The NFL Draft is fast approaching and is all the rage. Fans see drafts posted every day from the BTSC armchair GMs to BTSC draftniks to industry “experts” who get paid some serious cabbage to share their knowledge. The NFL Draft can be summed up in a quote from Peter King last year, “There’s a gulf between the first player on the vast majority of NFL boards—Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett—and the second player on those boards. And there is no consensus on who that second player is. That’s why this mock draft will probably be like every other one in the mediasphere before Thursday night: wrong.”
On BTSC Mel Kiper and Todd McShay get their voices heard, but what about the rest of the “experts” out there? Their voices left out in the cold. What makes these guys so miserable that they are silenced on BTSC? Do they not contribute enough to the Jeff Hartman retirement fund? OK, enough teasing the great work that Jeff does around here. I just figured it would be a bit fun to showcase some of the other Pittsburgh Steeler mocks out there by other “experts”.
I asked in a fanpost for suggested sites and received some great suggestion and some are used below.
The Huddle: Forrest Long 4/4
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St
The Ryan Shazier injury has left the Steelers with an major hole to fill at LB.
NDT Scouting: Jonah Tuls 4/5
Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest
Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates has been one of the pre-draft process’ biggest risers. He is arguably the best centerfielder in this draft with his range, instincts and ball skills. While the Steelers signed Morgan Burnett as a stopgap replacement for Mike Mitchell, Bates has all the tools to be Pittsburgh’s long-term solution at free safety.
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Having used Free Agency to patch the holes in their roster, the Steelers have latitude to look at a wide swath of talent to identify elite athletes that fit their team. Edge Rushers Okoronkwo and Hubbard are a consideration, as is the Safety, Harrison, from Alabama, but the best talent available might be on offense. TE Gesicki, RB Michel, and WRs Sutton and Moore highlight the pool of skill players on the board here. Since a WR will likely replace the rangy Martavis Bryant, Sutton at 6’3 gets the nod over Moore.
Sutton projects as a slightly bigger and more explosive version of 2017 pick JuJu Smith-Schuster. He racked up 2331 yards and 22TDs in the last two seasons for the Mustangs. A former Safety, Sutton plays the game with physicality, doesn’t shy away from contact, and is a very effective blocker. A quick glance at his huge MockDraftable web shows that an athlete with excellent strength, explosion, and change-of-direction skills. Sutton doesn’t have an elite top gear but the one-time SMU basketballer uses his body effectively to make contested catches. As expected from a player with only a few years at receiver, he isn’t a polished route runner with an extensive route tree. While Sutton’s 4.11 sec short shuttle demonstrates his fluid athleticism, he still needs to learn how to apply those physical gifts to create space on the field. With Martavis Bryant on the last year of his contract, Sutton will have that time to develop while contributing situationally and on special teams.
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
I’ve had the Steelers taking Lamar Jackson in my previous updates, but with Ben Roethlisberger saying that he wants to play for three more years, it makes sense for the front office to look elsewhere.
Pittsburgh obviously needs to replace Ryan Shazier, who won’t play in 2018. Rashaan Evans’ stock has slipped of late, but he could still be chosen in the opening round.
Rotoworld: Josh Norris 3/30
Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Justin Reid is receiving plenty of interest from mid- to late-first round teams. He’s super athletic, a trend for multiple first and second round picks for the Steelers in recent years.
Athlon Sports: Bryan Fischer 3/21
Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
It’s no secret that the Steelers will be looking to upgrade the secondary this offseason after that early playoff exit and Harrison fits the mold of what the team will look for at safety. While he can roam the back end well, it’s his ability to provide run support and enforce the middle of the field that the team will really enjoy in the tough AFC North.
Pro Football Focus: Steve Palazzolo 4/3
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
One of the most unique body types in the draft, Edmunds is an oversized linebacker at 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, but he has traditional linebacker skills. He can play all three downs in the middle of the Pittsburgh defense, adding range in coverage and an exceptional lateral movement in the run game. If Edmunds can clean up parts of his game, including a penchant to take on the wrong side of blocks, he could become a steal as an every-down linebacker.
For the last two I decided to go out and find a couple that are off the beaten path with positions that are not generally seen as a need. Rather these positions would be more luxury for 2018.
FantasyPros: Mike Tagliere 4/9
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Do you think the Steelers are going to be a contender as long as Ben Roethlisberger is the starter? I do, though we don’t know exactly how long that will be. Because of that, you have to think – how many opportunities will they have to draft a franchise quarterback without trading up? Landing someone with the potential of Rudolph at No. 28 is huge and I don’t expect the Steelers to pass on him. If they do, I’d look for them to draft a linebacker, whether it be inside or outside, as both are needs. Safety is another possibility after releasing Mike Mitchell this offseason.
Fansided: Sayre Bedinger 4/10
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Steelers need to bring in a new quarterback of their defense with Ryan Shazier out for 2018 and who knows how much longer after that.
The great thing about Jefferson that could endear him to the Steelers is his ability to stay on the field all three downs. He is extremely athletic, and can stick with backs and tight ends in coverage.
Last season, he finished with 110 tackles and 10 for loss, and has racked up 10.5 sacks in the past two years.
This guy can make plays all over the field, and the Steelers need that with Shazier’s future in question.
CBS Sportsline: R.J. White 4/12
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU.
If the Steelers don’t get Le’Veon Bell signed to a long-term deal soon, it’s possible they pivot to selecting Guice, a player in whom they’ve shown plenty of interest in the run up to the draft. It would be fascinating to see if the Steelers could turn around and trade Bell after selecting Guice; could they get the Eagles to send over a Jordan Hicks or Mychal Kendricks plus a pick for the talented back? Could you even begin to imagine Bell on that offense?
SBNation: James Brady, Adam Stites, Harry Lyles Jr., and Sarah Hardy 4/13
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander is the kind of player who could fit in immediately with the Steelers. They need secondary help and Alexander is an instinctive player, which is a quality the Steelers look for on defense.
The diversity regarding who Pittsburgh might actually draft is not surprising. Unlike most other teams, the Black-and-Gold do not have a glaring hole that needs immediately filled by a rookie. Most view the 2018 first rounder as a luxury pick, or someone who could possibly push one of the incumbent starters for playing time. Could some of them be drafted to provide flexibility in sub packages during their rookie campaigns? All draftniks and “experts” are in guess mode until that card hits the stage in Dallas in just a few short weeks.