It is here, today’s the day. Draft Day. We’ve all been waiting for today since December. We’ve all been reading up, watching tape, talking to friends and gathering opinions. The Pittsburgh Steelers occupy ten selections in the 2019 NFL Draft. This is a very important draft, as they all are, but it could be very telling. The future of Sean Davis, Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton, and others may be unveiled depending how the Steelers chose to spend their draft picks. I won’t take up any more of your time, as you’re probably giddy to read onto the selections. This Mock Draft is geared towards what I believe will occur. Have fun, thanks for reading and HERE WE GO!
Round One, Pick 20: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU [PROFILE]
This has become somewhat of a popular pick and I won’t lie, I really wanted to trade up for Devin Bush. The problem was figuring out a suitor that makes sense and I’m unsure about compensation, so I decided to go a different route. For the record I don’t believe Bush makes it past pick 11.
Williams is a sticky cornerback with solid technique and excellent ball skills. He’s uber athletic and has the ceiling of a complete shut down defensive back in the NFL. Although he’s not seen as the best tackler, he surely makes some convincing ones on tape, he just needs to sure up that technique. There are a few effort concerns which I believe can be ironed out at the NFL level. Williams didn’t take any visits or do any private workouts, which is very odd. I am banking that the Steelers did enough homework at the NFL Scouting Combine and his Pro Day, in which both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin attended.
How does the newest cornerback fit into this defense with newly signed free agent Steven Nelson? There are a few thoughts that come to mind. First, if Williams shows enough to be the starting outside cornerback, Nelson could slide into the slot. Tomlin is on record saying he values Nelson’s versatility. Secondly, Joe Haden is now 30 years old with an expiring contract. Haden has the knack for not staying healthy for a full season either. Colbert recently talked about how he doesn’t like his rookies starting right away, so Williams can learn the ropes, refine his technique and benefit from soaking in all he needs to in order to be a successful NFL cornerback.
Round Two, Pick 52: Nasir Adderly, Safety, Delaware
Adderly has been slotted many times in the first round, but I believe he’s going to be around in round two. Other safeties have risen as Adderly hasn’t done much to improve his stock throughout the draft process.
Adderly is an interchangeable safety with legit range and ball skills. He possesses above average athleticism that is topped off by supreme football IQ. This defense could most definitely use more players who are assets in the secondary and who turn the ball over. He also returned punts for Delaware, so he can be used there if need be.
How does Adderly fit? In my opinion, Sean Davis is not in the Steelers’ long term plan. Unfortunately for him, he’s been moved around from nickel-cornerback, to strong safety, to free safety and was never really able to get settled and come into his own. At the free safety position he’s played his best ball, but is still not able to turn the ball over and lacks the football IQ needed for the position.
Round Three, Pick 66: Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame [PROFILE]
This is a popular pick among Steelers fans, unless your name is Vittorio. Boykin is an athletic freak who has legit size, speed and is excellent at the catch point. From who the Steelers brought in for visits, Boykin makes the most sense. Colbert and Tomlin were also at his Pro Day.
How does Boykin fit? Boykin can settle down at the X or the Z, although he’s best at the X. Donte Moncreif was signed, so Boykin will battle him for the starting spot at the X, ultimately replacing Antonio Brown. Although Boykin’s draft status may give him some clout, he still has much to learn. Only a one-year wonder in terms of production at Notre Dame and needs some guidance on how to broaden his route tree. His speed is legit, but it takes him a bit too long to get into that second gear. I assume the Steelers strength and conditioning program can assist with this. One more aspect of Boykin’s game that can be easily admired is his effort, technique and ability to run block. This is an underrated feature in a wide receiver’s game.
Round Three, Pick 83: Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State
Oliver would be a sneaky good selection for many reasons. Xavier Grimble is the top backup to Vance McDonald right now. With McDonald’s well documented injury history, that should make Steeler Nation very uncomfortable with that situation as is.
Oliver is an athletic tight end who was one of the bright spots on a mediocre football team (San Jose State went 1-11 in 2018). With prototypical size at 6’5, 250lbs, Oliver has the athleticism to become a mismatch against defenses. He also possesses the necessary strength to block and be an asset in any which way needed. Oliver’s best football is most definitely ahead of him.
Round Four, Pick 122: Gary Johnson, ILB, Texas [PROFILE]
I know it’s a bit late for a linebacker but let me explain myself. Last year, we had Jon Bostic and Colbert went through the entire 2018 NFL Draft without selecting a single linebacker. This year, we’re in a better situation there with Mark Barron. This leads me to believe that if the Steelers don’t get their guy early on, they’re comfortable with Barron and will wait to get some value on a linebacker.
Johnson has some speed on him, clocked at 4.43s at the NFL Combine. Although it may not be so damn evident translated on tape, he still carries such athleticism. Johnson is decent in coverage but could benefit from taking in some guidance in that area. He is very stout against the run, as he sifts through the ‘trash’ well and has an eye for the ball carrier. His range is up there with some of the best in the class. This is a pick I feel semi-confident in since Colbert and Tomlin were at his Pro Day.
*TRADE* Round Four, Pick 126: Ben Banogu, EDGE, TCU [PROFILE]
The Steelers send their 5th round (141), and 6th round (192) selections for pick 126.
The Steelers really need to bring in some fresh blood at the outside linebacker position. Bud Dupree is most likely in his last year with the Steelers, Anthony Chickillo is a journeyman backup and his contract is structured where it would be difficult for him to see the 2020 season. Ola Adeniyi is a virtual unknown, but may break out if given the opportunity. Banogu is a semi-raw pass rusher who is uber-athletic and is scratching the surface as a pass rusher.
The Steelers had Banogu in for a pre-draft visit and can be an asset on special teams as a coverage specialist. Banogu needs to work on winning outside on the tackle and diversify his pass rush arsenal.
Round Six, Pick 175: Ulysees Gilbert III, ILB, Akron [PROFILE]
The Steelers didn’t get a linebacker early, so double dipping at the position makes a ton of sense. As is, the Steelers linebackers are not known for being very athletic and with the addition of Johnson (round four), and now Gilbert, the Steelers linebacking unit now has an infusion of athleticism.
The Steelers were at Akron’s Pro Day to watch Gilbert go through his day, and even talked with him afterwards. The Steelers scout watched Gilbert run a 4.46s 40-yard dash and was even documented running as fast as 4.3 at times. In Gilbert’s entire collegiate career he never missed a game. The former Akron Zip possesses elite range, coverage ability and is a decent tackler. 357 career tackles at Akron.
Gilbert also came into Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit.
Round Six, Pick 207: Kerrith Whyte, RB/KR, FAU [PROFILE]
Whyte was under the radar until his pro day. He ran a 4.36s 40-yard dash and his speed most definitely translates onto the field. Whyte often beats defenders to the edge and is lethal in space. With the Steelers current offensive line, Whyte can really shine if need be.
As a potential third down back, Whyte will need to work on his pass blocking technique. His ability as a pass catcher is his most underrated trait. Get him into space and watch out! As a runner, he is shifty, agile and has underrated contact balance. He will need to work on his vision in between the tackles, but between the tackles isn’t where he thrives anyhow.
He’s one of my favorite running backs in the draft and can be an asset for the Steelers as both a running back and as a kick returner. As a returner, Whyte is very comfortable. 19 kick returns for 545 yards (28.7avg), 1 TD in 2019. His skill-set is very translatable to the NFL and as a sixth round pick, he has a good chance to make this team, which means the value is superb.
Round Seven, Pick 219: Garrett Brumfield, Interior Offensive Lineman, LSU
Brumfield was the lone offensive lineman to come in for a visit and can fit in rather easily. The Steelers need a backup center who can also play guard in a pinch. The LSU product possesses underrated athleticism and can be new offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett’s first project.
I didn’t watch much of Brumfield, so I won’t pretend like I did. He came in for a visit, Tomlin and Colbert were at his Pro Day and he fits an upcoming need.
Potential UDFA Targets:
Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE, Wisconsin
Quincy Williams, ILB, Murray State
Stephen Denmark, CB Valdosta State
Dravon Askew-Henry, S, WVU
Jack Bailey, P, Stanford
Immanuel Turner, EDGE/DE, Louisiana Tech
BJ Blount, LB/S, McNeese State
Otara Alaka, LB, Texas A&M