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Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Steelers stay at 24, fill a huge hole with first-round pick

The Pittsburgh Steelers get a huge need in the first round of Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest Mock Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Alabama at Texas A&M Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft is just over two months away, and this means mock drafts are heating up. NFL draftniks like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay are pounding their keyboards with every mock draft imaginable.

Can you blame them? NFL fans literally eat up whatever they say.

Whether you agree or disagree with their selections for your favorite team, the fact remains it is great for discussion and debate. To me, mock drafts are a lot like Power Rankings. They are someone’s own personal thoughts on where your team stands/what they might do in the draft.

With that said, Mel Kiper just released his latest mock draft, and this one included several huge trades along the way. Don’t worry, no trading happened with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, it is important to note some of the movement which took place at the top of Kiper’s latest prediction:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars — QB Trevor Lawrence
2. Atlanta Falcons (trade with NY Jets) — QB Zach Wilson
3. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) — WR DaVonta Smith
4. New York Jets (trade with ATL) — TE Kyle Pitts
5. Cincinnati Bengals — OT Penei Sewell
6. Philadelphia Eagles — WR Ja’Marr Chase
7. San Francisco 49ers (trade with DET) — QB Justin Fields
8. Carolina Panthers — QB Mac Jones
9. New England Patriots (trade with DEN) — QB Trey Lance
10. Dallas Cowboys — CB Patrick Surtain II

You read that correctly, with the trades Kiper has FIVE quarterbacks being selected in the Top 10, with two teams, the 49ers and Patriots, moving into the Top 10 to get their next signal caller.

So, what about the Steelers? What did they end up doing?

As I stated earlier, Kiper has the Steelers staying put at pick No. 24, but the pick just screamed positional need, and not best player available. Nonetheless, with several offensive tackles off the board, but still plenty of defensive talent remaining, Kiper has the Steelers filling the gaping hole at center with the Steelers taking Landon Dickerson with their first round selection.

See what he has to say about the pick:

No. 24 — Pittsburgh Steelers

Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

The Steelers have major cap issues and a long list of free agents that includes edge rusher Bud Dupree, wide receiver JuJu-Smith Schuster and tackles Alejandro Villanueva and Zach Banner, so their needs will be clearer once we get through free agency. But a center makes sense because of Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement — Dickerson could be an immediate replacement. I really like his game. The Florida State transfer injured his knee in the SEC title game and didn’t play in the College Football Playoff, but the Alabama coaches rave about him on and off the field. He can be the anchor the Steelers need.

The pick would fill the hole left by Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement, but you will always have those who wonder if the Steelers could have gotten a player like Dickerson, or similar to him, in the second, or even the third, round.

To get to know Dickerson a little better, here is his NFL Draft Profile from the Draft Network:

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.

The biggest issue with Dickerson has to be his durability. If the Steelers are going to make a play on Dickerson with their top overall pick, they need to ensure he is a player who can step in and play every game, missing little time. This isn’t to suggest Dickerson’s injuries weren’t just fluke injuries, but certainly a red flag as the Steelers do their homework on this particular prospect.

What do you think about the prediction of Dickerson wearing the black and gold? Do you think he could be a pick who starts from Day 1 for the Steelers? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.