The 2021 NFL draft is just over months away. With free agency looming followed by the NFL draft in April, the Steelers will have a plethora of decisions and moves to make before making their first draft selection. Because the NFL combine will not be held, pro days are the best option to get player information. It will be interesting to see what limited information ends up being available in regards to draft prospects this year.
When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or running back with their first-round pick. Others feel tight end or linebacker could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position 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 mock draft by Sports Illustrated, they have the Steelers going interior offensive lineman with their first pick in order to try to fill the loss due to the retirement on Maurkice Pouncey. 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 Steelers 24th pick:
24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Landon Dickerson | IOL | Alabama | SR |
Being early in the draft process, there may be players some fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Dickerson according to thedraftnetwork.com:
Landon Dickerson is a well-traveled prospect that played at Florida State (2016-2018) and Alabama (2019-2020). Playing all five positions up front, he has gained experience at multiple spots. Settling in along the interior during the back half of his career, he came into his own while in Tuscaloosa. Dickerson is a stoutly built interior blocker that has a well-developed understanding of how to use his frame. Extremely strong at the point of attack, he has above average hand power, body strength, and awareness. Although a below-average athlete, he wins with acceleration out of his stance by latching on quickly and not allowing matchups to detach. At his best when asked to stay within a controlled environment that hardly ever exceeds the B gaps, he’s constantly looking for work on either side. Playing through the whistle is constant, as he has the control to steer and direct targets to desired locations. The biggest concern with Dickerson is durability. His redshirt junior season (2019) is the only year where he’s been able to finish a season healthy from start to finish. He’s sustained a laundry list of injuries: torn right ACL (Nov. 2016), ankle surgery (Oct. 2017), ankle injury (2018), ligament damage to left knee (Dec. 2020).
Ideal Role: Starting center or guard.
Scheme Fit: Man/Gap/Power Scheme.
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 Dickerson with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? Personally, I love the selection of this player but not in this spot. This is the highest Dickerson has gone in any major mock draft I have seen this offseason. While this would look to be a fantastic match for the Steelers in Round 2, this particular mock draft had both Dickerson and Creed Humphrey going in Round 1 (Humphrey at pick 31). If the scenario of this mock were to hold true and a lot of the offensive tackles (and even the two running backs many Steelers fans want) being off the board, I could see the Steelers pulling the trigger at pick 24 to make sure they got somebody they want. Ultimately, I would prefer the Steelers taking Dickerson as their first choice if they were trading back.
As always, 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.