The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season has now been over for 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 has concluded last week. Heading into a lot of player’s pro days, 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. Here are some of the projected positions of need for the Steelers in no particular order:
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 two-round mock draft by fantasypros.com they have the Steelers addressing the tight end position before anything else. Additionally, they have their choice at the position with no other TE’s coming off the board prior to pick number 49. Whether or not the Steelers excercise the club option on Vance McDonald, adding depth at the position at some point in the draft is highly likely. With the Steelers having a number of needs heading into free agency, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.
Check out the second-round pick:
49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Cole Kmet| TE | Notre Dame | JR |
Now that the NFL Scouting Combine has concluded, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Kmet according to thedraftnetwork.com:
Route Tree - Really clean at the top of his stick routes to flip himself back to the LOS. Pretty sufficient rolling through breaks to create some separation and offers enough nuance to bring separation on hard angled routes despite lack of juice. There’s been a lot of success working over the MOF on drags and vertically up the seam.
Hands - Hands catcher with good hand-eye coordination. Has shown soft hands on hot throws to secure the catch and good hand strength to protect the ball as he’s tucking it away. Like his catch radius and is comfortable on throws that don’t hit him right on the numbers.
Versatility - Will project well to an in-line role thanks to his frame and he’s got upside to improve upon his blocking skills to serve as an every down player. As of now, he’s more receiver than anything and will need some touching up on finer points in blocking. Considerable value left to be uncovered.
Contested Catch Ability - Big frame and notable extension skills provide him opportunities to suck in throws with defenders draped on his back — and he’s done it successfully in both over the middle and up the seam targets. Big frame will be difficult to knock loose from the ball by defenders driving in on the target from off coverage.
RAC Ability - Not super creative here but you’re getting some good contact balance and ability to reset his feet if defenders don’t wrap him up. There’s not any super exciting burst and he’s not going to break pursuit angles in the open field. Should generally take what is available but not offer much added value here.
Power at POA - Loses a lot of his natural power due to failing to roll hips through contact and punch power. There’s plenty of upside here but his ability to establish fits isn’t great and he’ll typically get busted leaning out over top of his toes trying to create movement. Needs to stay over hips more and find more consistent placement on punches.
Competitive Toughness - Appreciate the effort he gives in all phases of the position. Willing blocker in both the run game and in pass protection but needs to find more firm anchor and recruitment of strength. Second effort plays often pop up to recover as a blocker and peel back to help spring teammates.
Flexibility - Didn’t expect as much smoothness at the top of his routes — rotational mobility throughout his frame is pretty clean and as a result he makes body adjustments as a receiver look easy. No issues with extending and maximizing his frame to reach for throws when tested.
Balance - Too many plays end with lost footing on account of his base breaking down as a blocker. Needs less lean at the POA. There’s some good adjustments as YAC player through, if you try to cut him low and only get a leg, he’s shown ability to get both feet established and continue up field.
Football IQ - Little experience as a blocker, which actually provides exciting potential as far as what he can be down the road. Receiving skills are more developed but he’ll still need to work on more nuance working through contact to create clean releases through contact when attached to formations.
Best Trait - Hands
Worst Trait - Balance
Best Film - Georgia (2019)
Worst Film - Michigan (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - Cole Kmet surprised with is declaration after initially committing to return for 2020. Kmet is a smooth athlete and, although not the most explosive player, displays a significant size advantage in the middle of the field. Kmet will need to continue to improve upon his blocking and balance at the point of attack but has the frame and functional mobility/strength to be a plus blocker with more consistency on this front. Should be a starter in a traditional TE role with some time to develop.
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 Kmet with their first pick, albeit in the second round? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? 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.