The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with every other NFL team, has been busy at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine not just with watching athletes perform, but also meeting with specific athletes.
Every NFL team will interview a ton of players, some formal and some informal, to get a feel for if they would be a right fit for the organization when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around in April.
The Steelers recently turned their focus to the offensive line, and had two reported interviews with some of the prospects they might have their eye on. First was Colton McKivitz of West Virginia University.
This per Alan Saunders:
As a kid in the Ohio Valley, Colton McKivitz grew up a #Steelers fan.— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) February 26, 2020
After a formal interview with the team this week, the #WVU lineman is thinking about the possibilty of playing for them.
"Growing up as a fan, it’d be great.”https://t.co/AjGVZ2SjAm pic.twitter.com/9nVB1xNOwd
Also interviewing with the Steelers, although an informal meeting, was LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry, who said he models his game around the Pouncey Brothers.
This per Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry said he has patterned his game after the Pouncey brothers. He had an informal meeting with the Steelers. pic.twitter.com/FCcsIHjT5v— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) February 26, 2020
To get you a little more comfortable with these two prospects, here is a quick synopsis of what they bring to the table as the Combine concludes and the draft approaches:
For the past 15 years, LSU has given the No. 18 jersey to players that displayed a selfless attitude and played like a Tiger. That number was worn by quarterback Matt Mauck, who led the 2003 LSU squad to its first national title in 45 years. Cushenberry was the first offensive lineman to earn the coveted number in 2019, sharing the honor with defender K’Lavon Chaisson, though NCAA rules required Cushenberry to stick with his 79 jersey (he displayed an 18 patch on his jersey). He wore that badge of honor well as a junior, garnering first-team All-SEC notice and leading the Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line for all 15 games of the Bayou Bengals’ national title run. He started all 13 games at center as a sophomore in 2018, one season after contributing as a reserve lineman and on special teams in 11 contests his redshirt freshman campaign. The Carville, Louisiana, native did not get a scholarship offer from LSU until the last minute, when he spurned Mississippi State.
Starting-caliber center with big hands, long arms and good core strength to match power on power when needed. Cushenberry isn’t rigid or stiff, but he does have some limitations with lateral quickness, which show up against athletic edge rushers and with potential run game limitations in space. He’s extremely difficult to bull-rush and is rarely beaten to the punch in his pass sets. LSU was frequently tasked with five-man protections in its passing scheme, which put Cushenberry on more of an island than he will see as a pro, so scouts should account for that. He’s a do-your-job prospect with the strength to handle an odd-front nose and could be a long-time starter.
Pros: Colton brings good size and length to the Tackle position. In the run game he has very good natural aggression and temperament. He is strong at the point of attack. Doesn’t generate a ton of vertical movement. Has instances of losing the leverage battle in the run game. However, he does a good job of holding the point. In the passing game, he shows some length on the perimeter. Has played some RT and LT in college. As a result, his skill set suggests that although not ideal at the next level, he can play LT in a pinch. He is ideally suited at RT.
Cons: He is a RT only that lacks good lateral agility. He doesn’t bend exceptionally well and his balance is just sufficient. As a result, speed rushers who can bend and get under his punch will be a huge problem for him at the next level. Just an average athlete at best who needs to be technically sound to maximize the tools he has. Has some issues with twists, games and hard inside rushers, particularly when he over sets.
What do you think of these prospects? Should they be targets for the black-and-gold, or are the Steelers just doing their diligence with the process? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!