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2021 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers take a chance on an edge rusher with their top pick

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers look to add another piece to the outside linebackers in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.

North Carolina v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL draft is now less than one month away. With free agency rolling on followed by the upcoming NFL draft, 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.

This week it continues to be difficult to find a mock draft which has the Steelers taking a player we have not already covered, therefore it takes looking at some interesting scenarios. In the latest mock draft by cbssports.com, they have the Steelers taking an edge rusher who would likely fit better in a 4-3 defense. 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, regardless of how terrible they may appear.

Check out the Steelers 24th pick:

24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Carlos Basham Jr. | EDGE | Wake Forest | SR |

Even though the draft process has been going on for a while, there may be players some fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Basham according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Wake Forest defensive end Carlos Basham Jr. takes his game to the next level after racking up splash play after splash play from 2018-2020. In 31 games across that span, Basham Jr. has 33.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. At the next level, Basham Jr. projects most favorably as a left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme that situationally gets chances to rush interior gaps. He’s a power style end that is strong at the point of attack, does well to contain, and features a sufficient pass-rushing skill set where his technique and effort leads to pressure on the quarterback. If a team is in search of a burst and bendy pass rusher, that’s not Basham’s game. He wins with power, technique, effort, and angles to get home. For Basham to reach his ceiling at the next level, developing his secondary pass rush moves, trimming weight, adding functional strength, and improving his block recognition skills on run plays will be important. If everything comes together, Basham can be a productive starter for a 4-3 defense.

Ideal Role: Left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme that gets chances to rush from the interior on long and late downs.

Scheme Fit: 4-3 front.

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 Basham with their first pick? Or do you feel the Steelers should look at one of the other edge rushers who could be available? Personally, this mock draft was terrible. They had inside linebacker Micah Parsons of Penn State dropping all the way to the 26th pick and yet having the Steelers not draft him at 24. Instead, the Steelers took an edge rusher who will likely be there in Round 2 when they pick at number 55. I’m sorry, but if Micah Parsons is available to the Steelers without having to trade up, they should be on the clock for about 0:04 seconds as it should be all the longer it takes to write down his name on the card. As for Basham, the Steelers have struggled with taking players who are a better fit for a 4-3 scheme. I don’t see them making that mistake in the first round anytime soon. It’s not that Basham would be a bad selection for the Steelers at all as some have him as an option in Round 2 and beyond.

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.