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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers go with an EDGE pass rusher in Round 1 — again

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have several team needs to address, but could they take a pass rusher, again?!

NCAA Football: Missouri at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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 again for another draft season, this mock draft is provided by The Draft Network. While the thought of the Steelers going with another outside linebacker/EDGE rusher might seem crazy, but it isn’t according to the latest mock draft.

Take a look at who they have the Steelers taking, and why:

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

On talent alone, Polite deserves to go much higher than this. However, there will be teams that question what kind of a three-down player he is or how well his body might hold up, and there has even been some whispers that he didn’t make as many friends as he should have in Gainesville among the football staff. But here’s the thing: at the end of the day, talent will win out. The Steelers need speed help off the edge badly. If they get the best of Polite, this would be a home run for talent and fit.

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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 Jachai Polite.

PROS: Jachai Polite illustrates flashes of brilliance as a speed rusher. Capable of releasing with suddenness from a two point stance and gaining large amounts of turf in steps two and three in order to gain leverage on the edge. Athletic ability translates beyond short area explosiveness and into lateral mobility and slipping blocks at the point of attack as well. Polite shows understanding of how and when to fold back inside against over-committed blockers and gain penetration into protection.

Polite possesses enough length to continue to develop his long arm ability and become a better speed to power rusher. Projecting through rough edges currently, Polite has the necessary physical tools to become a special pass rusher and impact player. There is enough functional strength present to stack up blockers at the point of attack and Polite is effective holding outside contain. Against the running game he can be counted on to execute his primary responsibility.

CONS: Jachai Polite currently has too many lulls between the splash plays and will need to focus on further bettering his consistency as a player. Effort and motor are terrific, although seemingly a half-step faster on money downs and when the stakes are highest. Furthermore, Polite would be well served to continue developing his immediate hand counters. Currently too reliant on his first step, Polite can create much more room to slash and penetrate with more proactive attacks with his hands.

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With all that said, what do you think about the pick? Are you okay with another OLB/EDGE 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!