This is a continuation of a series of article in which I have taken over Kevin Colbert’s role as GM for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As GM, it’s now my job to assemble the team for the 2017-2018 season. The first article in the series covered my signing of Steeler free agents prior to the NFL draft. The second article in the series covered signings of unrestricted free agents. The third article focussed on the first two days of the draft, which is rounds 1-3. The third day of the NFL draft features Rounds 4-7, so this article picks up there. It is early in the offseason, even before the NFL Combine, so take this with a grain of salt.
Disclaimer: I am absolutely not an NFL draft expert. This is intended to be fun and to get good discussion going.
Round 4 Pick #133
Conner Harris, 5-11 241 lbs., ILB, Lindenwood
“Who from where?” you ask. Well, if you like Dirty Red, you will love the all-time NCAA tackling leader, who has racked up 633 tackles. I could not stop watching tape featuring this kid’s ever-present motor. Harris is not a SPARQ freak -- he will be an instant contributor with ST and backup ILB roles. This is another one of my draft picks who is a voracious consumer of tape on other players. His nose for the ball always puts him in the mix to make plays.
- Tremendous leadership skills.
- Instant start/stop quickness.
- Is a three-down player.
- Straight-line attacker who is missing fluidity.
- Quicker than fast.
- Some wonder how he will hold up against elevated competition.
Round 5 Pick #174
Elijah McGuire, 5-11, 209 lbs., RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
A foot injury slowed McGuire’s 2016 campaign, but his senior season was still a productive one. His 4.9 yards per carry were way down from his career average of 6.1. McGuire has a nose for the endzone with 52 career TDs. Besides the TDs, his 11.5 yards-per-reception average over his career with 130 catches is impressive. In his rookie season, he will not be expected to contribute much except on ST and for giving Bell a breather.
- Strong burst through the hole.
- Solid ball security.
- Excellent pass catching skills.
- Drops his head, losing sight of his running lane.
- Does a poor job of going down on initial contact, therefore does a poor job of breaking tackles.
- Needs improvement in pass protection.
Round 5 #182
Jalen Robinette, 6-3, 220 lbs., WR, Air Force
“You’re seriously going to draft a guy who had 35 catches his senior season in the fifth round? Put down that Steel City Beer and sober up!” you yell, with curses following. Now hold on a second, let me explain what you’re not seeing with this lad. Air Force completed 68 passes this past season. That’s not a typo. His stat line of 35-959-6 leads to a 27.4 yards-per-catch average. Under a July policy change, the Department of Defense has waived the two-year stint of service previously required of athletes who wish to play professional sports. This means he will be able to join right away.
- Outstanding NFL size with gigantic hands.
- Unfazed by contact while catching the ball in traffic.
- Highpoints the ball with solid body control.
- Played in a simplified offense. May struggle in complicated schemes.
- Needs time to develop route running.
- Slow to get his head around to find the football.
Round 6 #213
Calvin Munson, 6-1, 245 lbs., OLB, San Diego State
Munson registered 297 total tackles -- 36.5 for loss -- 18 sacks and six interceptions in his final three season with the Aztec Warriors. We will ask him to provide deep linebacker depth with only occasional snaps on defense. He excelled on ST coverage early in college and will cut his teeth in the NFL there. This will give us the chance to decide if he will stay at OLB or move to ILB. (PFF has him listed as their fifth-best ILB). As Munson’s weaknesses outpace his strengths, they’re nuts.
- High-effort player.
- Good hand work.
- Disruptive in the run and pass game.
- Runs to spots, not always to the ball.
- Takes on blockers too fast instead of working around them.
- Stiff in coverage and lacks cover skills.
Round 7 #250
Jerry Ugokwe, 6-7, 318 lbs., OT, William and Mary
Ugokwe started 42 games over his four-year career; that culminated in the Tribe having the 12 fewest tackles for loss nationally. He reminds me of Alejandro Villanueva -- not just in his physique, but in his play style, too. I hope he can make the 53-man roster, but realistically he is headed for the practice squad. Random trivia: Ugokwe’s is father is the former Nigerian ambassador to Austria.
- Good initial quickness and balance coming out of his stance in pass protection.
- Long arms allow a nice first punch.
- Solid job of turning and sealing defenders in the run game.
- Susceptible to bull rushers.
- Too flat-footed at times.
- Consistently too high with hand placement.
Two aspects of the offseason have been covered, one more to go. In the remaining articles, I will continue my trek as the Steelers’ GM by covering the roster moves that will lead up to the final roster. What grade do you give me for day three draft picks and the draft as a whole?
In case you missed one of the previous articles, you can read them below: