With NFL free agency less than a week away and the league having just announced this year’s compensatory picks, it feels like a good time to roll out my first mock draft of the season.
I tried to be as realistic as possible, picking players I think the Steelers might be interested in, as well as having prospects being picked at reasonable draft slots (Penei Sewell at #24 would be great, but that’s not going to happen). And, since draft trades are even harder to predict than draft picks, I went without them altogether.
Let’s get to the picks:
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
1st round, #24 overall
Christian Darrisaw is the ideal pick here, but realistically he’ll probably not be available when the Steelers pick. But the consolation prize at offensive tackle is still not a bad selection, with Texas’ Samuel Cosmi being the Steelers’ first round pick.
Cosmi is a very athletic prospect with solid size and strength. He’s still raw, but he has a lot of upside. To avoid repeating what I and others have already written about him, below I’ve added my profile on Cosmi from the BTSC Big Board.
Cosmi has a similar level of athleticism to Christian Darrisaw, but he isn’t quite as polished. I do think he plays a little more aggressively than Darrisaw, though, with great drive and consistently playing to the whistle. He can play a bit high and reaches on a lot of his blocks, but his mobility and athleticism cover up his flaws most of the time. Cosmi is very mobile, and watching him reach the second level is a lot of fun. He’s a mismatch against linebackers and he knows it, and there were some great pancakes on tape. Overall, the consensus that Cosmi is a good but still raw prospect is spot on. I think he’s polished enough to start at some point as a rookie, but he’ll need to clean up his technique errors and mental lapses if he wants to reach his Pro Bowl potential.
Cosmi’s flaws may prevent him from starting week 1, but ideally he’d compete with Chukwuma Okorafor in training camp for the left tackle spot, with plans of him becoming a full-time starter there by the end of the year. Cosmi could be an option at right tackle as well, but it seems as if the Steelers see Zach Banner as the starter there in 2021.
Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
2nd round, #55 overall
This pick may be a surprise, but in this scenario, top second round targets Landon Dickerson, Creed Humphrey, and Javonte Williams are off the board. Mike Hilton has left in free agency as well. And while offense seems to be the bigger need here, the Steelers like to pick players on both sides of the ball early on in the draft.
Molden has been profiled as a fringe first round talent by some, but his smaller size and average speed will likely concern some teams. Still, Molden is a scrappy, physical defensive back with great agility and ball skills. He’s an instinctual player who can make an impact when blitzing or in run support, and although he projects best in the slot at the NFL level, he can play some boundary corner and safety as well.
A good pro comp for Molden is Mike Hilton, and the Steelers would probably use the Washington product in a similar way. Some might want to see Cam Sutton as the immediate replacement for Hilton in the slot, but Sutton’s ability to play outside might be too valuable to lose, and Molden’s skillset is something the Steelers might have a hard time saying no to in the second round.
Quinn Meinerz, C/G, UW-Whitewater
3rd Round, #87 overall
The Steelers get their center of the future here in Meinerz, a small school standout whose draft stock has risen meteorically following a strong Senior Bowl. He doesn’t have great athleticism, but he has excellent strength and good size. He’s still a little raw, but overall has good technique and a real mean streak as a run blocker.
Steelers OL coach Adrian Klemm was in attendance at Meinerz’s Pro Day, so it seems as if the Steelers are interested in him as a prospect. Meinerz may not be ready to start right away, but center is a position the Steelers will likely address in free agency this year, so Meinerz may have time to sit behind a veteran until he’s ready.
Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State
4th round, #128 overall
With their first 4th-round pick the Steelers decide to address a position that is an underrated need for the team this year. With Bud Dupree moving on in free agency, the Steelers don’t have to worry about his replacement as Alex Highsmith looks more than capable to start at outside linebacker. But the team will need a third pass-rusher on their roster to supplement T.J. Watt and Highsmith, and Rashed fits the bill.
Rashed is a highly-athletic edge rusher who had an incredibly productive 2019 season that put him on the map. In 2020 his production really dropped and the raw nature of his game began to show, but the Oregon State product’s incredible upside should keep him in the mid-round conversation. If he can bulk up a bit and improve his technique he could be a fantastic pass-rusher, and his athleticism makes it so he could potentially be depth at inside linebacker as well.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
4th round, #140 overall
With their one and only compensatory pick the Steelers finally address the running back position. Stevenson is a big, powerful running back in the mold of Eddie Lacy, and some have even compared him to Jerome Bettis. But unlike Lacy, Stevenson hasn’t had any weight issues during his time at Oklahoma, and weighed in at the Senior Bowl nearly 20 pounds lighter than his listed weight of 246. Don’t let Stevenson’s size distract from his athletic ability though, as he’s very explosive and has NFL-caliber speed. Thanks to his size and strength Stevenson is a load to bring down once he gets going, and he has fairly low mileage and decent receiving abilities as well.
So why is a prospect as talented as Stevenson a projected fourth round pick? He’s had his share of off-field issues early in his college career, including some academic issues and one failed drug test. However, by most accounts Stevenson has good character, and if he can stay out of trouble he could be quite the steal in the middle rounds.
Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
6th round, #214 overall
Whether JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves in free agency or not, wide receiver isn’t much of a need for the Steelers. But, because it is the Steelers, there’s a high chance they’ll select a wide receiver at some point in this draft.
Marquez Stevenson is an athletic deep threat who would add a track-speed element to the Steelers offense. He’s one of the fastest players in this class, but his stock isn’t that high due to the lack of polish in his game, as well as his concerning injury history which includes a torn ACL, a broken collarbone, and ankle issues throughout his time at Houston. Still, a healthy, coached-up Stevenson would be a nightmare for opposing defenses, and his blazing speed would help open up the Steelers offense.
Sadarius Hutcherson, G/T, South Carolina
7th round, #244 overall
I thought about taking a linebacker here, but the Steelers have a fairly solid group at the position and offensive line is such a need I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take a third one in this draft. Hutcherson is a big, athletic offensive linemen with SEC experience. He’s still underdeveloped, especially in pass protection, but he is a strong run blocker with the upside to succeed in every aspect of his game.
Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State
7th round, #253 overall
With their final pick in the draft, I have the Steelers addressing the tight end position. With the retirement of Vance McDonald, the Steelers have a spot to fill on their depth chart, likely with a blocking tight end to offset Eric Ebron’s receiving-only skillset. Farrell is one of the best blockers in this year’s class of tight ends, and he plays with good strength, drive, and technique. He’s limited as a receiver with below-average speed and agility, but he has soft hands and can catch the ball through contact. He’ll be a solid second or third tight end on the Steelers’ roster.
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What are your thoughts on this draft? Feel free to leave your comments below, and stay tuned to Behind the Steel Curtain for more Steelers content as the draft gets closer.