The Pittsburgh Steelers are exactly one month away from the NFL draft! Although the NFL free agency period has gone fairly dormant, there may still be 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 nfltraderumors.com they have the Steelers addressing the wide receiver before anything else. With the Steelers typically drafting a wide receiver every year, taking one in the second round would not be a huge surprise. 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 | Michael Pittman Jr | WR | USC | SR |
With pro days and player visits not on the table this year, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Pittman according to thedraftnetwork.com:
Route Tree - He’s not the most diverse as a route runner but he has shown physicality at the top of routes to bump and create separation on hard angles. His vertical stems are pretty crafty and he’s found a lot of success downfield. Gets through contact in press, into stems just fine.
Hands - Strong hands — really like what he brings at the catch point and how comfortable he is to extend his hands away from his body in order to greet the nose of the football. He’s got a large catch radius and hand strength to make plays on ball adjustments.
Contested Catch Ability - High point ability and above the rim ball skills are A+ qualities that he’ll bring to the table. If nothing else, his lack of separation skills have produced pretty solid work in traffic to shield the ball and get a hold of the ball and not be uprooted or allow defenders to beat him to the spot.
RAC Ability - Big, strong and not afraid to drop a shoulder on someone. Like his physical toughness and persistence to extend and stiff arm smaller defenders — he’s got some bully to him with the ball in his hands. Zero burst or acceleration skills tempers excitement, however.
Football IQ - Can continue to work on nuance to make life easier for himself as a route runner and further manipulate defender landmarks to help create more separation. He’s going to have to become a master route runner to hit his peak and become a starter at the next level.
Vertical Receiving Skills - Long speed isn’t going to scare anybody off but if he can stack defenders in press, look out because he’s got a good sense of tracking the ball and has shown capable to get over top of defenders in trail and shield them from working back to the ball.
Change of Direction Ability - There’s not a lot of redeeming qualities in his lateral quickness or start/stop ability. He’s pretty clean with his feet but due to stride length and high hips, there’s a lot of natural restrictions with his ability to gear down or snap off a route with suddenness.
Speed - Slow burn receiver who needs a runway to get himself up to a competitive speed. Even with a rolling 10-yards, he’s not going to pull away from defenders in the secondary unless he can free arm and stave off contact.
Competitive Toughness - Has learned to make the most of his physical profile, appreciate his persistence as a route runner through press, his willingness to take hits at the catch point, his effort as a blocker and his aggression with the football in his hands.
Blocking Ability - Long arms, strong hands and a persistent attitude go a long way. Like his press to get inside leverage before setting up and hitting the clamps on defenders in the secondary, he’s a size mismatch for just about all comers who will handle him in coverage.
Best Trait - Ball Skills
Worst Trait - Speed
Best Film - Utah (2019)
Worst Film - Notre Dame (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - Michael Pittman Jr projects to the NFL as a stereotypical ‘X’ receiver. With his size and ball skills, Pittman can provide an NFL team with a presence as a possession receiver. Separation is never going to be calling card and lack of consistency there may cause him to be more of a rotational receiver. But his high point ability, hands and body control will afford him plenty of opportunities to make plays in the RZ and, in the right system, push for high volume snaps.
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 Pittman 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, if the Steelers really like a receiver enough to take one in the second round I would be on board with their decision. Whether or not Pittman fits into what they are looking for remains to be seen. 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.