Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manage Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin have now had their say. They gave us their thoughts in their annual ‘Pre-Draft’ press conference on Monday and as usual, there is either a lot to digest or nothing at all. This depends on how much you really believe in terms of what they say. This is my final mock draft of 2021. I want to stress, this is what I think the team will do rather than what I would do.
I will also say that I desperately want the Steelers to trade down if they can find the right partner. Picking up an extra pick or two in this draft is huge because they have so many needs on both sides of the ball. This mock however will not insert trades. OK, let’s get on with it.
Round One (Pick 24) – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
The Steelers will address the elephant in the room by drafting a running back in round one but it isn’t the one you thought. The biggest reason for this is age. Williams just turned 21 three days ago (April 25th) while Najee Harris is more than two years older. This has nothing to do with not liking Harris at all because I think he’s a complete running back, I just see Williams fitting more of what Matt Canada wants to do. He has work to do in pass protection but most rookies do. I can’t get past his ability to blow up defenders and still find speed and quickness at the same time. While this breaks a major commandment of Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin being at his Pro Day (they weren’t) I’m all in on Williams and I think the Steelers are too.
Keep an eye on… Jayson Oweh, PSU and Tyson Campbell, CB, UGA
MOCK 1.0 Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
MOCK 2.0 Jaylen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
MOCK 3.0 Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Round Two (Pick 55) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
For a long time I would have said he’ll never get here but the more I look at this draft the more I see a scenario where he’s available. There will be runs on QBs, WRs, RBs and CBs and I think that benefits the Steelers. He’s not great in any phase but he’s good in all areas. He catches the ball well and blocks decently enough which is good because this is a weak tight end class. He would be an immediate number two behind Eric Ebron.
Keep an eye on… Baron Browning, LB, OSU
MOCK 1.0 Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
MOCK 2.0 Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
MOCK 3.0 Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
Round Three (Pick 87) – Josh Myers, C, Ohio State
Myers is a lunch pail type of guy who brings experience in a number of different blocking schemes and he excels at covering the inside gaps in pass protection. He isn’t as athletically gifted as some other centers in this draft but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting early in the season with his wealth of experience playing big time college football.
MOCK 1.0 Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
MOCK 2.0 Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
MOCK 3.0 Quinn Meinerz, OC, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Round Four (Pick 128) – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
The former Michigan recruit is the type of player you take a chance on. He’s not going to start right away but with proper coaching he could turn into a really good player. He’s raw due to overall inexperience but very athletic for a big man and he has some seriously huge hands for controlling defenders. He’s very good on the move and fits a zone blocking system well. If the Steelers can get by without needing to rely on him this year then they could have a really solid player for years to come.
MOCK 1.0 Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
MOCK 2.0 Trey Hill, C, Georgia
MOCK 3.0 Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
Round Four (Pick 140 Comp) – Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
I like my cornerbacks who are feisty and have a nose for the ball and that’s why I think the Steelers go for Brown here. With Joe Haden and Cam Sutton seemingly in place to start on the boundaries, Brown could be the immediate successor to Mike Hilton before eventually moving outside. He’s had experience and success in numerous coverage systems and comes downhill quickly to wrap up ball carriers. There will be hesitancy here because of Justin Layne’s (also from MSU) recent issues but that shouldn’t keep the Steelers from taking Brown.
MOCK 1.0 Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
MOCK 2.0 Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
MOCK 3.0 Anthony Schwarz, WR, Auburn
Round Six (Pick 216) – Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue
The cousin of former NFL star Shaun Alexander, Barnes is a guy who had some minor buzz going after the Senior Bowl and then he rocked his Pro Day. He has limitations but he’s a really good tackler and an excellent pass rusher who is good at finding gaps. Depth here at this position is of a very serious nature. Barnes would be terrific on Special Teams and could be the perfect reserve for this group.
MOCK 1.0 Jimmy Morrissey, C, PITT
MOCK 2.0 Quentin Morris, TE, Bowling Green
MOCK 3.0 Nick Eubanks, TE, Michigan
Round Seven (Pick 245) – Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
I’ll admit that I’ll be stunned if Darden gets here because I can easily see someone going after him earlier. He’s small in height and in stature but he’s productive and a nightmare for tacklers. His speed could be easily utilized with quick throws and jet motion where defenders would have to honor his speed to the edges. He’s not going to win 50/50 balls and won’t be a threat over the middle but the speed and productivity is hard to pass up.
MOCK 1.0 John Bates, TE, Boise State
MOCK 2.0 Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
MOCK 3.0 Drue Chrisman, P, Ohio State
Round Seven (Pick 254) – Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
Motor. Who doesn’t love a guy with a motor? Jackson has limitations or else he would be going much higher but he’s going to be a special teams player right away and will work to provide you with a few plays of depth each game. He’s got work to do on his pass rush and must improve his limited variety of rush moves but he’s worth a shot here in the seventh.
MOCK 1.0 Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State
MOCK 2.0 Tre Walker, WR, San Jose State
MOCK 3.0 Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina