The Pittsburgh Steelers are exactly one month away from the NFL draft! Although the NFL free agency period has moved past the initial flurry, there are still moves to be trickling in even though the Steelers have already signed three outside free agents as well as made a trade. With the lack of player 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 offseason. After various losses and gains in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either running back or wide receiver with their first pick. Personally, I feel edge rusher and inside linebacker could be on top of the list. After the Steelers have made multiple moves to start the league year, they are in a great shape to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.
In the latest two-round mock draft by cbssports.com they have the Steelers addressing the offensive line before anything else. With the Steelers not drafting many offensive linemen in recent years with high draft picks, it is time to begin getting younger at the position. In this case, the Steelers look to add a player who played tackle in college but appears to be better fitted for guard in the NFL. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.
Check out the second-round pick:
49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Robert Hunt| OL | Louisiana | SR |
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 Hunt according to thedraftnetwork.com:
Functional Athleticism - He can be a little too eager in space and would be well served to trust his length a bit more and not chase — but some of the landmarks he hits are still pretty nuts on backside cutoff on LBs on the second level. He’s quick out his stance and moves fairly well despite not having the most fluid hips.
Football IQ - He’s a well seasoned starter but there’s still some room to grow, especially considering he’ll be kicking back inside to OG, where he played earlier in his career. Needs to make sure he’s staying aware to not drift upfield on extended passing plays chasing after contact.
Anchor Ability - Heavy anchor. He’s got a dense frame with lots of weight distribution below the waist and pairs it with significant core/lower body power to absorb power rushes. He’s not going to give up a lot of real estate unless you catch him leaning and can pull him off his spot first to uproot his fit.
Hand Technique - Some really nice flashes of punch power and compact hands to pack a wallop. Isn’t always consistent with his placement but he definitely offers the goods in this department — have seen him knock dudes over just with stun punch. Ability to yank defenders out of gaps is impressive.
Balance - Guilty of letting himself work too far over top of his toes, but that’s a byproduct of being tasked with working in space. Get him in tight quarters on gap run concepts or in the phone booth with a TE attached to the LOS and he’s methodical and shows necessary steps in close quarters to stay square and ready to deliver a blow.
Pass Sets - Figures to be better off inside, where he won’t be charged with protecting the perimeter. Like his snap out of his stance and figures to project well into OG reps. Added bonus of length allows him a large strike zone to eat up upfield charges against his quick sets and allow him to get his feet set quickly.
Flexibility - He does have the ability to roll through contact as a drive blocker — and boy does he ever unload on folks. But his lateral hinge and lower half mobility to play with a dynamic base to enable rapid or fluid mirror skills is only modest and he doesn’t have the leg reach in drive catch to take vertical sets as an OT at the next level.
Power at POA - Get out of his way in short yardage and tight spaces. Absolute bar room brawler who has terrific power through his frame and trusts his hands to jolt defenders and uproot them from the LOS. You could run behind him 100 times and get needed yardage on 95 of them. Love his fit as a RG in a gap/power run heavy offense.
Length - Has necessary length to warrant consideration at OT in an absolute pinch. But rather his extension skills inside enable ability to sustain blocks for longer and create first contact quicker than the average OG. Like his power and control of defenders at full extension as well, doesn’t needs to be belly to belly to impose will.
Competitive Toughness - This dude is nasty. He’s constantly escorting defenders out of the frame and playing through the echo of the end of the whistle. Likes to bury guys up front and will ensure he’s got a “kill” by riding guys all the way to the turf. Shows good hustle and willingness to pick up extra work in pass protection.
Best Trait - Power at POA
Worst Trait - Flexibility
Best Film - Georgia Southern (2019)
Worst Film - Appalachian State (2019)
Red Flags - 2019 groin INJ
Player Summary - Robert Hunt projects as an interior OL at the NFL level despite his experience playing at tackle at Louisiana. Hunt brings terrific power, tenacity and mobility when projected inside — and he’ll be much more protected from some of the foot speed and mobility issues that limited him at times as an offensive tackle. Hunt may need an incubation period to adjust to a role working on the interior at the NFL level but this is a player with starter potential and bruising power to set the tone up front.
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 Hunt 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? Personally, I believe there will be multiple options for best player available and I doubt Hunt will be on the top of the Steelers’ board. But if the Steelers really want him, I don’t think Hunt would be available for their next pick. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.