The Pittsburgh Steelers have gotten worse during this offseason. They have lost Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton on defense, and James Conner, Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey, and Matt Feiler on offense. They believe in Cameron Sutton to replace one of the two cornerbacks, and Alex Highsmith can fill in for Dupree just as he did last season, but they still need depth at edge. Zach Banner and Kevin Dotson can fill in for Villanueva and Feiler, even if it isn’t an ideal situation. The void left by Pouncey was filled by the signing of B.J. Finney, who you do not want starting for your team. They have drafted running backs on day three the past couple of years, and signed Kalen Ballage, but none of their three currently rostered running backs are starting caliber. They have a lot of needs to fill and could go a number of directions at pick 24, leaving their day two plans up in the air.
Eric Stokes, Georgia, 6’0″, 194lbs, 9.37 RAS
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse, 6’2″, 205lbs, 9.69 RAS
Elijah Molden, Washington, 5’9″, 192lbs, 4.66 RAS
Paulson Adebo, Stanford, 6’1″, 198lbs, 9.55 RAS
Aaron Robinson, UCF, 5’11”, 186lbs, 8.38 RAS
Tyson Campbell, Georgia, 6’1″, 193lbs, 7.53 RAS
The Steelers have an aging outside corner in Joe Haden and lost Mike Hilton in free agency. The current competition for outside cornerback involves Justin Layne, who has been a disappointment, and their nickel corner Cameron Sutton. In either case, you would prefer to add a corner to play whichever role Sutton does not. You can look for nickel or outside corners. Stokes and Melifonwu are elite athletes best suited for zone coverage. The same applies to Paulson Adebo and Tyson Campbell, but they showed more inconsistency in their performance throughout their career. Elijah Molden did not test well, but has good film as a nickel corner, but doesn’t have any versatility to play on the outside. Aaron Robinson will most likely be a nickel as well, but tested much better. The dream scenario would be to draft someone with inside-out versatility, but everyone that has that and is a starting caliber player does not exist in this draft class. So, who they select will most likely depend on their own internal evaluation of Sutton and his ability to play on the outside. My personal selection would be Eric Stokes if he were available at their pick in the second round.
Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State, 6’5″, 301lbs, 9.28 RAS
Samuel Cosmi, Texas, 6’5″, 314lbs, 9.99 RAS
Alex Leatherwood, Alabama, 6’5″, 312lbs, 9.68 RAS
Walker Little, Stanford, 6’7″, 313lbs, 8.9 RAS
Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa, 6’8″, 311lbs, 10 RAS
Jackson Carman, Clemson, 6’4″, 317lbs
While the Steelers offensive tackles are not awful, they are by no means good. They could very easily upgrade either side. While they could pick someone in round two, the most likely scenario given their other, greater, needs, would be for them to pick someone in round three or perhaps even early on day three. Radunz, Cosmi, and Leatherwood are all fantastic athletes. Cosmi and Radunz could both use added lower body mass and strength, but are good players and would start right away. While I think Leatherwood is best suited for guard, Pittsburgh is one of the teams that could use him at tackle. Even though they currently have two very good guards, the position versatility would still be beneficial to help get the best group of five linemen on the field in the case of an injury, or if they decide to let one of their guards go for financial reasons in the future. The third round is where Steelers’ fans will begin to look at who is available. Walker Little and Spencer Brown are both tall, athletic tackles who could use further development. At times, Little looked dominant and was even thought of as a potential first round pick early in his college career. He struggled with inconsistency and also had an injury that took away most of his 2019 season and he opted out of 2020. Jackson Carman is another player who many believe would be best suited at guard. He needs development but also has the physical tools to play tackle while offering positional versatility. In my opinion, if he is available for them in the third, they should try to select Spencer Brown from Northern Iowa.
Landon Dickerson, Alabama, 6’5″, 333lbs
Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, 6’4″, 302lbs, 10 RAS
Josh Myers, Ohio State, 6’5″, 310lbs
Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater, 6’2″, 320lbs, 9.98 RAS
Kendrick Green, Illinois, 6’1″, 305lbs, 9.24 RAS
The Steelers are in desperate need of a center. They do not have many good options on the team for the position after Pouncey’s retirement. They could go with one of Landon Dickerson or Creed Humphrey in either the first or the second round. Dickerson is a people mover up front who could play guard if asked. He has an injury history, and is currently coming off of a major injury, which is concerning, but he will almost certainly be back for week one. Creed Humphrey is a freak athlete at center, who performed well of multiple seasons. Humphrey’s background in wrestling greatly helps him. He is a left handed center, which some teams will care about, but it will not affect his performance in the league. In the third round, Josh Myers is a another big center who is a multi-year starter at a top tier program. Meinerz and Green are both much smaller centers but are athletic freaks. If it were my decision, I would take Dickerson or Humphrey in round two. I would probably even consider taking one of them in round one, especially Dickerson if the medicals check out with him.
Trey Sermon, Ohio State, 6’0″, 215lbs, 9.66 RAS
Michael Carter, North Carolina, 5’7″, 201lbs, 6.23 RAS
Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma, 5’11”, 231lbs, 4.02 RAS
Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis, 5’8″, 201lbs, 5.7 RAS
The Steelers running game was bad. With James Connor now in Arizona, they will look to find his replacement, and hopefully an upgrade. They have spent day three picks on running backs the past couple of years, to now avail. Many reports are suggesting that they have serious interest in running back Najee Harris out of Alabama at their pick at 24 overall. However, if they go a different direction round one, they will still want to get a running back on day two. The top three running backs should all go by 40. That leaves RB4 as the point of discussion, and no one seems to agree on who RB4 is. My picks is Trey Sermon, who I believe would be a good fit for the Steelers. He came on late in his first season at Ohio State after transferring from Oklahoma. He was very productive in their last few games before getting injured early on in the National Championship game. Michael Carter is another name to watch. As the second of the two North Carolina running backs, Carter does not necessarily get the attention that he is worthy of. A player most likely suited for a committee, he would be a good pick to play with Benny Snell if that is the direction they would like to go. In round three, they could go in a variety of ways. I believe they would like Rhamondre Stevenson from Oklahoma. A former JUCO product, he has very little in terms of production against high-caliber opponents, but he runs with good power. He could go anywhere from round three to round six and it would not shock me, but my belief is that the Steelers would be one of the teams willing to take him earlier. Another player they could look at it Kenneth Gainwell, out of Memphis, who is someone who many believe is RB4, an opinion that I do not share. If the Steelers for whatever reason don’t select Harris in the first round, I would prefer Sermon in the second, or perhaps even try to get Stevenson in the fourth.
Joe Tryon, Washington, 6’5″, 259lbs, 9.29 RAS
Joseph Ossai, Texas, 6’3″, 256lbs, 9.49 RAS
Jayson Oweh, Penn State, 6’4″, 257lbs, 9.92 RAS
Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State, 6’2″, 251lbs, 8.31 RAS
Quincy Roche, Miami (FL), 6’2″, 245lbs, 6.4 RAS
Jordan Smith, UAB, 6’5″, 264lbs, 2.96 RAS
With the loss of Bud Dupree in free agency, the Steelers may look to add more edge rusher depth. They already have an elite edge in T.J. Watt, and Alex Highsmith did very well filling in during Dupree’s absence post-injury. With the number of needs at starting positions, I find it unlikely that the Steelers would attack edge any earlier than the third round unless there is a massive fall by one of the players they consider to be at the top of this class. Pittsburgh has had much success recently drafting this position, but still need to add depth. Whoever they draft can expect one-on-one rushes, and sometimes to even be unblocked. Dupree during his time in Pittsburgh benefited greatly from this. With a tremendous defensive line and T.J. Watt on the other side, you can expect good returns early from their selection. Joe Tryon, Joseph Ossai, and Jayson Oweh are all absolute freak athletes. All three have the versatility to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, but are best attacking from wider angles. All three could go anywhere from late first to late second, and if they really want one they may need to trade up a bit in the second round to get them. Quincy Roche is the most refined of the three third round targets. He is very small and would not fit as a 4-3 defensive end. His technique helps minimize any issues with his lack of athleticism. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. has the athleticism but lacks the developed technique. He would be a good fit as a developmental prospect who can spell Highsmith or Watt at the start of his career. Jordan Smith is the biggest project of the three. His athletic testing numbers are concerning, but he showed flashed at a lower level on film. He has an off-field incident in the past in which he was suspended at Florida before transferring. He needs to develop a lot, but could become a very complete player. Given the other needs that the Steelers have, the best plan would most likely to draft Rashed or Roche if available in the third, or pick someone up early on day three.