There are three Fridays left, including today, until the 2018 NFL Draft. I am starting this series of every Friday, performing a FanSpeak mock draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I will share who else was on the board and why I chose who I did and where. Enjoy the madness!
> 7 Rounds
> Matt Miller Draft Board
> FanSpeak Needs
> Difficulty: Difficult
Round 1, Pick 28: Leighton Vander Esch , LB, Boise State
Vander Esch is a player I really liked when watching his film and his Combine did nothing but help his stock. LVE was the best player available according to the board, and the need lined up perfectly. LVE now solidifies the mack linebacker position.
Round 2, Pick 60: Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia
I had Carter as a day two guy after analyzing him, but his Combine made him even more intriguing early on in day two here. With Bud Dupree’s fifth year option up in the air, the team could look to move on from him after the 2018 season. Carter has the length, athletic traits and tools to be a successful pass rusher at the next level. I believe Carter can also play some sub-package linebacker, too.
Round 3, Pick 92: Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State
I was a big Allen fan during the season but when I got to review his tape singularity, I wasn’t as impressed. I love his aggression and toughness, but this leads to some missed tackles. Allen has excellent size and performed very well at the NFL Combine athletically. He will be the perfect third safety for now, and be a tremendous asset on special teams.
Round 5, Pick 148: Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
I am a big Lazard fan because of his size, big play ability and being a high level red zone threat. He doesn’t offer much after the catch, but at the catch point, Lazard is money. Martavis Bryant’s departure after the 2018 season is imminent, so the Steelers should be proactive in finding the next outside receiver.
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 play-style 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: Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt
Burks is a safety turned linebacker and he found his home. He was a late Senior Bowl invite due to injury and made the best out of the experience. He is an athletic player who would be very good on special teams and at the back end of the linebacker depth chart.
Round 7 Pick 246: PJ Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
Hall’s stock is gaining a ton of steam since he put up outrageous athletic numbers. His stats match those numbers and taking a 7th round flyer on a player like this seems like a low risk deal. I have yet to get to his tape, but I have heard nothing but good things about Hall, who could be the steal of the draft. Taking a risk here since there are more prolific and well known players in the position still available, but that is what the draft is about.
Sam Houston State DT PJ Hall may have solidified himself as a mid-round pick. 284 tackles, 86.5 TFL, 42 sacks 14 blocked kicks, despite the small-school is ridiculous.
At 6-foot-1 and 308 pounds, he ran a 4.76 40-yard, 36 reps, 9-8 broad jump and 38 inch vertical at his Pro Day. https://t.co/MrEd8WuQrn
— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) March 26, 2018