In the first round of the Draft the Steelers made a massive move up the draft board in a trade with the Broncos to select inside linebacker Devin Bush. We recorded a quick podcast last night after the pick and you can hear the pure elation of the SCB crew. This was the first time the Steelers made a pick in the Top 10 since 2000, which was the longest streak in the NFL (the next closest was New England whose last Top 10 pick was in 2008). In order to make the move up to #10, the Steelers traded away their 2nd round pick (#52) and a future 3rd round pick. The willingness to trade next year’s 3rd rounder is likely borne out of the likelihood of getting a compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets.
The Steelers have two picks on Day 2 of the Draft. With their second round pick traded to Denver, the Steelers don’t have a selection until 66th overall, one of the picks they got from Oakland in return for Antonio Brown. The Steelers also have their own third round pick (#83 overall). With six Day 3 picks, the Steelers also have enough ammunition to make another move up the board and in either get back into the 2nd or move up in the 3rd round.
Here is a rundown of the best available prospects heading into Day 2 of the Draft. With the need at inside linebacker addressed, the remaining needs are at cornerback, edge rusher, safety, wide receiver, tight end, and running back.
Best Available Players
A number of prospects remain from the Steelers Draft Board we put together for the first round of the Draft. Here are the 16 remaining players, along with the positions where the SCB staff had originally ranked them in our War Room exercise.
10. Byron Murphy (CB – Washington)
There are three corners in this class we felt were worthy of being selected in the first round. Of them, only Georgia’s Deandre Baker was actually taken. Murphy was the SCB War Room’s favorite of the bunch. He is capable in man and zone coverage. His physicality would be an instant hit with Steelers fans and he has no problem sticking his nose in to support the run defense.
11. DK Metcalf (WR – Ole Miss)
Metcalf got a lot of attention on social media due to some leaked pictures of his workouts but delivered on his athletic profile at the combine. He did not run an extensive route tree at Ole Miss but is absolutely a downfield threat with the power and physicality to win against smaller corners. He has the speed to blow past nearly everyone and is going to be difficult to bring down in the open field with the ball in his hands.
12. Greedy Williams (CB – LSU)
There was a lot of discussion at this point between Greedy and Rashan Gary. Gary was considered the higher-rated prospect while Greedy addressed a more pressing team need. He has the physical abilities and mental capacity to play on the outside as an effective, shutdown corner. Interestingly, he reportedly had no pre-draft visits with any teams this year. Greedy has good instincts and can track the ball in the air among the best in this class.
15. AJ Brown (WR – Ole Miss)
The two Ole Miss wide receivers are the top two on our board. He is the cousin of Antonio Brown and has a lot of similarities in his game. AJ runs great routes in short spaces and can separate instantaneously out of a break. He primarily played in the slot at Ole Miss, but showed his abilities as an outside receiver when DK Metcalf was injured.
16. Jawaan Taylor (OT – Florida)
The Steelers have said that the right tackle position will be an open camp battle between Matt Feiler, Chuks Okorafor, Jerald Hawkins, and Zach Banner. While that is a lot of players to evaluate, there is no reason why a rookie could not be added to that mix as well. The value of the top offensive tackles in the draft is much greater than any of the remaining players at this point, we put them on the board. Taylor was deemed by the group to be a more natural right tackle and thus a better fit for the Steelers need.
19. Cody Ford (OL – Oklahoma)
Ford is one of the most versatile linemen in the draft and has the ability to play any guard or tackle position. He could immediately step in and compete for the right tackle position. Ford is arguably the 3rd best offensive lineman in the draft and the Steelers have done well to continually restock the position.
20. Mack Wilson (ILB – Alabama)
Wilson is the third best inside linebacker prospect in the draft. He does not have the freakish athleticism that the Steelers have targeted with their first round picks. However, he checks a lot of other boxes and was a solid contributor over multiple seasons in the middle of the Crimson Tide defense. Wilson can hold his own in pass coverage and has a good set of hands for a linebacker which contributed to 6 interceptions over the last 2 seasons.
24. Blake Cashman (ILB – Minnesota)
Blake Cashman has some of the widest variances of scouting reports in this draft. Some see him as a player with great instincts and superior mental processing that can break down a play. He has sideline-to-sideline speed and will attack the ball-carrier against the run. He has well-above average athleticism for the position. Some analysts see him as part of the second tier of inside linebackers and possibly as high as the 3rd best. Others voiced concerns about a shoulder injury and see him as a Day 3 prospect. The SCB war room fell into the previous category and ranked Cashman within the Top 25 on our board for both his instincts and mental processing speed as well as his athletic traits.
25. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (DB – Florida)
CGJ is a versatile defensive back that the Gators used all over the field. He played as both a slot cornerback in sub packages, as a box safety, and as a deep “free” safety. The Steelers love players with versatility, particularly in the secondary. Our hope is that unlike Sean Davis (who the Steelers stunted his development by trying toly simultaneous force him into a nickel corner and safety role as a rookie), CGJ would be able to focus on one position.
26. Taylor Rapp (S – Washington)
The SCB War Room spent some time discussing the safeties in this draft. Like Wide Receivers, there is not a clear-cut #1 safety in the class. That said, there are 6 potential prospects that could land between the late first round and early 3rd round. Like CGJ, Rapp has the versatility to play all over the field on defense. He spent time as both an in-the-box safety and as a two-high free safety for Washington. He is a heavy hitter who isn’t afraid to attack the ball downhill but also has the range and athleticism to cover tight ends across the middle. Rapp might be the best tackling safety in the draft, and would be a huge boost to the back end of the Steelers defense which has been leaky for years.
27. Nasir Adderley (S – Delaware)
Adderley is the top FCS prospect in this draft class. While the Steelers tend to stay away from small-school prospects early in the draft, Adderley has the range and athleticism to be an impact starter in the league. He has the ability to play both safety and corner, and that versatility could get him involved in the defense early. Athletically he tested very well but he has some gaps in his game as far as play recognition so he will take some coaching to reach his full potential.
28. Rock Ya-Sin (CB – Temple)
Rock Ya-Sin topped our second tier of the cornerback class. After starting his collegiate career at FCS Presbyterian, he moved up to the FBS ranks as a graduate transfer. He is a bit raw from a technique standpoint but has great athleticism for the position. He is a strong corner with the physicality to stick his nose in against bigger players in both the run and pass game.
29. Deebo Samuel (WR – South Carolina)
Deebo blew up the Senior Bowl and then had an explosive combine. He might be best suited as an X receiver (JuJu’s role last year) rather than the primary downfield threat. That said, he showed exemplary abilities on underneath routes with a toughness to go over the middle. Samuel is a force with the ball in his hands who is always looking to make a play. While he is only 5’11”, the Steelers have a scheme that has enabled sub-6′ receivers like Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to thrive so that should not be a concern.
30. Justin Layne (CB – Michigan State)
The Steelers have spent a good deal of pre-draft scouting time on Layne, with Kevin Colbert attending his Pro Day and a pre-draft visit in Pittsburgh. Layne is a bump-and-run corner with good size and length which enabled him to defend 15 passes last season, one of the top marks in the FBS. His tape shows he is not afraid to peel off coverage to come up and make a play on a check-down receiver. He is a willing hitter with the size and athleticism to be a solid NFL corner. NFL.com’s Lance Zerlien compared him to Bengals CB William Jackson, who the Steelers absolutely loved a few years ago coming out of Houston.
31. Julian Love (CB – Notre Dame)
Love is a physical cover corner who can play in both man and zone schemes. He displayed an excellent ability to get his hands on the ball, tallying 32 passes defended and 4 interceptions over his last two seasons. The only hole in his game seems to be his deep speed where he can trail behind faster receivers. Other than that, he is a solid all-around corner that can contribute to a position where every NFL team needs depth.
32. Chase Winovich (EDGE – Michigan)
Winovich has been one of the most controversial players of the pre-draft process for Steelers fans. He is 24 years old, which distinctly goes against the Steelers trend of drafting younger players. That said, the Steelers clearly have an interest in the Thomas Jefferson High School product who has a relentless motor. He may be a better value pick in the second round rather than the tail end of the first, but we also saw the dropoff in edge rusher talent after Winovich as being somewhat significant, so his value plus the Steelers need was bolstered to put Chase at the last spot on our board.
Next Best Available
Without a second round pick, the Steelers will have be the 34th and 51st picks of Day 2. In addition to the 16 players remaining from our first round draft board list, 36 other players are added here to give 52 names to watch on Day 2 of the 2019 Draft. Ideally the Steelers will be able to land two of the players named in this post.
QB – Drew Lock (Missouri), Will Grier (West Virginia)
RB – Miles Sanders (Penn St), David Montgomery (Iowa St), Damien Harris (Alabama), Darrell Henderson (Memphis)
WR – Miles Boykin (Notre Dame), Hakeem Butler (Iowa St), Kelvin Harmon (NC State), Parris Campbell (Ohio St), Riley Ridley (Georgia)
TE – Irv Smith (Alabama), Kahale Warring (San Diego St), Jace Sternberger (Texas A&M)
OL – Dalton Risner (Kansas St), Erik McCoy (Texas A&M), Lamont Gaillard (Georgia), Elgton Jenkins (Mississippi St)
DL – Dre’Mont Jones (Ohio State), Trysten Hill (UCF)
EDGE – D’andre Walker (Georgia), Christian Miller (Alabama), Ben Banogu (TCU)
ILB – Te’von Coney (Notre Dame), Vosean Joseph (Florida), David Long (West Virginia)
CB – Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky), Trayvon Mullen (Clemson), David Long (Michigan), Sean Bunting (Central Michigan), Amani Oruwariye (Penn St), Isaiah Johnson (Houston), Kris Boyd (Texas)
S – Deionte Thompson (Alabama), Juan Thornhill (Virginia), Mike Edwards (Kentucky)