The Pittsburgh Steelers are not stocked with draft capital in 2020 due to the Devin Bush trade up executed in the 2019 NFL Draft and sending a 2020 1st round draft pick to Miami for Minkah Fitzpatrick during the 2019-2020 season. Although the Steelers expect a third-round compensatory for the departure of Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers will likely still only have one Top-100 selection.
In this mock draft, I will try to slot the Steelers a compensatory selection while predicting how I think the Steelers will use all of their selections.
Let’s get to it.
Disclaimer: I am entering this with the belief/prediction that the Steelers franchise tag Bud Dupree and Javon Hargrave signs elsewhere in free agency.
Round 2, Pick 49: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
I think it’s possible Raegor slips to the Steelers in Round 2 for a few reasons. Although Raegor is explosive and fast on tape, his 40-time did not express this loudly. With such a deep wide receiver class and other wide receivers, such as Denzel Mims, on the rise, it may push the TCU product down a bit, falling into the Steelers’ lap. We saw this occur last year with A.J. Brown, who was slotted as a first rounder, fall to the Titans with the 51st pick.
Raegor can take the top off of defenses quickly and must be accounted for. His speed, body control and explosiveness are attractive traits and aside from his slightly underwhelming 40-time (4.47), Raegor had a very good combine. With dual-threats in JuJu Smith-Scuster and Diontae Johnson, it will be extremely difficult to keep a lid on all of this talent. James Washington will still be in the mix, but he has not emerged, nor has he convinced me he has a future with the Steelers past his contract expiring in 2021. In 2019, we saw practice squad players logging meaningful snaps due to the lack of depth and injuries suffered.
The Steelers have met with Raegor at the NFL Combine.
Round 3, Pick 104 (Projected Compensatory Slot): Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
Anae will provide outside linebacker depth along with being tasked to be Bud Dupree’s successor. Anthony Chickillo is predicted to be released and Ola Adeniyi needs to prove he can stay healthy. Anae has been excellent for the Utes, racking up 13 sacks in 2019 and 30 over the last four seasons. The former Ute wreaked havoc at the Senior Bowl, racking up 3 sacks and 5 pressures. The NFL Combine was good to Anae who put up favorable numbers across the board compared to others in his group.
Round 4, Pick 114: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
The Steelers tight end situation is one where it is completely up in the air on what will happen. Will Vance McDonald be cut or traded? Will Nick Vannett be re-signed after spending a fifth round pick on him? Can Zach Gentry prove to have any impact? Will the Steelers sign a tight end in free agency regardless of these answers? Right now, even if McDonald is on the 2020 roster, selecting a tight end would be a heads-up move. McDonald has a tough time staying healthy and there is no depth at the position as we stand in March. The Steelers met with the Missouri product at the NFL Combine, where he put up a 4.49 40-yard dash. Okwuegbunam was slotted as a potential first round pick last year, but opted to go back to school. His highs are quite high but his lows have evaluators questioning his stock. Okwuegbunam is a move-tight end who will need coaching-up as a blocker and his tenacity may come into question at times. Collecting more talent for the offense is one of the off-season tasks and the former tiger provides much needed athleticism and scoring opportunity.
Round 4, Pick 125: Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
The Steelers will need an interior offensive linemen with Ramon Foster likely released and BJ Finney an impending free agent. Even if one of the aforementioned are kept, the Steelers will need depth at both guard spots as well as a backup center. Bredeson has the extensive experience to play just about anywhere, but should be focused on the interior. The Michigan product has the potential to blossom into a solid starter at the NFL level.
Round 6, Pick 178: Khalil Davis, IDL, Nebraska
Javon Hargrave is expected to test free agency and ultimately sign elsewhere. Davis racked up 18.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks total in the past two seasons. A true Hargrave replacement who ran a 4.75 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Davis’ frame may come into question, but he and Hargrave both are coming into the league at the same exact height and weight.
Round 7, Pick 209: L’Jarius Sneed, S, Louisiana Tech
The Steelers need safety depth in the worst way and Sneed has played in both the box, as a single-high and also as a slot cornerback. The Louisiana Tech product just exploded at the NFL Combine, running a 4.3 40-yard dash, a 41” vertical and a 131” broad jump. The Steelers could use a safety with such versatility, great ball skills and who can also provide excellent special teams support.
Priority Free Agents:
Rico Dowdle, RB, South Carolina
Shyheim Carter, S/LB, Alabama
Khaleke Hudson, LB, Michigan
Ben Victor, WR, Ohio State
Charlie Taumoepeau, TE, Portland State
Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia