If you have been following many experts’ opinions on the Pittsburgh Steelers needs, and who they feel best fits the bill in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, many have predicted Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (LVE) to be the man the Steelers should take.
With the 28th pick, Vander Esch would certainly fill Pittsburgh’s need for an inside linebacker, but there are two different sides of the LVE discussion. There are those, like BTSC’s own Nick Martin, who love Vander Esch and believe he is a player who can plug and play immediately. Then the are those on the other side of the fence feeling Vander Esch is a stretch to be taken in the first round, considering him to be more of a second round talent.
Regardless of which side of the fence you reside, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team is doing their diligence when it comes to checking out Vander Esch this offseason.
I'm told the Steelers already have started doing their draft due diligence on Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch, whom analysts are pegging to the Steelers at No. 28 overall.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 26, 2018
For those who are in the Vander Esch-to-the-Steelers camp, understand this report doesn’t suggest he is the only player Pittsburgh has been researching. For crying out loud, the team has an entire scouting department which focuses solely on prospects, and their abilities, who work all year round — not just leading up to the draft.
But this also means the Steelers are interested in the young prospect. The team will be keeping a close eye on Vander Esch at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, seeing how he tests compared to other prospects they have on their own personal Big Boards.
It was this event last year where T.J. Watt blew competition out of the water, and he was being discussed a lot like Vander Esch when it comes to being a true first round pick, or a Day 2 selection. When you watch Vander Esch play, he has a nose for the football, but his sideline-to-sideline speed, something necessary for the position within the Steelers’ defensive schemes, doesn’t pop off the screen. A good 40-yard dash time, along with other measurables, will help ease those concerns for the Steelers.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on news from the Scouting Combine, as well as all other black-and-gold news.