The 2021 NFL Draft is just days away, and every year the expert draft panel of Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. do a fun 3-round mock draft to give the fans something to consider before the selection process starts.
This year, like every year, the two experts rotated picks throughout the three rounds. In this year’s mock, the Pittsburgh Steelers had two picks made by McShay, and one from Kiper, McShay being Rounds 1 and 3, with Kiper picking in Round 2.
Unlike in previous years, where the two experts tried to predict what the teams would do, they decided to play General Manager for all 32 teams. So, they aren’t picking who they think Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert will pick, instead, they are picking who they would pick based on their thoughts on team needs.
Here is a basic run down of the rules they followed throughout the three round process:
The rules for the draft:
Three full rounds, 105 total picks and all about whom Kiper and McShay would take at each pick.
Kiper and McShay alternated each pick, with Kiper starting at No. 1 and taking the odd numbers and McShay taking the evens.
No deals that even hint at “I won’t take Player X if you don’t take Player Y.” No cheating.
We also included our ESPN NFL Draft Day Predictor’s chances for each first-round pick to be available in that slot. It is a model that forecasts the range of draft outcomes for NFL prospects based on mock drafts, team needs and Scouts Inc. grades to give us availability and selection likelihood.
With that said, let’s take a look at who McShay and Kiper having going to Pittsburgh in the first three rounds:
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
McShay’s pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Pittsburgh’s 3.6 yards per carry ranked last in the NFL in 2020, and it just lost its most productive rusher in James Conner. Mel might not like first-round running backs, but this makes too much sense.
Harris’ chances of being available here: 77.3%
55. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kiper’s pick: Alex Leatherwood, OT/G, Alabama
I don’t think Leatherwood is a top-50 player, but he’s a fit for Pittsburgh, which needs both a guard and tackle. If McShay is giving the Steelers a running back in Round 1, I need to get them a player to block.
87. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kiper’s pick: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Wade got some first-round buzz after the 2019 season, but he had a poor 2020 season, when he moved out wide and covered the opposing team’s best receiver. He’s better out of the slot, and if he can get back to his 2019 form, he could be a steal.
Looking at the haul of Harris, Leatherwood and Wade, would you be happy with those picks if they came to fruition next week? Let us know 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 continue on through NFL Free Agency, and prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.