With the 2018 season all but over barring a Super Bowl between a team that should not be there and a team no one wanted to be there, attention is already starting to move towards the NFL draft. Mock draft boards are starting to emerge from some of the more well-known names in the field and although the most notable name in the business is now in charge of the Oakland Raiders, there are still plenty of other “expert” opinions on offer.
Each and every Wednesday for the next 13 weeks, we will bring you a selection of the latest mock draft projections for the Pittsburgh Steelers from around the NFL draft community. Expecting most of these offerings will be ultimately prove to be somewhat off the mark, they should at least unearth a number of players worthy of further evaluation.
Starting with a selection of 12 mock drafts, there is already a level of consensus among our experts, with all of them perhaps unsurprising predicting the Steelers will take either an inside linebacker, a cornerback or wide receiver.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan
“Bush has outstanding play speed and he fills a need for the Steelers’ defense.”
Bucky Brooks, NFL Network - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington
“He is a terrific player and I know some people say, “he hasn't played that long,” but when you've seen him on tape, he does everything that you look for. He’s physical, he has great ball skills and he can play with a variety of techniques. For a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers that are transitioning in the back end, he is the ideal selection at 20.”
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports - WR, A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
“The Steelers snag another receiver whose last name is Brown. A little awkwardly coincidental. Whatever. Anyway, Brown is a muscular, yards-after-the-catch specialist with deceptive long speed.”
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia
“Baker may not be the athlete that Greedy Williams or Byron Murphy is, but he put up better college numbers. He shows good long speed, smooth hips, and the ability to change direction. He was rarely targeted during his senior season in part because his mirroring technique was superb. The Steelers missed on 2016 first-rounder Artie Burns and desperately need to upgrade the secondary.”
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan
“A complete player for today’s NFL. He made the calls. He was the quarterback of this defense. He’s a great kid. His father was a first round pick coming out of Florida State. Think about with Devin Bush, we talk about it with Devin White, the two Devin’s. Fly to the ball, great range, sideline to sideline speed. Devin Bush for the Steelers, he just looks like a Steeler, he does everything the Steelers want. Committed, focused on the game of football, loves the game of football, passionate and productive and consistent and reliable. For me, if he’s there, he’s one of the better picks of Round 1.”
Dan Kadar SB Nation - LB, Devin White, LSU
“Because Ryan Shazier’s future is still unknown, the Steelers could turn to the draft to get a linebacker. White isn’t quite the player Roquan Smith was in last year’s draft, but he’s close. White excels at finding the ball carrier and making strong tackles.”
John Clayton, Washington Post - WR, Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
“It’s likely the Steelers could end up with two first-round picks this year as a result of trading away star receiver Antonio Brown. If that happens, they will be looking for defensive help at inside linebacker, edge rusher and cornerback. But a Brown trade would leave then in need of a wide receiver to pair with JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Harmon is the best available here.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report - LB, Tre Lamar, Clemon
“The middle of the defense needs work in Pittsburgh—especially if they’re going to be chasing Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson four times a season. Enter Tre Lamar, the heart and soul of the Clemson linebacker corps. Lamar will need to prove to scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine that he has the speed to handle sideline-to-sideline duty, but his tape is very impressive as he shows the instincts and football IQ to shut down offenses between the tackles. In a base 3-4 defense where he can stuff the run, get after the quarterback on interior blitzes and drop into zone coverage, Lamar looks like a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.”
Dane Brugler, The Athletic - LB, Devin White, LSU
“The Steelers need to add speed and violence to several positions on defense, including linebacker. White can be a frustrating prospect to study because he isn’t a very good take-on player and is unproven in coverage, but he brings an excess of speed and violence to the field and coaches will gladly take that. White is much more likely to go in this range than the top 10.”
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus - LB, Devin White, LSU
“The fit is excellent here as White adds much-needed speed to the middle of the Steelers defense. He took great strides last season, improving from a 2017 grade of 73.2 to a 90.0 overall in 2018.”
Nate Davis, USA Today - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington
“It seems like Pittsburgh is always struggling to solidify the corner position. Murphy has the blend of youth and talent that might finally provide a long-term solution.”
Luke Easterling, DraftWire - CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia
“While off-field stories about Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell have taken most of the headlines, the Steelers have plenty of other needs on their roster that must be addressed this offseason. None are more glaring than at corner, where Baker would give them a ball-hawk.
While Linebacker Devin White of LSU takes the early lead from our selection mock projections, it will be interesting to see how long that remains. It would not be a surprise to see him move higher up the boards as we get further into the process.
We will add more mock drafts to our weekly roundup as they appear and we encourage you to let us know who you think are the experts we should be highlighting over the next 13 weeks.