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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers add much needed athleticism at LB

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the playoff hunt, but we take a look at some potential targets for them in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the thick of a hunt for a third consecutive AFC North crown, and a solidified spot in the AFC Playoffs. But with NCAA football entering their elaborate, and lengthy, bowl season, it is never too early to start talking about the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

Yes, Mock Draft season is upon us, and while mock drafts are nothing more than lofty projections for teams, the analysis of diagnosing team needs can be a valuable one.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have some glaring needs on their football team, and most reside on the defensive side of the football. Below is an early ranking of the Steelers’ top three needs which could, and probably should, be addressed in the upcoming draft:

1. Cornerback
2. Inside Linebacker
3. EDGE Rusher

While there certainly are other team needs, including running back, most would agree the team should have a very defensive oriented draft class while looking at their current roster. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has the Steelers targeting a linebacker in Round 1.

Take a look at the pick, and what Kadar has to say about it:

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

With Ryan Shazier’s football future still unknown, it’s clear the Steelers need to add athleticism at linebacker. Wilson isn’t a freaky athlete like Shazier, but he moves around well and is a three-down linebacker.

If you are like me, and don’t follow college football closely, you aren’t familiar with many of these prospects. I utilize the mock draft process to learn more about prospects, and in this case Jaylon Ferguson.

Here is a quick synopsis of Wilson as a player, thanks to The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard:

PROS: Shows good form to bring fight to blockers and utilize his hands effectively. Processing is still a work-in-progress, but did get better toward the end of the season. Aggressive with a great motor. Brings the fight to the line of scrimmage, won’t back down in the box. Range and instincts to be effective in coverage. Created turnovers with good reactions to the quarterback and strong awareness of routes developing around him. Athletic ability to have a high ceiling if he develops. When he sees it, he’s quick to the trigger and explosive to close. Range as a run defender was on full display late against Georgia. Rose to the occasion in national title game and was one of the best players on the field.

CONS: Angles of attack when pursuing perimeter work can be suspect. Often over-pursues tackles and gets maneuvered around in space. Needs to dial it down a notch at times and show better form as tackler. Never going to be great at getting off blocks. At times, swallowed up by size. Still growing into the position from a mental perspective. Listed 6-0, 230, but that weight might be generous.

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It is at this point where Steelers fans can debate the prediction, but also the team needs moving forward. Let us know what you think of the selection, as well as the areas of need, in the comment section below!