The 2017 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and with pro days starting to wrap up and pre-draft visits in full swing, many are starting to hone their mock drafts in preparation for the big day.
At ESPN, their dynamic duo of draft analysts, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, released a two-round dueling mock draft. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are many different ways the tandem could go, and they certainly go in different directions in both the first and second rounds.
See who the two analysts like to go to the Steelers in their latest mock drafts.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kiper: Derek Barnett, OLB, Tennessee
Since Barnett is available at No. 30 in this mock, I'm switching from Houston's Tyus Bowser to Barnett, who was one of the most productive pass-rushers over the past three years (33 sacks). He fits the Steelers' physical 3-4.
McShay: John Ross, WR, Washington
With Martavis Bryant's suspension still in place (for now), the Steelers could very well be in the market for a speedy wide receiver to play opposite Antonio Brown come April. Ross broke the modern combine record with a 4.22 40. He has savvy route-running ability and reliable hands and will contribute as a returner.
The thought of Barnett falling to the Steelers certainly isn’t a bad thing, but it is difficult for me to get on board with the thought of Pittsburgh selecting a wide receiver in the first round. I realize they draft with Best Player Available in the back of their mind, but there are more pressing needs than receiver in Round 1, even if Martavis Bryant isn’t permitted to return to the team.
62. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kiper: Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan
Wormley is only the third defensive tackle I have going in the first two rounds. He had 12.5 sacks for the Wolverines the past two seasons, and he has tremendous size at 6-5, 298.
McShay: Derek Rivers, DE/OLB, Youngstown State
Rivers dominated small-school competition the past three seasons, with 160 total tackles, 52 tackles for loss and 38 sacks. After he weighed in at 248 pounds and posted top-five marks among defensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.61), bench press (30), vertical jump (35 inches) and three-cone drill (6.94), it's clear Rivers could make the transition to a 3-4 OLB in the pros.
The second round picks by both analysts are seemingly better. I am a huge fan of Rivers, if he lasts to the second round, and the fact McShay has them getting a solid pass rusher in Round 2 makes up for his questionable decision in Round 1. As for Kiper, he has the team going defense, defense for the second straight year, and I doubt there would be many complaints from the fan base if that were to take place again in 2017.
Now is the time you get to dissect, and tear apart, the selections by Kiper and McShay. Feel free to do so freely in the comment section below.