For the first time in a long time, the Pittsburgh Steelers enter an NFL Draft without a glaring positional need. This isn’t to suggest the team doesn’t have many needs, but I wouldn’t say any would fall under the “glaring” category.
In fact, the Steelers enter the 2021 NFL Draft with the ability to select the best player available at a multitude of positions. Running back, offensive tackle, center, cornerback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and even wide receiver.
The Steelers could take any number of those positions, and then some, but who will be their prized draft pick? Who will the take in the first round? Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN just put out his third mock draft of this draft season, and everyone wants to see who Kiper has the Steelers taking in the first round.
Take a look at who he picked, and why:
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The Steelers have serious salary-cap issues, which means they have had some tough losses in free agency and haven’t added any players from other teams, just yet. They did retain wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, however, and they could still bring back longtime left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who is unsigned. I’d still address the offensive line here — tackle Matt Feiler left in free agency too, and center Maurkice Pouncey retired — and Jenkins is a tough pass-protector and mauler in the run game. I thought hard about Alabama center Landon Dickerson, who could be a Day 1 replacement for Pouncey.
Notable free-agent additions: None
Notable free-agent losses: OLB Bud Dupree, CB Mike Hilton, OT Matt Feiler
I’m sure there are many fans out there who don’t know much about Jenkins as a prospect, so it only seems right to drop in this NFL Draft Profile via The Draft Network:
Playing in 37 career games (35 starts) at Oklahoma State, Teven Jenkins experienced time at right guard, left tackle, and right tackle. With a bulk of his experience coming at right tackle, he blossomed during his final two seasons. Playing in the first eight games of the season, he elected to opt out after suffering what was reported as lower back issues. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound fifth-year senior offensive tackle is a top-heavy blocker that has experienced success in the team’s Air Raid offense. A quick setter that’s prone to take horizontal pass sets, he’s created a habit of establishing quick wins by striking his hands and controlling defenders. As a run blocker, he’s able to create considerable amounts of movement when able to gain momentum prior to engagement points. A well above average finisher, Jenkins is the type of offensive lineman that attempts to humiliate players in the opposite color jersey. The echo of the whistle doesn’t slow down his process and he continues on with his process until he wants to conclude. Jenkins’ athleticism and lack of overall range may create questions about his potential at offensive tackle and there will be some teams who grade him as a guard as a result. Jenkins will have a strong chance of being the first offensive lineman drafted from the program since Russell Okung (2010).
Ideal Role: Developmental offensive tackle that could eventually turn into a starter at tackle or guard.
Scheme Fit: Man/Gap/Power
With all of that said, what do you think about the pick? Would you be okay with the Steelers taking a versatile offensive lineman? Or should they target someone who is considered Day 1 ready, and not so much a project?
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 black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.