The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t used to this. When the calendar turns from December to January, the black-and-gold are usually preparing for the playoffs.
Yet here we are...talking about the 2019 NFL Draft and mock drafts.
Depending on who you talk to, mock drafts can be both silly, and serious. For me, it is more about the listed needs, than any specific player. However, it does give a glimpse into some players the Steelers may have on their radar, by people who watch a heck of a lot more college football than I do.
As we rev up the Mock Draft Monday machine again for another draft season, this mock draft is provided by Dan Kadar and the fine folks here at SB Nation. While the thought of the Steelers going with another cornerback in the early rounds might seem crazy, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility according to the latest mock draft.
Take a look at who they have the Steelers taking, and why:
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Steelers would be overjoyed to see Murphy still available with the No. 20 pick. He’s a natural playmaker on the ball, and is willing to come up and make a tackle against the run.
If you are like me, you read the above and wonder what this player is actually like. Thankfully at the Draft Network they have several breakdowns of every NFL prospect. Here is what they said about Byron Murphy.
PROS: Silky smooth corner who looks to make plays. Has fluidity to fully hinge his hips and redirect, with good explosiveness in all directions. Change of direction ability while connected to larger wide receivers particularly impresses. Loves to play in deep third zone or in side-shuffle with downfield leverage to keep his eyes on the quarterback. Knows where all of the routes are around him and is always looking for an opportunity to jump and make a play, which leads to multiple INTs and PBUs but also missed assignments. Has great closing burst to attack the football in the air and can make catches away from his frame with good ball tracking.
Despite smallish frame, loves to come up and hit–will get low and put his crown in the ball-carriers gut; has caused multiple FFs and incompletions with willingness to drive and strike. Good recognition ability allows him to play so aggressively. Has good press technique, though is limited by frame. Very patient when soft-shoeing with excellent foot placement and fluidity. Can plant and explode to come back against curl and stop routes, though will occasionally take too many gather steps.
CONS: Small frame limits him a press corner and as a tackler. Can’t really create displacement in the press while remaining balanced; does well to attack catch point but may be limited by length. Bites ankles as a tackler in space despite quick feet, resorting to lunges unnecessarily. Not going to be a significant run-fill player, which casts some shadow over a potential transition to nickel that may be in his future.
Will go all out to make impact plays and leave his defense exposed. Attacks for PBUs that he has no chance of making and fails to wrap up with trail arm as a contingency plan, thereby allowing for YAC. Plays soft in his zones and doesn’t like to get connected to receivers in an attempt to lure QBs into risky throws, but often gives up unnecessary completions in this effort. Does not locate the football quickly down the field when turning his head, which exacerbates the length to catch point issue. May be relegated to nickel duties given diminutive stature, but has a profile to be an excellent cover man therein.
With all that said, what do you think about the pick? Are you okay with another CB as the team’s first round pick? Or are you someone who is looking at other areas of need? Let us know in the comment section below!