The 2017 NFL Draft appears to be among the deepest in recent memory, which is great news for teams holding picks at the end of each round, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not long ago, I wrote about four players who would be worth trading up for in the first round. My ninth grade English teacher told me that a good debate presents counterarguments, so here is a compilation of players the Steelers should consider moving back for in the NFL Draft:
Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan
With Lawrence Timmons in Miami, middle linebacker suddenly becomes a pretty pressing need for the Steelers. Vince Williams is a prime candidate to assume Timmons’ empty spot, but has limited starting experience and only two years remaining on his current contract. Aside from Williams and Pro Bowler Ryan Shazier, the Steelers have virtually no depth to speak of at the inside linebacker position.
McMillan is alarmingly similar to Timmons in terms of build and skillset, which gives him a reasonably high professional floor. The Steelers have other needs, but trading back to gain some draft capital and a very good linebacker wouldn’t be a bad move.
Alabama OLB Tim Williams
Williams could probably afford to get stronger and probably lacks the situational awareness to become a day-one starter, but the dude can rush the passer like a screaming banshee from the gates of Hell. Thanks to the immortal James Harrison (who football czar Roger Goodell has once again angered), Pittsburgh doesn’t necessarily need to unearth a pass rusher who immediately transforms into a three-down player. They can teach Williams how to play linebacker slowly while unleashing him on passing downs to terrorize quarterbacks.
Williams’ lack of versatility is probably going to bump him down to the early-, middle-ish portion of the second round. Once again, it can’t hurt to pick up some additional picks while addressing a position of need.
Houston OLB Tyus Bowser
I’ve actually seen some mock drafts that have the Steelers picking Bowser in the first round (one of Mel Kiper Jr.’s 15 mock drafts maybe?) The aforementioned analysis for Williams kind of applies here, as well: the Steelers need a pass rusher, but they can afford to take a guy who looks like a bit of a project.
Much like Williams, Bowser will probably need to put on some weight and, yanno, actually learn how to play outside linebacker. Unless teams make an unexpected run at some of the mid-tier pass rushers, Bowser would be somewhat of a reach in the first round. However, I don’t really see him as being head and shoulder above dudes like Williams, Carl Lawson or even Charles Harris. Trading back would be worth the extra picks.
One of like seven different cornerbacks
Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey will probably both be off the board by the time the Steelers make the 30th pick of the first round (Lattimore definitely will), but the Steelers will likely have their pick at one or more of the second-tier cornerbacks.
Pittsburgh could trade back a few picks and put themselves in position to draft Chidobe Awuzie or trade further back and still have the opportunity to land Adoree’ Jackson or Teez Tabor, the latter of whom was once a projected top 15 pick.
Of course, this all depends on how things play out in the first round. There are nearly a dozen cornerbacks who could hear their names called in the first or second round, and it may only take a single domino for teams to make a run at these guys.