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2020 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers look to add a tight end with their top pick

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With a club option on one of the Steelers 2019 tight ends and another a free agaent, they could only be returning one total reception at the position for 2020

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Missouri at Georgia

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season has now been over for a couple weeks, so it’s time to get into the off-season mindset. Although free agency comes first on the calendar before the 2020 NFL Draft, the NFL Combine will occur before either of them. With that said, it might be nice to have an idea as to some of the names associated with the Steelers in the second round. The Steelers’ first round pick has already been named an All-Pro player as Minkah Fitzpatrick can be thought of as the Steelers’ choice. So let’s look at prospects who may be available at the 49th selection and see what they could bring the the Steelers in 2020.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Hare are some of the projected positions of need for the Steelers in no particular order:

Wide Receiver
Running Back
Offensive Line
EDGE Rusher
Tight End

There could be other positions added to the list, but when it comes to what position the team will target with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest second-round mock draft by Draftsite.com, they had the Steelers addressing their need at tight end with their first pick in the second round. With the future of both Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett up in the air, the Steelers only have one other tight end who saw the field in 2019 in rookie Zach Gentry. With Gentry only having one catch on the season, tight end could become the Steelers’ greatest position of need.

Check out the pick:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Albert Okwuegbunam | TE | Missouri | JR |

As many players are declaring their eligibility and preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine, there are plenty of players most fans have not seen play in 2019. Since this is the case, here is a breakdown of Okwuegbunam according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Route Tree - He’s most effective sliding up the seam or leaking out across defensive flow in the middle of the field. His route stems aren’t especially dynamic and he’s not going to stress off coverage with threat to get vertical. Can improve ability to avoid contact and get free into space.

Hands - Soft hands and shows very good concentration and ball skills. He’s tracked some over his shoulder that would eat a lot of guys up but shows body control at point of reception and and ensure he’s safety tucking away the football.

Versatility - Wouldn’t endorse an in-line role for him any time in the near future, won a lot of his reps as a flex target working from the slot or on the perimeter in the red zone. That’s where he’s best afforded the chance to win and anything else will need to come with much development.

Contested Catch Ability - Size is one of his best qualities. He’ll snatch balls off the top of defenders’ fingertips if you ask him to play above the rim and shows good toughness to absorb body shots. Length, reach, soft hands and catch radius combine to mitigate his separation issues.

RAC Ability - Strength is a plus and he’s a tough chore to chop down one on one in the open field. His agility and speed aren’t anything of note and he’s not going to defeat would be tacklers with finesse. May rumble through some tackles but don’t expect a lot of RAC.

Power at POA - Much more of a receiving target than a blocker. He’s come along over the three years he played but still wouldn’t classify it as a strength of his game. Legs are stale when he’s engaged with defenders and doesn’t create a lot of push. Stalemate blocker.

Competitive Toughness - A lot of his power and strength is robbed by his high frame, he’s not easily able to work under the pads of defenders due to to some tightness in the hips and as a result his push and pop is really tempered and ineffective.

Flexibility - Tight through the core, but surprisingly mobile through the limps and shows a really good level of body control to stay balanced as he’s adjusting to the ball as a receiver. Lateral mobility and dynamic base are low end qualities and he’s not going to win with spring or agility.

Balance - When he’s playing as a blocker he can be too prone to getting out over the top of his toes and allowing his weight to creep forward. Leverage issues are the main culprit and it is going to be difficult for him to find effective remedies as a blocker.

Football IQ - Shown some improvement but there’s still quite a ways to go before he’s ready for the NFL as an every down player. He’s got to get more aware of defeating collisions as both a blocker and as a receiver on the route stems to help keep his routes on time with offense.

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Best Trait - Hands

Worst Trait - Explosiveness

Best Film - Memphis (2018)

Worst Film - Georgia (2018)

Red Flags - None

Summary - Albert Okwuegbunam projects as a secondary tight end at the NFL level or as a developmental starter, depending on how much time investment is given to further developing his skills as a blocker. Okwuegbunam is best running the seam or leak routes over the middle, but his lack of dynamic athleticism makes it difficult for him to separate against man coverage unless he illustrates more savvy to bump defenders off his hip. Valuable red zone reps on account of size and hands.

For all you draft junkies out there, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Okwuegbunam with their first pick, albeit in the second round? Or should the team target another position/player at that spot? Let us know in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.