Home Steelers DraftMock Drafts Re-Drafting Dane Brugler’s Mock Draft for the Steelers

Re-Drafting Dane Brugler’s Mock Draft for the Steelers

by Ian

This morning, Dane Brugler of The Athletic published a full 7-round mock draft. Mock Drafts are generally pointless in that even the “best” ones usually only get 25% of the first round picks correctly matched with their teams and the probability of hitting goes down from there. That said, as a fan, they can be fun and interesting reads to either learn more about players or to get a sense for what type of decisions a team may face at a certain spot on the board. For instance, assuming the Steelers stay at 24 and do not trade, it doesn’t necessarily matter which teams in front of them took which 23 players, just the choice of players available to them at the time of their pick. Additionally, a fun mental exercise is to look through a full 7-round mock such as Brugler’s and see if we would have made any selections differently, based on the players still available.

Round 1

Brugler’s Pick: Najee Harris (RB-Alabama)

This is a fine pick and certainly meets the Steelers need for a running back. That said if this is the pick, Harris would be just the second player since 2003 that the Steelers took in the first round that is over 22 years old.

What We Would Do:

If the Steelers Stay at 24:

Best Available Players
Caleb Farley (CB-Virginia Tech)
Alex Leatherwood (OT-Alabama)
Asante Samuel Jr (CB-Florida St)
Travis Etienne (RB-Clemson)
Creed Humphrey (C-Oklahoma)
Samuel Cosmi (OT-Texas)

This becomes a question of how the Steelers have their draft board prioritized. They have needs at running back, offensive tackle, center, and cornerback. Caleb Farley is a Top 10 talent but opted out of 2020 and had a recent back surgery. Tomlin and Colbert attended Pro Days at Alabama, Clemson, and Florida State so don’t sleep on Asante Samuel Jr as a potential selection in the firsts round if the Steelers look to replace Steven Nelson in the short term and as a long-term replacement for Joe Haden. With Harris still available, Etienne does not make a ton of sense, so our choice would likely come down to Harris or Samuel (Farley’s medicals scare us a bit).

Trade Up Options

In Brugler’s mock draft, Justin Fields fell to the Denver Broncos at the 9th overall pick. On last week’s SCB Podcast, we talked extensively about how this was about the point where we would be comfortable with the Steelers making a move up the board to try to get Fields. Ben said he would move up to 10. Ian said if Fields got past the Panthers at 8 he would start making calls. The Steelers and Broncos have made trades in the past, so a potential trade-up involving the Steelers 2021 and 2022 first round picks plus additional compensation may not be out of the question. Of course, the deciding factor is how much need Denver sees to draft a quarterback this year vs obtaining future draft picks.

Additionally, Penn State inside linebacker Micah Parsons fell to the Dolphins at 18 in Brugler’s mock. Based on the NFL Trade Value Chart, the Steelers could likely move up to 18 with a 1st and 3rd round pick. Having Parsons AND Devin Bush together in the middle of the defense would be absolutely fearsome.

Trade Back Option

With the Browns and Ravens picking in 2 of the next 3 slots after Pittsburgh, any trade back would likely be into the late 20s or early 30s. That said, some of those teams do have some defined needs. Buffalo could use help at the EDGE rusher position and Kansas City needs offensive linemen. Cleveland may also be in the EDGE rusher market so a trade with Buffalo could benefit both teams. The Steelers would likely pick up an extra 3rd round pick in a deal with either Buffalo or Kansas City. If the Steelers trade back, players like Travis Etienne, Pat Freiermuth, Creed Humphrey, or Javonte Williams would make sense. If they are lucky, Asante Samuel Jr may even still be available at the tail end of the 1st round.

Round 2

Brugler’s Pick: Quinn Meinerz (C-Wisconsin-Whitewater)

We are big fans of Meinerz, and the way Brugler’s draft board fell (Humphrey and Dickerson both went in the early 2nd round), Meinerz was the best Center available. He absolutely balled out at the Senior Bowl and is a mauler in the middle. That said, this once again would break a trend as the Steelers have only used a 2nd round pick on a player from a non-Power Conference program once in Kevin Colbert’s tenure (Ricardo Colclough in 2004). That said, a player like Meinerz might be worth breaking the trend in order to solidify the middle of the line.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 55:

Best Available Players
Tyson Campbell (CB-Georgia)
Dillon Radunz (OT-North Dakota St)
Jalen Mayfield (OT/G-Michigan)

Honestly, we would love Quinn Meinerz in black and gold and don’t have a big issue with this pick, particularly if Humphrey is off the board. Given Dickerson’s injury history we might prefer Meinerz to Dickerson. Tyson Campbell is a player we feel could be a sleeper first round pick as the Steeler went heavily to Georgia’s Pro Day to scout their defensive backs. This pick is somewhat dependent on what the Steelers do in the first round. If they nab a player like Farley or Samuel in the first, there is no need for a corner here, but if they take a running back in the first then corner is definitely in play in this spot. We could also see the Steelers targeting Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield who played tackle but is likely better suited at guard. Based on how Brugler’s draft board fell, we would probably agree with his selection and take Meinerz (or Campbell if CB was not taken earlier).

Trade Up Options

As expected, there were a lot of talented players taken in the first half of Round 2 before the Steelers got on the clock. Players that the Steelers have had their eyes on and would fill needs like Asante Samuel Jr, Travis Etienne, Javonte Williams, Creed Humphrey, Landon Dickerson, Pat Freiermuth, and Samuel Cosmi were all taken in the first 15 picks of Brugler’s second round. The Steelers could make a move up the board for any one of those players. With 2 picks in the 4th round of this year’s draft, the Steelers could combine those with their 2nd round pick to potentially get up into the Top 50 and have a shot at one of those guys.

Trade Back Options

Given how the first half of the second round went, there weren’t a ton of good options at the back end of the second round. The Steelers already have 2 picks in the fourth round so adding another selection in the 4th doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Round 3

Brugler’s Pick: Stone Forsythe (OT-Florida)

Forsythe got a lot of buzz on Twitter after an excellent Pro Day workout at Florida. The Steelers have gone to the well of Florida offensive linemen many times before, so this would not be a big shock and would fill a need up front. Additionally, a draft where the Steelers land Najee Harris, Quinn Meinerz, and Stone Forsythe in their first three picks would certainly be a vast improvement to the running game.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 87:

Best Available Players
Nico Collins (WR-Michigan)
Wyatt Davis (OG-Ohio St)
Jackson Carman (OT/G-Clemson)
Elerson Smith (EDGE-Northern Iowa)
Trey Sermon (RB-Ohio State)
Chazz Surratt (LB-North Carolina)

At this point in the mock draft, the best available players seem to all be landing on the offensive side of the ball. Michigan’s Nico Collins is a tall and fast receiver (think Tee Higgins) who had to play with terrible QBs in Ann Arbor. Wyatt Davis is a mauler on the inside who could eventually replace DeCastro. Clemson’s Jackson Carman played tackle but is better suited as a guard. The Steelers don’t have an immediate need at guard and also signed a lot of guard-types in free agency, but the value may be too good to pass on here. Elerson Smith is another highly-athletic EDGE rusher who checks a lot of boxes for the ability to have an early impact. If the Steelers don’t land a running back in either of the first two rounds, don’t be surprised to see them take Ohio State’s Trey Sermon in the third. If the Steelers go in a direction other than RB in the first two rounds, we would absolutely make Trey Sermon the pick here in the third round. We don’t have a big issue with taking Forsythe here as it does meet a need, though history suggests the Steelers won’t use all 3 of their top picks on just one side of the ball, so Elerson Smith could be a good option for EDGE rusher depth or UNC’s Chazz Surratt for depth at the inside linebacker spot.

Trade Up Options

The Steelers do not have a 5th round pick in this year’s draft, but could combine one of their 4th rounders to potentially move up 10 spots or so on the board. If they don’t land a center in the first two rounds, players like Ohio State’s Josh Myers could be in play for a trade up scenario. The third tier of tight ends like Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble and Miami’s Brevin Jordan could also be targets. In Brugler’s mock, Ohio State ILB Baron Browning went at the 80th overall pick and highly-athletic Northern Iowa OT Spencer Brown went 82nd.

Trade Back Options

The trade back options are somewhat similar to the guys we would consider just taking outright at 87. Without a 5th round pick in the draft, it could behoove the Steelers to consider trading back in this spot to pick up an extra pick somewhere between their second 4th rounder (140 overall) and their 6th rounder (216 overall). That is 75 players who will come off the board between the Steelers selections in the 4th and 6th rounds. Getting another pick in there would not be the worst option.

Round 4.1

Brugler’s Pick: Tre Brown (CB-Oklahoma)

The Steelers do need depth at cornerback, so this pick once again fills a need. This is the first defensive player that Brugler has the Steelers selecting.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 128:

Best Available Players
Jaylon Moore (OT-Western Michigan)
Shakur Brown (CB-Michigan St)
Seth Williams (WR-Auburn)
Monty Rice (LB-Georgia)
Cameron McGrone (LB-Michigan)
Patrick Jones (EDGE-Pitt)

As we said earlier, we would be surprised if the Steelers spent their first 3 picks all on the offensive side of the ball. This likely means that two of the positions of need between Center, Offensive Tackle, Running Back, and Tight End will fall to Day 3 of the Draft. Another factor is that in the last 3 years the Steelers have heavily relied on Dan Colbert’s scouting for Day 3 selections. Dan Colbert typically hits the MAC and midwestern schools. He went to Michigan State this year, so our gut tells us that Shakur Brown is more likely to be selected than Tre Brown if the Steelers go CB here. If they nab a CB earlier in the draft, Michigan ILB Cam McGrone could be an option along with 6’3″ Auburn WR Seth Williams. We feel like this pick in the 4th round is the ideal spot to land an inside linebacker, and players like McGrone, Georgia’s Monty Rice, or Purdue’s Derrick Barnes (more on him in a minute) would be great options.

Trade Up Options

The middle of the 4th round seems like the sweet spot for some of the inside linebacker prospects in the draft. Brugler’s mock as Purdue ILB Derrick Barnes going to Minnesota just 3 picks ahead of Pittsburgh’s selection. We feel like Barnes would be an ideal 4th round pick, but it might take parting with a future asset to ensure we are able to land him.

Trade Back Options

The Steelers have another 4th round pick at 140th overall, just 12 picks later. Trading back from this position doesn’t seem to garner much, unless they are able to pick up a 5th round selection (which they currently don’t have) or an early 6th rounder.

Round 4.2

Brugler’s Pick: Chris Rumph (EDGE-Duke)

The Steelers certainly need depth at the EDGE rusher position. Rumph did not run drills at Duke’s Pro Day but is undersized for the position, coming in at under 6’3″ and less than 250 pounds. When looking at outside linebackers, especially since the Steelers want them to be able to drop into coverage, we heavily prefer raw but atheltic players. This is the first pick of Brugler’s where we have a significant disagreement.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 140:

Best Available Players
Cameron Sample (EDGE-Tulane)
Michael Menet (C-Penn St)
Tre McKitty (TE-Georgia)
Janarius Robinson (EDGE-Florida State)
Shaun Wade (CB-Ohio St)
Tommy Doyle (OT-Miami (OH))
Dan Moore Jr (OT-Texas A&M)

If the Steelers want to go with an EDGE rusher at this spot, we would vastly prefer Florida State’s Janarius Robinson or Tulane’s Cameron Sample, who both tested out as much better athletes than Chris Rumph. If the Steelers haven’t taken a center yet, the options are getting thin so Penn State’s Michael Menet might be worth considering. Menet is a solid technician and has the ability to move laterally in space which would benefit a zone blocking scheme, though he is a little short in the arms (not Similarly at tight end, the options are dwindling. Georgia’s Tre McKitty tested very well athletically though he wasn’t used a ton in the Bulldogs passing attack.

Trade Up Options

With the Steelers having another selection just 12 picks before this one, trading up does not seem like a viable option.

Trade Back Options

The Steelers don’t have another pick until the middle of the 6th round at 216th overall. That is 75 picks after this selection in the late 4th round. If the Steelers want to trade back and have a shot at a player somewhere in that range, they might be able to do so (in fact, might be able to acquire 2 picks in that range based on the trade values). That would obviously take a team that has a player they desperately want enough to move up into this spot.

Round 6

Brugler’s Pick: Max Duffy (P-Kentucky)

Cue our own Ben Anderson melting down on the Steel City Blitz twitter account. This isn’t quite as bad as taking a long snapper, but we are firmly in the camp that draft picks should never be used on specialists. That said, Danny Smith did attend Kentucky’s Pro Day so the Steelers did do some work on Duffy in the pre-draft cycle so this pick would not be a total shocker.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 216:

Best Available Players
Matt Bushman (TE-BYU)
Mark Webb (S-Georgia)
Christian Uphoff (S-Illinois St)
Jamie Newman (QB-Wake Forest)
Bryan Mills (CB-NC Central)
Elijah Mitchell (RB-Louisiana)
Dazz Newsome (WR-North Carolina)

All of these players listed are better options than drafting a punter. Mark Webb was a jack-of-all-trades in Georgia’s secondary. He is likely better suited to a box safety or slot corner role, but he is one aggressive dude who plays with a nasty edge that could fill Mike Hilton’s role nicely. Jamie Newman is a dual-threat QB who the Steelers did scout and has some upside as a developmental prospect. Other depth prospects with upside might be worth a flier here.

Trade Up Options

As mentioned previously, this is a pick at the tail end of the 6th round that the Steelers received from Tampa in exchange for Jerald Hawkins last year. The Steelers 5th round pick was traded to Baltimore to Chris Wormley and their 6th round pick to Miami as part of the Minkah Fitzpatrick deal. Given that they don’t have a 5th round pick and this is the final pick of the 6th round before compensatory selections, the Steelers may look to move up the board, but it would likely cost them a future pick as their 7th round picks aren’t worth much in draft-day trades.

Trade Back Options

The Steelers have two picks coming in the middle of the 7th round. Given that this is a compensatory pick and at the tail end of the 6th round, it is hard to see them trading back, unless a team compensated them with multiple 7th round picks or a future pick or current player of value.

Round 7.1

Brugler’s Pick: Marquez Stevenson (WR-Houston)

Brugler once again has the Steelers going to the well of late-round wide recievers. The Steelers don’t necessarily need to draft a wide receiver and have bigger needs elsewhere (Brugler did not select a tight end for them).

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 245:

Best Available Players
Malik Herring (DL-Georgia)
Austin Watkins Jr (WR-UAB)
KJ Britt (LB-Auburn)
Trey Hill (C-Georgia)
Anthony Hines III (LB-Texas A&M)
Noah Gray (TE-Duke)
Landon Young (OT-Kentucky)
Racey McMath (WR-LSU)

In the late 7th round there are somewhat slim pickings from available players. If the Steelers somehow haven’t taken a center yet, Georgia’s Trey Hill should get strong consideration. (We think Hill will be gone by this point, but he is available in Brugler’s mock.) The Steelers don’t necessarily need depth along the defensive line but have used a 7th round pick on D-linemen the last two years, so Georgia’s Malik Herring may be in play. Inside linebackers KJ Britt and Anthony Hines could also get consideration (Hines is a bit more athletic than Britt). If the Steelers are going to take a receiver here, UAB’s Austin Watkins may get consideration. We would rather see this pick used on a tight end like Duke’s Noah Gray (who did well at the Senior Bowl) than on a wide receiver who would likely be 5th or 6th on the depth chart.

Trade Options

Given that this pick is within 15 of the end of the draft, and the Steelers have another pick 9 slots later at 254, it seems highly unlikely they would trade back. They could trade up if there is a player early in the 7th round they see as valuable, but that is probably unlikely as well. This selection could be used as part of a trade deal at another point in the draft.

Round 7.2

Brugler’s Pick: Anthony Hines III (LB-Texas A&M)

The Steelers did attend Texas A&M’s Pro Day and could use additional depth at inside linebacker. Hines tested relatively well from an athletic standpoint and would give the Steelers depth behind Devin Bush and Robert Spillane.

What We Would Do

If the Steelers stay at 254:

Best Available Players
Avery Williams (CB-Boise St)
Noah Gray (TE-Duke)

Even if the Steelers take a CB early in this draft, Avery Williams is the kind of high-upside player that is worth a flier at the end of the 7th round. The Steelers sent Danny Smith to his Pro Day at Boise State to scout Williams. While he is primarily listed as a corner, his major value is as a kick returner where he flashed 4.4 speed and great scores in the agility drills. Rumor has it that some teams are considering Williams more as a running back than a corner back, given his speed and versatility. Adding a player like that at the tail end of the draft would give the Steelers a boost in both the return game and in Matt Canada’s motion offense.

Trade Options

This pick is only 6 before the end of the draft, so it is unlikely the Steelers would trade back from this point. Given that they also have pick 245, trading up doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either.


Brugler’s Draft:
1.24: Najee Harris (RB-Alabama)
2.55: Quinn Meinerz (C-Wisconsin-Whitewater)
3.87: Stone Forsythe (OT-Florida)
4.128: Tre Brown (CB-Oklahoma)
4.140: Chris Rumph (EDGE-Duke)
6.216: Max Duffy (P-Kentucky)
7.245: Marquez Stevenson (WR-Houston)
7.254: Anthony Hines III (LB-Texas A&M)

SCB Re-Draft (no trades):
1.24: Asante Samuel Jr (CB-Florida St)
2.55: Quinn Meinerz (C-Wisconsin-Whitewater)
3.87: Trey Sermon (RB-Ohio State)
4.128: Monty Rice (LB-Georgia)
4.140: Dan Moore Jr (OT-Texas A&M)
6.216: Dazz Newsome (WR-North Carolina)
7.245: Noah Gray (TE-Duke)
7.254: Avery Williams (CB/KR-Boise St)

SCB Re-Draft (with trades up):

Trade 1.24, 2022 1st and 2022 3rd round picks to DEN for #9 overall
Trade 4.128 and 6.216 to WAS for 4.124

1.09: Justin Fields (QB-Ohio State)
2.55: Tyson Campbell (CB-Georgia)
3.87: Trey Sermon (RB-Ohio State)
4.124: Derrick Barnes (LB-Purdue)
4.140: Michael Menet (C-Penn State)
7.245: Racey McMath (WR-LSU)
7.254: Noah Gray (TE-Duke)

SCB Re-Draft (1st round trade down):

Trade 1.24 to BUF for 1.30 and 3.93
Trade 4.128 and 4.140 to PHI for 4.123 and 5.150

1.30: Pat Freiermuth (TE-Penn State)
2.55: Quinn Meinerz (C-Wisconsin-Whitewater)
3.87: Trey Sermon (RB-Ohio St)
3.93: Robert Rochell (CB-Central Arkansas)
4.123: Derrick Barnes (LB-Purdue)
5.150: Janarius Robinson (EDGE-Florida St)
6.216: Christian Uphoff (S-Illinois St)
7.245: Landon Young (OT-Kentucky)
7.254: Avery Williams (CB/KR-Boise St)

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.