CB in some "quarters" packages. He is also a KR, which further adds to his value. Since this is the Comp pick, they are going to have to use it on someone. Prediction: Would they triple-dip at DB? I don't know, but they've looked at a bunch of CB's and some versatile S's, so I think they pick at least two if not three. Thomas looks like a leading candidate for this pick at this point.

6.192 WR/KR John Brown, OT Seantrel Henderson. Brown fits as a nice PR/KR who also has potential at WR even though he's somewhat small. If they haven't grabbed a KR prospect by here, then I think they'd go with Brown. Henderson was once a much higher rated prospect but his stock has plummeted since there are questions about his desire to even play football. He might go undrafted and I'm not sure if they would necessarily use a pick on him. Prediction: This is another pick that I can see them trading. It's not worth many "points" in terms of the value chart (about 14 I think), but it still has some value. If they don't trade the pick, and they haven't already taken a KR, then Brown could be their guy.

6.215 TE Rob Blanchflower. This pick seems to have Blanchflower written all over it. They have to use the 6th round comp pick and he fits here. Blanchflower is not the athlete that some of the top TE prospects are, but he is versatile in that he can line up inline, in the backfield as a FB or H-back, or even in the slot. He could be a nice 3rd TE for the Steelers who may develop into a #2. Paulson and Palmer are by no means locks to make the roster. Prediction: Blanchflower it is!

7.230 WR Quincy Eununwa. None of the other visits necessarily fit here as DT Beau Allen, S Nick Williams, and OL Lawrence Martin seem more like UDFA candidates. It would seem odd for them to wait to take a WR this late, but it is possible. They could also double-dip having taken a WR earlier, but that seems unlikely unless one is mainly a KR (like Brown). Eununwa could be a sneaky late pick because he has size (6'2" 225) and speed (4.45). Allen is interesting because he could project as a NT prospect with potential to play some DE as well. He could be this year's Arnfelt. Williams is a big, slow SS who seems like he'd be a better fit at LB and would be a liability in coverage in the secondary. He could be a potential "Garvin". Martin may be the oddest of the bunch in that he was a OG, who moved to TE (and possibly FB). Not sure where he'd exactly fit with the Steelers other than maybe the TE role that Beachum and Adams played some. Prediction: It would probably surprise people if they waited until the end to take a WR but that's not out of the question, they do have some depth there already (AB, Wheaton, Moore, DHB, Moye, JBrown). If they don't take one on day two, and they land guys who are KR capable like McKinnon and Thomas, then Eununwa could be a good fit for a late pick. It's also possible that he and Blanchflower could be flip-flopped (with the 215 and 230).

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