The NFL Combine is now over and mock drafts will now start to flood the internet. Whether it is a team-specific mock draft, a full 32-team mock draft, or a 7-round mock, they’re a very fun exercise to read. Here at Steel City Blitz, I do multiple mock drafts per offseason. Here is a 7-round Steelers mock draft for your enjoyment. I’ve decided to use FanSpeak as a guide, difficult setting and Matt Miller’s Draft Board. Go to the comment section to exclaim your opinions. This is a pre-free agency mock draft and my guess is that it will change moving forward.
Round 1, Pick 28: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
This is a popular pick and I hate going with the usual consensus but I’ve been on the Reid at 28 train for a while. The Stanford product is highly intelligent and harbors a massive football IQ. Reid was the signal caller for the Trees and his communication skills will be highly sought after with communication being a huge issue for the Steelers the past couple of years. Reid performed very well at the NFL Combine, in which the Steelers made an effort to have a formal interview with him. Reid played everywhere on the Stanford defense: cornerback, slot cornerback, and both safety spots. He possesses a combination of speed, athleticism, football IQ, ball skills and football character. The Steelers need a player like Reid on the backend of the defense. Some concerns on Reid are the lack of playing time at free safety, man coverage skills, and giving up big plays.
Round 2, Pick 60: Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas
Jefferson had a very good combine that wasn’t talked about enough. I believe Jefferson’s best play is ahead of him. He is an athletic player who can run sideline to sideline, stop the run, and drop into coverage. He’s an athletic guy who works through traffic well and is aggressive at the point of attack.
Round 3, Pick 92: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
Okoronkwo (aka Obo) didn’t have a great combine so I believe his stock will fall here and it did. He lacks desired length but wins off the edge due to pure talent, finesse and effort. This is a proactive selection due to Bud Dupree’s shortcomings. I cannot see the Steelers choosing to exercise his fifth year option next offseason.
Round 5, Pick 148: Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
Seems like the Steelers draft a wide receiver every year. The Steelers aren’t likely to retain Martavis Bryant after the 2018 season, so Lazard will have a chance to come in and compete for some snaps and learn the offense. He has excellent size at 6’5” 227lbs. May be asked to get his weight down to increase explosiveness out of his break and after the catch. Very physical in the run game and when the ball is in the air. A true red zone threat who attacks the ball at its highest point. Lazard was a two-time team MVP and was a co-captain.
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.
Round 7, Pick 220: Foley Fatukaski, NT, Connecticut
I don’t expect Foley to be here but the Steelers need a replacement for Dan McCullers at backup nose tackle. The former Husky is a plugger at the point of attack, demanding double teams but also has a very good pass rushing element to his game. John Mitchell will do wonders with Fatukasi.
Round 7, Pick 246: Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
A late round flyer on a developmental interior lineman. With Ramon Foster and in the future, Maurkice Pouncey, a backup interior lineman will be needed with BJ Finney going to be in a starting role. Teller had an impressive combine and showed some athleticism. His tape shows upside but wore down as the 2017 season went on. Mike Munchak will have an almost blank slate with Teller, similar to BJ Finney.