The NFL Draft has almost arrived. Here at Steel City Blitz, I do multiple mock drafts per offseason. Here is a 7-round Steelers mock draft for your enjoyment. There was no simulator used for this exercise and this is my second to last mock draft of the season. Go to the comment section to exclaim your opinions.
Round 1, Pick 28: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
This pick goes against the grain with some aspects of Steelers history. The Steelers haven’t selected a player from Alabama since 1999 and Evans’ athletic numbers are not on par with what the Steelers usually look for. The Steelers need at linebacker is obvious and Evans has the tape to overlook some of his poor testing numbers. His football IQ is off the charts and he is a very good football player. Evans has shown he can cover well, rush the passer, and tackle well in space. In this exercise he gets to the Steelers, and they take him.
It is assumed that Evans was present at dinner with Mike Tomlin after his Pro Day and the Steelers met with Evans at the NFL Combine.
Previous selection: Safety Justin Reid
Round 2, Pick 60: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
As I said on the Steel City Blitz Podcast, I believe the Steelers will take a wide receiver in the first three rounds and we discussed the possibility of Kirk being available at pick 60. In this case, he was, and the Steelers have found a very good returner along with a productive slot receiver.
Kirk was brought in for a pre-draft visit and a Steelers scout was present at his Pro Day.
Previous selection: Linebacker Malik Jefferson
Round 3, Pick 92: Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
Projected as a strong safety, but can play the center field role if asked to.A true competitor. Perfect for the Steelers’ system; will play the run like a linebacker and be tasked with shutting down tight ends like a safety. Decently high ceiling, not a low floor; at best, a productive starting safety, at worst, a special teams demon who can step in and taking meaningful snaps if needed. Would be an excellent addition to the secondary.
White was speculated to have visited Pittsburgh for a local pre-draft visit.
Previous selection: EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Round 5, Pick 148: Kendrick Norton, NT, Miami U (FL)
This is a guy I really like and is exactly what the Steelers need up front. A space eater who can demand double teams and help linebackers shoot gaps freely. Norton shows some short area quickness and strength at the point of attack and is perfect player for new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar to coach up.
Karl Dunbar was present at Miami Pro Day and led defensive line drills and Norton was included.
Previous selection: WR Allen Lazard
Round 5, Pick 165: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Ballage has been my guy for a few years now so this may be a bias selection, but it fits what the Steelers are looking for. As a running back out of the backfield, split out wide as a receiver, or as a return specialist, Ballage can be a true weapon for the Steelers. His numbers dropped in college due to his playstyle not suiting the offensive scheme. Ballage is very athletic and is one of the best pass catchers out of this running back class. He is a violent runner who hates being tackled and exerts 110% effort every run. This is good value for a player who can contribute early, in many ways and may possibly be the starting running back in 2019 if the Steelers don’t come to a long term deal with Le’Veon Bell.
Running back coach James Saxon was present for Arizona State’s Pro Day.
Previous selection: same
Round 7, Pick 220: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
Iyiegbuniwe had some injury issues earlier in his football days, but has since then put together some productive seasons. A two time captain, the former hilltopper is an athletic player who has some special teams background and that’s where he starts off his career in Pittsburgh.
Iyiegbuniwe was brought in for a pre-draft visit.
Previous pick: Nose Tackle Foley Fatukaski
Round 7, Pick 246: Heath Harding, CB, Miami (OH)
Harding is an intriguing prospect who can bring some of the same heat that Mike Hilton currently does. The Steelers seem to be interested in bringing another slot cornerback into the fold and Harding can be just that. An excellent, aggressive tackler who has ball skills. Was barely challenged last year because he was so well known. Special teams guy and bottom of the roster depth.
Previous pick: Guard Wyatt Teller