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Steelers 2021 NFL Draft and College Gameday Open Thread

Lets take a look at Week 14 of the college football season.

BYU v Houston Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Welcome to Week 14 of the college football season, Steelers nation! Whether you like offense, defense, big schools, or small schools, there will be a game that will pique your interest this week. While this week’s featured game is BYU going up against Coastal Carolina, that does not mean there are not any good Power Five matchups on the slate. We will touch on some of those games as well.

Coastal Carolina’s original opponent for this game was going to be Liberty, but because of a coronavirus outbreak among the team, Liberty was forced to cancel. This was great news for BYU, however. The College Football Playoff Committee has knocked them in their rankings the past two weeks because of a poor strength of schedule. If they can come out with a convincing win against the Chanticleers today, they could get back into the college football playoff discussion.

Let’s begin with the Cougars. One of the biggest draft risers during the college football season is quarterback Zach Wilson, who has gone from a day three flier to a first round pick. He is a big part of BYU’s success this season, as he has now thrown for over 2,700 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. It’s also worth mentioning that he is completing nearly 75% of his passes. While Wilson may not have the arm strength of a Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, he has a solid arm and throws with good anticipation. His ability to escape from the pocket and make plays with his feet is one of his biggest strengths, and he can deliver the ball with great accuracy from a slew of different arm angles. What NFL scouts will like about him is that he is a gamer that plays every down as if it may be his last. He seems to be well respected in the locker room as well.

Mock drafts have Wilson anywhere from the end of the first round to the top 10. It is unclear if he will be available when the Steelers are up to pick, but if Kevin Colbert decides that he wants to draft Ben Roethlisberger’s successor this year, Wilson would be the most likely and most realistic pick. As for the rest of the BYU offense, Brady Christenson is a three year starter at left tackle who mirrors well in pass protection. He’s held his own in the run game, but he isn’t a mauler. If he can show some improvement against ultra-athletic pass rushers, he will not fall past the third round.

For Coastal Carolina, one name that is rising on draft boards is defensive end Tarron Jackson. His first step is incredibly impressive, but he does lack bend. That is one area that he will need to improve upon if he wants to have success at the next level. However, it has not impacted his ability to produce at the college level, as he has now racked up 8.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles on the season. His 12.5 tackles for loss match what he had all of last season. Outside of the Senior Bowl, this is going to be his biggest opportunity to impress NFL scouts, but if he performs well between now and then, expect his name to be called on night two of the draft.

Coastal Carolina’s other defensive prospect is C.J. Brewer. He is undersized, but he has accumulated 10 sacks over the past two seasons from the interior. On offense, running back C.J. Marable was a 1,000 yard rusher in 2019 and could be taken at some point on day three of the draft.

Highlighted Game: No. 13 BYU at No. 18 Coastal Carolina — 5:30 on ESPNU

Highlighted Prospects

Zach Wilson — No. 1 QB BYU 6’3” 210lbs

Brady Christensen — No. 67 OT BYU 6’6” / 300lbs

Khyiris Tonga — No. 95 IDL BYU 6’4” 322lbs

Tarron Jackson — No. 9 EDGE Coastal Carolina 6’2” 260lbs

Other Notable Games

West Virginia at No. 9 Iowa State — 3:30 on ESPN

Linebacker Tony Fields has been one of my favorite prospects to watch this season. Nobody is talking about him, but this guy flies to the ball and makes big-time plays each and every week. For Iowa State, Charlie Kolar is a decent blocker and a matchup nightmare. He’ll be a second round pick if he runs a good 40. Quarterback Brock Purdy lacks elite arm strength, but he has good poise in the pocket and good instincts. He could carve out a nice career as a backup in the NFL.

No. 12 Indiana at No. 16 Wisconsin — 3:30 on ABC

Nobody can seem to find an answer for receiver Ty Fryfogle, as he has shredded just about every good Big Ten cornerback. However, quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. tore his ACL, so he will have to find a way to produce with backup Jack Tuttle at the helm. Wisconsin’s tight end Jake Ferguson is a decent blocker who has become more involved in the passing game. He could sneak into the back end of day two with a strong finish to his 2020 campaign.

No. 1 Alabama at LSU — 8:00 on CBS

This game doesn’t have the glamour that it generally does, but it is still one of the best rivalries in college football. LSU has fallen off the map after their National Championship a year ago, but one bright spot has been former North Dakota State linebacker Jabril Cox. He is an athletic freak who could sneak into round one with a good performance against a quality team such as Alabama. He will have his hands full trying to stop Najee Harris running behind that offensive line. Expect both Landon Dickerson and Alex Leatherwood to be tied to the Steelers in mock drafts this spring.

So what games have your interest today? Is there a player in action today that Steelers fans need to take note of? Join the conversation in the comment section below and stay awhile as we watch the future of the NFL and the Steelers in another great week of college football action!

Enjoy the football and go Steelers!!!