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2020 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. predicts the Steelers will take Jalen Hurst in latest mock draft

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It might not be a fan favorite selection, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper thinks the Steelers go QB with their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have team needs just like every other NFL team, but most fans would suggest the quarterback position wouldn’t be among their Top 5 team needs. Even with Ben Roethlisberger entering the waning years of his career, and Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges showing very little in 2019, the majority of fans would suggest there are other team needs to address before quarterback.

Winning now, and not necessarily preparing for the future is the underlying theme for most of the Steelers’ global fan base. Adding a playmaking wide receiver, running back, edge rusher or even an offensive lineman would better help the team win in 2020 and 2021. Whereas, most would consider a quarterback to be a frivolous pick.

Nonetheless, ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr. isn’t interested in how the fan base feels regarding drafting a quarterback. Why? Because he has the Steelers taking former Alabama/Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with their top pick in the second round in his latest 2-round mock draft.

See what he says about his pick:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

I was asked last week about the possibility of Hurts going in the first round, and I said that he’s likely going on Day 2. Well, Hurts is a hot name right now, and I don’t think he gets out of the second round. Coaches and scouts love Hurts’ intangibles, and he improved his accuracy in his season under Lincoln Riley. He fits in Pittsburgh, where neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges showed much filling in for Ben Roethlisberger, 38, last season.

Unlike a lot of prospects in the upcoming draft, Hurts playing for Nick Saban at Alabama, and then transferring to Oklahoma for his final college season, means most fans know a little about Hurts.

But it is worth taking a look at his NFL Draft Profile to see what his overview/strengths and weaknesses are:

Overview

Like Tim Tebow, Hurts is a winning dual-threat quarterback known for his strength, toughness and character. Hurts is a more accurate passer and better runner than Tebow but is inconsistent as a decision-maker and tends to break the pocket when throws are there to be made. His deep-ball touch and intermediate accuracy improved this year so teams may see him as a developmental talent who will keep getting better in the right scheme. He’ll struggle to beat NFL defenses from the pocket, but his ability to grind out yards on the ground and make off-schedule plays should make him a solid backup with upward mobility.

Strengths

  • Finished with 38-4 record as a starter
  • Tremendous leadership qualities
  • Extremely tough and durable
  • Shows poise to make plays late in games
  • Has experience in a variety of schemes
  • Able to step and drive with adequate velocity
  • Uses athletic ability and strength to elude pocket pressure
  • Play extender who can make big plays on the move
  • Good accuracy on intermediate passes
  • Capable as rollout passer
  • Talented, powerful runner from direct snap and RPO
  • Leg drive to move piles and fall forward behind his pads

Weaknesses

  • Has issues sustaining rhythm as passer with so many off-schedule throws
  • Inconsistent patience allowing routes to develop
  • Slow recognition of early throw opportunities
  • Leaves slants and crossers behind targets
  • Misses checkdowns and opts for harder throws
  • Deep arm dip into elongated release
  • Forced speedsters at OU and Alabama to slow for deep throws
  • Needs to get better at trusting his pocket
  • Quick to drop his eyes when pressure mounts
  • More likely to void pocket than climb, scan and throw from it

Would you be all-in on the Steelers spending their top pick on a quarterback? Even if it meant he could be the long-term answer in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.