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2020 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers look to add an athletic edge rusher with their top pick

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According to nfl.com the Steelers should take the risk on a large yet quick pass rusher who struggled with injuries in years past

Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season has now been over for almost two months, so we’ve had plenty of 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 occurs this week. 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 off-season. 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 three-round mock draft by nfl.com, they have the Steelers addressing the outside linebacker position before anything else. While the future of Bud Dupree will weigh heavily on the Steelers thought process in the draft, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the pick:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Terrell Lewis| EDGE | ALABAMA | 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 Lewis according to thedraftnetwork.com:

First Step Explosiveness - He’s got a pretty sudden coil and when he’s shooting up field he’ll challenge OTs early into reps. His long strides are paired with good power to drive out of his stance and against heavier footed OTs he’ll have the chance to take the edge with speed — something he didn’t do often on film at the college level.

Hand Technique/Length - Two gap and stacking skills are pretty solid but he really wins with his length. He’s got great extension and disruptiveness in his wingspan to put off bodies and bench himself clear of traffic. Sudden disengage to transition into pursuit of the football — should excel in setting the edge.

Pass Rush Counters - Work in progress here. Too many reps are taken with head up angles and his counters are too slow to kick into action. Flashed an inside spin but his bread and butter is am arm over/chop move to slip the first punch and gain ground at first contact. Gives up on the corner too easily and loses leverage.

Flexibility - High hipped and lean frame but he’s got more slipperiness and fluidity than you’d expect. He’s definitely got some tilt to his frame and torso is able to rotate open and get skinny through the chest and shoulders as a presses up the field or ducks/dips into an interior gap on stunts. Surprising mobility through the frame.

Run Defending - Handled a few too many times against blocking TEs to ignore but he’s also had reps where he’s really effective to press, extend and lock out before locating the football. Would like to see a bit more effort on the back side of run plays to work into the action as a rally defender, too.

Competitive Toughness - Has loafed behind outside runs going the other way — a minor gripe but something to note. His functional strength is pretty solid and his reps losing the POA tend to come more from poor placement or eager eyes to peek and lose his run fit. Needs more power rushes in his toolbox.

Tackling - Tackle radius is notable and gives him a big influence as a tackler while still engaged with blockers or when looking to keep the edge when isolated in space. His wingspan is notable and if he’s closing down from the edge he’s nearly impossible to get outside of unless he’s late to step down and fill into the mesh point.

Lateral Mobility - Fairly effective here. He moves well for his size and his base is a lot more dynamic than you’d expect so he can drive on an outside angle with a bit of juice and work into the play. His shallow slips inside on stunts are effective and fluid, he’s not clunky looking to dip the inside shoulder and run through gaps.

Stand Up Ability - Even though he brings athletic ability to the position, there’s not a lot of instinct here that should warrant reps, at least early on. He’s got some developmental upside in zone drops but by and large he’s not going to be effective manning up on TEs or sinking to hook/curl any time soon.

Football IQ - Understandably raw given lack of starts due to injury. He’s got ample potential but needs to build out his pass rush counters to provide more versatility and more quickness in recruiting them based on pass sets. Doesn’t show a great deal of feel for navigating the pocket or crowded messes to find the ball, either.

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Best Trait - Length

Worst Trait - Durability

Best Film - Tennessee (2019)

Worst Film - Auburn (2019)

Red Flags - 2017 elbow INJ, 2018 ACL INJ

Player Summary - Terrell Lewis is an enticing ball of clay that NFL defensive coordinators will be eager to get their hands on. Injuries have bogged down Lewis’ development and kept him off the field but his blend of first step quickness, length and flashes of penetration provide promise of what can be with more development and reps. Lewis will be a somewhat high risk investment given his injury history and raw skills — best off working into reps slowly while his hand usage and counters are developed.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Lewis with their first pick, albeit in the second round? Or do you feel he will not be available when the Steelers pick in the 49th position? Are the injuries which caused him to miss most of his first two season a concern, or is his health last year enough of a bounce back? Does his decision not to play in Alabama’s bowl game affect your perception in any way? 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.