It is that time of year again. NFL Draft season is fast approaching, and with the Steelers currently out of the playoff picture now, it could come sooner than we would have liked. The Steelers, currently, would be picking 19th in the 2019 NFL draft, so we will go by those rankings, and take it for what it is, strictly saying.
The Steelers needs are defined as such:
Those are your six “main” needs if you will, others being more minor, like IOL and WR, probably will not be addressed very early, especially with the depth of guys being there this year. The Steelers thus will focus on defense, and the biggest thing they need is playmakers, so let us make it happen, how about it?
Round 1: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Maybe he won’t test out of the building, but after all the defensive back play the Steelers have seen this year, they should go after a guy who has the strongest fundamentals you could ever ask for, right? Well, if they indeed do want to go that route, Baker fits the mold about as good as anyone. And, here it is, Baker brings the aggressiveness that really only Sean Davis has in the secondary right now. I am here for that.
DeAndre Baker is a damn good CB too. I have him just outside my Top 5, but I don’t doubt that he could slip in there as my rankings evolve. He’s just so solid, sticky as hell, and straight up feisty. This dude is gonna be a good NFL CB. #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/DGTxVW4lgn— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 22, 2018
Why would Baker be so appealing, though? This guy has ball skills and the aggressiveness he has makes him a fantastic press corner. Those are two things Tomlin will know he needs next year, as both are incredibly lacking from this team’s CB corps this year. Baker can make plays on the ball and tracks it well, including the impressive stat of leading the NCAA in pass deflections this year. I am huge proponent of thus going out and grabbing him.
Many have tried, none in the past two years have succeeded. Receivers covered by 18 forget what touchdowns are. The best CB in the country is Deandre Baker and it isn’t close. pic.twitter.com/SzxLTNiWvl— blakejmorgan (@blakejmorgann) October 15, 2018
Baker’s mirroring could use work, as he can be overly aggressive with his feet and be susceptible to getting burnt, but he is so sticky and has the recovery technique down. Obviously, he is not an athletic specimen that the Steelers would usually go after, but I am honestly just fine with that due to how good he is.
Baker can play in the nickel or outside, and even more importantly, is a great run defender and tackler. That is one of the nicest things you can have in a “Steelers” CB type, and none fit it better than Baker, so I would certainly look out for the Steelers interest for him. This is a great fit and overall, just a fantastic player who can fill a hole.
Round 2: Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia
You want to pair Sean Davis with a guy who just about everything you would want in a safety? I give you Juan Thornhill, who has crazy good ball skills and processing ability. His instincts are a little slow still, but his speed and range is better than you would think. Wanna see how good his ball skills are? Check this out:
There are not 32 players better in this draft than Juan Thornhill. Some team is gonna get a very good player. Dude has out of this world ball skills. #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/eQmXuUVZgq— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 16, 2018
This is a pretty stupid good adjustment on the ball and it is all because he reads the QBs eyes incredibly well. Good processing, and the flip of the hips is so fluid. Thornhill will give you that fluidity that you want in a single-high, but he has the length to also play in the slot in man. He is not always great against bigger guys, but he can press them more than well enough to able to thrive in a Tampa 2, man coverage based system like Tomlin’s.
He really does excel in run defense, though. Thornhill tackles well and has amazing angles. He has the aggressiveness to play down in the box as well. The Tomlin to Virginia pipeline should be strong here, and I have no issue with that if Thornhill is the ultimate pick at safety, even after Edmunds was picked a year earlier.