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Steelers met with Clemson guard at Pro Day prior to COVID-19 pandemic

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The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly met with Clemson guard John Simpson at the team’s Pro Day before the coronavirus pandemic.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Clemson at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a need along their offensive line, and this remains true even after the team signed Stefen Wisniewski to a free agent contract just over a week ago. The offensive line is getting a little long in the tooth, so the team is likely to replenish the depth at several positions during the 2020 NFL Draft at the end of the month.

With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the sports world, NCAA schools were forced to cancel their pro day visits. With these cancellations, NFL teams were unable to get an extra look at particular prospects, meet with them and get an overall feel for what they could bring to the team if they were drafted.

But not all pro days were cancelled. It has already been reported how the Pittsburgh Steelers met with some players at pro days before the pandemic forced university’s hands to close. Recently, per Jon Ledyard, it was reported the Steelers met with Clemson guard John Simpson at Clemson’s pro day.

For those who don’t know much about Simpson, here is some information about him, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Broad, well-built snowplow of a guard with the traits and power to turn a crease into a full-fledged running lane. Teams looking to add physicality up front will covet Simpson, but keep in mind he was plenty effective with scoop blocks, pulls, second-level climbs and even screen blocking, which shows the big man can move. Tardiness coming out of his stance and issues changing direction in pass protection are concerns that may not be easily fixed and could lead to matchup-based inconsistencies. However, he plays with good technique and has the tools to become an early starter and a good NFL guard.

Strengths

  • Very big and very strong
  • Prototypical muscle mass and proportional frame for interior lineman
  • Core strength and body composure through contact stand out
  • Accelerates into first contact, creating heavy thud
  • Resets hands and hips to dig out of poorly leveraged positioning
  • Always has eyes on linebacker during work-up blocks
  • Transitions from first to second blocks with timing and surprising accuracy
  • Difficult to bull-rush
  • Unlocks hips and anchors down when challenged
  • Has length and pop in hands to stymie basic interior rush plans
  • Athletic enough to get into space on screen passes

Weaknesses

  • Usually one of the last ones out of his stance
  • Slow starts allow for head-starts from upfield three-techniques
  • Inconsistent bringing feet with him in base blocks
  • Plays with occasional lunging when forced to work on the move
  • Way too many holding and false start penalties
  • Inconsistent angles up to second level
  • Wide rush angles challenge his protection range
  • Slow to reignite feet for redirection against twists and counters

Simpson is projected to be a Day 2 draft pick, which makes you wonder if the Steelers would value Simpson enough to use their top pick, No. 49 in the 2nd round, or if they would prefer to target a more prolific athlete like a wide receiver, running back, edge rusher or defensive back.

What are your thoughts on Simpson? Is he just what the doctor ordered at guard? Could he actually start from Day 1, pushing Wisinewski to quality depth, or is considered more of a project pick?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft at the end of the month.