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Steelers NFL Draft Prospects: College Game Day and Open Thread

Time to check in on the NCAA action Saturday, and players who could be on the Steelers’ radar.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week 6 of the college football season. Lets take a look at this weeks top 25 match ups:

No. 19 Texas at No. 7 Oklahoma (-7.5) Noon, FOX

No. 5 LSU (-3) at No. 22 Florida 3:30 p.m., CBS

No. 6 Notre Dame (-5) at No. 24 Virginia Tech 8 p.m., ABC

Taking a look at the weekly college schedule in an effort to give you your money’s worth for possible draft picks in the 2019 season. In other words, what games give you the best chance to check out the most draft-able players.

This weeks highlight game is:

No. 5 LSU (-3) at No. 22 Florida 3:30 p.m., CBS

LSU Tigers

#18 Foster Moreau TE 6’5” 255

#4 Nick Brossette RB 6’ 221

#90 Rashard Lawrence DL 6’3” 300

#99 Edwin Alexander NT 6’3’ 339

#91 Breiden Fehoko DL 6’3” 300

#40 Devin White ILB 6’1” 255

#29 Greedy Williams CB 6’1” 182

Florida Gators

#59 T.J. McCoy C 6’1” 308

#73 Martez Ivey OT 6’5” 315

#65 Jawaan Taylor OT 6’5” 334

#25 Jordan Scarlett RB 5’10” 213

#89 Tyrie Cleveland WR 6’2” 205

#12 Van Jefferson WR 6’1” 195

#92 Jabari Zuniga EDGE 6’3” 245

#96 CeCe Jefferson Edge 6’1” 261

#54 Khairi Clark DL 6’1” 315

#99 Jachai Polite OLB 6’2” 260

#23 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S 6’ 207

New Feature :

I wanted to bring about more discussion into the College Game Day Open Thread. I had an article written up and ready to go asking for someone to do some draft breakdown. One of our own writers, Nick Farabaugh, saw the article in the Editorial Queue and said he would take on that offer and in fact it is somewhat of a hobby for him, one might say a passion.

LSU Tigers

CB Greedy Williams

I don’t know what more I can say about Greedy Williams. He is easily CB1 right now and it isn’t particularly close. If you are looking for the classic traits in your ideal Cornerback, Williams checks just about every box. He has elite athleticism, great length, and ideal size at 6’1”. The only concerning part is that he weighed in at only 181 lbs, and by extension, needs to add some muscle on. His strength is probably the biggest knock on him. He knows he is not very strong and is Artie Burns-like in run defense. The guy misses far too many tackles and allows far too much separation simply because he is not strong enough.

However, he is a true man coverage corner. He is uber physical and bumps receivers off their route a ton. If he doesn’t get them off their route right away, he is the master of the trail technique and carries everyone vertical. You have seen Joe Haden do that all the time and Williams does it a ton too. Like Haden, he is great at mirroring and it is why he rarely gets burnt at all. He is far advanced in that stage. The only other knack on him for me is his hips. He plays with them out, and that can allow inside leverage or cause him to be turned around off the line of scrimmage.

Round Grade: Top 10

NFL Comparison: AJ Bouye

IDL Rashard Lawrence

Lawrence sure is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love how he plays low all the time. What does that open up? Pass-rushing opportunities and more importantly, block shedding opportunities in general. I love his crazy quick hands. He has a great rip move that allows him to get into the backfield and is so explosive off the line that you see flashes of Aaron Donald in there. In run defense, he sure does clog up space, but my issue is his lack of making plays for himself. He will drive back his linemen but not disengage and it will cause the ILB to make a play, which is fine for LSU, but if it is 3rd and 1, I want him making that play. He does not inspire confidence as a pass rusher yet due to his lack of moves outside of the rip, but he has started to experiment with a cross chop rip combo. Hopefully that works out. Hope this guy sounds like a familiar DL you might know?

Round Grade: Mid-2nd

NFL Comparison: Javon Hargrave

ILB Devin White

Whew. I did not know a guy could be a stud and yet so disappointing at the same time. I am a huge Devin White fan, but he always leaves a little bit to be desired. This is an athletic linebacker who can actually pursue the ball carrier coming out of college. His angles are crisp, his tackling is as sure handed as anyone, and man does he ever have some range. These athletic linebackers have to also be able to weave through the traffic they will encounter and no one is better at that than White. Even better, once he reaches the ball carrier, he is one of the most aggressive tacklers you will see in this class. He is Vince Williams level of intense on that field. All of this and he is one of the best run defenders in the ILB class.

And yet, I find myself so disappointed. Devin White is so raw man. The guy simply cannot mentally process a play action for his life. He bites every single time. His instincts simply are not there yet. He is a slow reactor to the football half of the time and he will literally get washed out of plays by wide receivers. DK Metcalf washed him straight out of the middle of a play when LSU faced Ole Miss. He has a long way to go, and because he is so raw, but has such a high ceiling, I am a bit lower on him than others, but he can be stud.

Round Grade: Early 2nd

NFL Comparrison: Telvin Smith

Florida Gators

EDGE Jachai Polite

The most underrated EDGE in the class and probably my EDGE3 over Clellin Ferrell of Clemson. Brian Burns and Nick Bosa might be too good for him to overtake, but Polite looks to be an EDGE rusher that will probably go somewhere in the mid 20s. Once you see his tape, the first thing that jumps out is his explosion. He is naturally a speed rusher, but man that explosion off the line is some of the best in this class. Polite has a knack for being aware on the edge though. He knows how to read his blocker and since he is so agile, he easily cuts inside and goes in from there. In addition to that, it is great to know that he is an adept run defender. He holds that edge well and knows when to shed. He is an expert block shedder and has about five moves in his arsenal. I have seen a rip, cross chop, swim, spin, and the patented bull rush. And when he gets around that edge, he can bend as good as anyone coming out. This is one of the most polished pass rushers in the class.

Where do I want him to improve? Simply put, consistency. He disappears for stretches and then will have spans of time where you will be wowed. This seems to be the case with some more polished edge rushers like Harold Landry last year, but they still have a huge impact. I would like to see Polite work on his hands a bit. They are active right now, but they are not active enough. If he gets beaten in leverage, he does not have a great counter, and he should try and develop a counter tactic.

Round Grade: Top 20, 1st Round

NFL Comparison: Melvin Ingram

S Chauncey Gardner Johnson

Gardner-Johnson has received some hype as a deep safety who can be a rangy over the top coverage specialist. I will say, in coverage he is solid. You can tell he has ball skills and he is versatile enough to play from the slot and be in man. He is an athlete that is for sure and it sure does attribute to his range.

While his coverage is good, he is just brutal in other areas. He is slow at reacting and processing and gets beat deep at times. However, even more important is how dreadfully awful of a run defender he is. He takes terrible angles and even when he gets there, he simply cannot wrap up. Up to this point, I have studied about 110 defensive players, and I hate to say it, but he takes the worst angles of any of them and is probably the worst tackler of them too. It is tough to project him. He is small and might be hard pressed to play single-high, so I would say he is likely suited as nickel corner more than anywhere.

Round Grade: Early 4th

NFL Comparison: Corey Graham

WR Van Jefferson

I think Van Jefferson is one of the more underrated receivers in this upcoming class. He does not wow you with speed, but he is just a smart, solid football. He is a super polished WR who is uber aware of the field and makes a ton of sideline catches due to it. He has a diverse route tree and thus is one of the more polished route runners I have studied in this year’s receiver class. You just see how aware he is when he expertly does a scramble drill. He is pretty unbelievable in how easily he converts it and gets into DBs blind spots. He can play inside and outside and has showed the ability to make catches in traffic. His hands are like glue and that includes blocking. One of the most impressive WR blockers I have seen.

Despite this, I do not find him to be overly great. He is good, but he is so polished I really question how much upside he has. He will be a solid WR for a while, but I do not think he will improve all that much. He does not attack the point of catch on combat catches and since he does not get all that much separation due to his less than exceptional athleticism, that is an issue.

Round Grade: Early 3rd

NFL Comparison: Nate Washington

OT Martez Ivey

Well, Martez Ivey certainly is a behemoth and a gigantic offensive tackle. He has the length and size to be an NFL tackle, but he is going to be a big project. He has tremendous upside no doubt and that is why he has to be talked about in the early round discussion. He has the physical tools, and he is one of the best pulling tackles I have studied thus far. In addition to that, he is quick and will be able to stack quite effectively to the second level. It is indeed quite impressive, but the cons are quite extensive.

Simply put, his leverage and hands are two huge issues. His hands are like stone and are so slow. They just get beat so easily by competent pass rushers and his leverage does not help this. He is stiff and plays way too high. It makes him a very suspect pass protector as a whole. Since he is so slow, speed rushers have a field day with him. Jachai Polite dominated him at practice on video all the time. He is not physical enough with his hands and can be bull rushed straight back. He is just an incredibly raw pass blocker. He has all the physical tools, but the whole process, including footwork need to be fixed. His leverage issues can be attributed to him playing so high out of his stance. I have no clue why but he simply is so slow. Sure, he can reach the second level, but he hardly ever sustains those blocks. He is so incredibly raw that I honestly would not touch for the first three rounds.

Round Grade: Early 5th

NFL Comparison: Bobby Hart

College Upset Special:

No. 6 Notre Dame (-5) at No. 24 Virginia Tech 8 p.m., ABC

Calling the Hokies to upset the Golden Domers in Blacksburg, one of the best entrances in any sports venue.


Tell us who you have your eye on as a possible prospect for the Black and Gold and what games you are watching.

Go Steelers!