The third day of the NFL draft brought more Pittsburgh Steelers for Steeler Nation to cheer for. But with that, it serves up more players to serve as instant rivals to boo. This time around, I am going to enlist scouting report help from Andrew Wilbar (steelerfan11), Ryland B. and SNW (ItzJustNoah). These guys do a phenomenal job with prospects on the BTSC Big Board. Here’s who will oppose Pittsburgh as new members of the AFC North.
Round 2 Pick 45
Baltimore Ravens select EDGE David Ojabo - Michigan
Once considered a top ten prospect, Ojabo only dropped because of the achilles injury. The Ravens get a blue-chip prospect that could haunt black-and-gold dreams for years.
6‘-5”, 250 lbs
2021 stats: GP 13, T 35, TFL 12, S 11, INT 0, PD 3, FR 1, FF 5
Andrew Wilbar: Ojabo was not a key part of Michigan’s pass rush until 2021 when Ojabo emerged opposite Aidan Hutchinson with 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles from the beginning of the season through the Big Ten Championship Game. In my personal opinion, Ojabo has a higher ceiling than Hutchinson. He has better speed, better bend, and more explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. At 6’5”, 250 pounds, Ojabo has ideal length and size to handle the edge, and I would expect him to get closer to the neighborhood of 260 pounds before he plays his first NFL game. While I think he could succeed in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, his best fit is in a 3-4 where he can get out of his stance quickly and beat the tackle around the edge with his speed. Some fans worry that he was the beneficiary of Hutchinson’s greatness, but Ojabo was often lined up against the opposing team’s better tackle and still made a major impact. Michigan moved him around to make Hutchinson’s job easier, but he still produced against the tougher assignments, and that is something that will not go unnoticed by NFL teams. Unfortunately, Ojabo suffered a torn achilles during his pro-day workout, making his draft status much more murky. If he happens to drop to day two, however, he could be the steal of the draft.
Round 2 Pick 63
Cincinnati Bengals select CB Cam Taylor-Britt - Nebraska
The Bungles Super Bowl dreams were interrupted by the Rams’ Cooper Kupp rendering the Cincy fans to awakening in a pool of cold sweat. They are addressing their deficiencies.
6‘-0“, 197 lbs
2021 stats: GP 12, T 51, TFL 3, S 1, Int 1, PD 11
Andrew Wilbar: Talk about a guy who consistently got in passing lanes and broke up passes in 2021. Taylor-Britt, despite decent athleticism, is probably best suited as a zone corner, as his instincts and fluidity would give him the upper hand. If he wants to make it as a zone corner, however, he must take better tackling angles. At Nebraska, he struggled to bring down opposing receivers after the catch due to that issue, and it is not an issue that will simply subside in the NFL. He has good straight-line speed, but his start-and-stop quickness when mirroring a receiver in man coverage leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, I like Taylor-Britt’s chances of developing into a starter if put in the right situation. He just has several technical issues that developed into bad habits at the collegiate level. If he can break those habits, he will become a solid CB2.
Round 3 Pick 69
Cleveland Browns select CB Martin Emerson - Mississippi State
The Steelers WR stable is getting better and their North foes are bringing in the men to stop them. Emerson adds to the Browns secondary.
6‘-0“, 195 lbs
2021 stats: GP 12, T 49, TFL 3, S 0, Int 0, PD 3
Noah: Emerson has gone under the radar during the entire draft process. He’s a lengthy corner and he has great footwork. He flips his hips well and has good patience, so you won’t see him over pursue very often. He does a good job mirroring receivers in man coverage and has good discipline in zone. There are some big red flags though, especially when it comes to ball skills. While Emerson was a great cover corner during his time at Mississippi State, he only has 1 career interception, and his inability to track the ball shows. His long speed is good enough but he lacks good change of direction, which could potentially limit him in his ability to cover certain routes like quick outs and zigs. There’s a lot to like but there are also things that could steer a team away. He may not be a first round guy but he hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves.
Round 3 Pick 76
Baltimore Ravens select DL Travis Jones - Connecticut
This is the guy that I sincerely was hoping would end up in the Steel City eight picks later. The Ravens continue to get great on defense and Jones could bottle up Najee Harris.
6’-5”, 333 lbs
2021 Stats: GP 11, T 48, TFL 7.5, Sacks 4.5
Andrew Wilbar: Jones is one of the biggest small-school sleepers in this year’s draft. Based on how well he moves on tape, you would not believe that he is 330 pounds by just watching him. He plays with active hands, and he does a great job shedding blocks, even when double-teamed. He also displays excellent quickness out of his stance, getting upfield in a hurry and forcing the quarterback to escape the pocket. One of the more underrated parts of his game is his good hand placement. He consistently lays his hands on opposing linemen at a perfect pressure point, making it difficult for linemen to stay balanced and engage in a block. The main concern with him is that he has not been tested against major competition outside of a game here and there. If he has a strong Senior Bowl and combine performance, he could work his way into the top 50 picks.
Round 3 Pick 78
Cleveland Browns select DE Alex Wright - UAB
He’s big and bad, but is Mr. Wright going to be “Mr. RIght” in Cleveland?
6‘-7”, 270 lbs
2021 stats: GP 12, T 45, TFL 7.5, S 6, INT 0, PD 3, FR 0, FF 2
Noah: Level of competition is talked about a lot when it comes to these mid-major prospects and personally, I take it with a grain of salt. However, when a prospect is consistently struggling against mid-major schools, it is a little concerning. His quick feet and agility allow him to get into the backfield and disrupt plays at times but he isn’t consistent. His technique needs a lot of work and he just doesn’t have the explosion that you see from higher level prospects. He got bullied by opposing offensive linemen time and time again, once they got their hands on him it was over. Wright’s size looks appealing on paper but he needs to add muscle to his frame if he wants to compete at the NFL level. The traits are there but the lack of production and bad technique makes him a very risky pick.
Round 3 Pick 95
Cincinnati Bengals select DE Zachary Carter - Florida
The Bengals add another disruptive piece on an emerging defense.
6’-4”, 285 lbs
2021 Stats: GP 12,T 31,TFL 11.5, Sacks 7.5, PD 2, FF 1
NecksNation: Carter may not end up playing defensive tackle in the NFL, as his skillset may be better suited to the edge rusher position. The redshirt senior had his best season in 2021, which capped off a stellar three year run with the Gators. Carter’s greatest strength may be his versatility, and he could have a solid career as a professional solely for that reason, even if his play falters at the next level. He showed decent but unspectacular explosiveness off the line, but he has solid lateral quickness and has a powerful style of play that may translate well to the next level. Carter displays impressive length and is a serviceable run defender, although there is still plenty of room for improvement in that regard. In addition, he is a smart player and appears to play with a good amount of effort, both of which are traits that could help prolong his professional career. He projects as a late day 2/early day 3 pick with a decent floor who could eventually carve out a decent role in an NFL defense.
Round 3 Pick 99
Cleveland Browns select WR David Bell - Purdue
A big receiver with a penchant for combat catching, Bell gives the Browns a much-needed addition to a suspect WR corps.
6‘-2“, 205 lbs
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 93, Yds 1286, TD 6
Necksnation: Bell doesn’t possess the speed and athleticism that is becoming more and more common in today’s receivers. However, what he lacks in quickness he makes up for with physicality and contested catch ability. His production at Purdue was excellent, recording 2946 yards and 21 touchdowns in 29 games. Additionally, although he had the occasional concentration drop, he was generally one of the most sure handed receivers in the country, posting an outstanding 68% catch rate as a junior. That number would be good for a guy who primarily works underneath, but Bell runs routes over the entire field as an outside receiver. While Bell isn’t particularly agile, his routes are better than you’d expect for someone with his athletic profile, and his diverse route tree gives him some versatility. He does struggle to consistently gain separation, but luckily for him, his ability to make contested catches is his best trait. He does a fantastic job of high pointing the ball, and his impressive hands and ball skills make coming down with 50-50 balls look easy. He is a physical receiver who is willing to make tough catches over the middle, and although he isn’t a huge threat after the catch, he still produces a decent number of chunk plays by making difficult catches downfield. Bell’s stock has declined a bit over the last few months, which is largely due to his poor testing at the combine. His production and route tree make him seem like a fairly pro ready option, which is impressive for someone who won’t turn 21 until December, but his lack of athleticism may limit his upside. However, receivers like Keenan Allen have proven that you don’t need to be a speed burner to succeed in the NFL, and Bell could develop into a similar type of player at the next level.
What do you think of the players who are going to be new to the division? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers and the 2022 NFL Draft.