Rd. 1, Pk. 28
Harold Landry, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Boston College
I'm sure the Steelers would love to take either Leighton Vander Esch or Rashaan Evans with this pick, but both happen to be off the board. That's the bad news. The good news is that a very talented cornerback prospect fell to them, as Harold Landry could help their edge rush.
The Steelers selected T.J. Watt last year, but they are unhappy with Bud Dupree on the other side. Charlie Campbell reported that Landry is in play for Pittsburgh.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Leighton Vander Esch/Rashaan Evans, LB - The Steelers reportedly like Vander Esch, and I have to believe that Evans would be in the conversation as well.
2. Lamar Jackson, QB - Pittsburgh is another team that could trade up for Jackson. I had the Steelers doing so in some of my early mock drafts.
Pick change; previously Joshua Jackson, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 28
Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
Outside of linebacker, it could've been argued that safety was Pittsburgh's need heading into the offseason. Morgan Burnett was signed, but he's just a short-term fix.
Rd. 3, Pk. 28
Joel Iyiegbuniwe, ILB, Western Kentucky
The Steelers missed out on Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans at No. 28. They couldn't get Malik Jefferson in the second round. This is the best they can do, in this scenario, to replace Ryan Shazier.
Rd. 5, Pk. 11
Dorian O'Daniel, ILB, Clemson
The Steelers needed a linebacker even before Ryan Shazier's injury, so they could double up at the position.
Rd. 5, Pk. 28
Russell Gage, WR, LSU
There are reports circulating about the Steelers potentially trading Martavis Bryant, so here's a possible replacement.
Pick change; previously Justin Watson, WR
Rd. 7, Pk. 2
Mock is currently being worked on. Last updated 2 month(s) 25 day(s) ago
Rd. 7, Pk. 28
Greg Gilmore, DT/3-4DE/NT, LSU
The Steelers may use their final pick on some depth for their defensive line, and this is a player they've shown interest in.
The Steelers could start planning for life after Big Ben. Sources have told me Pittsburgh likes Kizer.
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set and the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve.
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well-thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL before the season. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Josh Jones, S, N.C. State
The Steelers could use another safety.
Jones (6-2, 215) was a solid player for the Wolfpack over the past three seasons. He is a strong safety type for the NFL and plays with an aggressive and relentless nature. Jones had 109 tackles with eight passes batted and three interceptions as a junior before deciding to skip his senior year. He recorded 63 tackles as a sophomore with 56 stops in 2014. Jones snagged four interceptions as a redshirt freshman.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
The Steelers could use a receiving tight end for their offense.
Butt had 46 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 before suffering some knee tears in his bowl game. He contributed as a freshman (20-235-2) and sophomore (21-211-2), but took his game to another level under head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015. Butt notched 51 receptions for 654 yards with three touchdowns that season.
The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder is a good receiver down the seam and uses his size to his advantage. Butt looked very good as a receiver and pass blocker in Harbaugh's pro-style offense. Butt could stand to get nastier and improve his run blocking; however, he did show progress on that front as a senior.
The Steelers could use an edge rusher, and Phillips could be a steal.
In 2016, Phillips recorded 56 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble. Some sources absolutely love Phillips, but others are lukewarm on him. The teams that love Phillips (6-3, 237) say he is super athletic and twitchy. They feel that his speed and athleticism are very similar to Leonard Floyd. Like Floyd at Georgia, Phillips can struggle somewhat on run downs. However, they feel that he is a very gifted, natural pass-rushing talent. They see him as a potential early rounder. As one could expect, the teams that aren't in love with Phillips don't see him as a high pick.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
The Steelers could use some wide receiver depth and have shown interest in Reynolds.
Reynolds totaled 61 receptions for 1,039 yards and 12 scores in 2016. He was a reliable receiver for the Aggies. Reynolds (6-2, 187) put together a quality week at the Senior Bowl, too. He showed the ability to get some late separation and is excellent on 50-50 contested catches. In 2015, Reynolds caught 51 passes for 907 yards and five touchdowns. He had a quality 2014 season with 52 receptions for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
The Steelers grab a backup running back.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
Pittsburgh grabs more cornerback competition and has shown interest in Myrick.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
The Steelers hosted Adams. He could provide them with some edge-rushing competition.
The Steelers could use more linebacker talent, and hopefully, Evans will pair with Ryan Shazier in a year's time to give Pittsburgh a nasty tandem on the inside. <br> <br>
In 2017, Evans totaled 74 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, six sacks, one forced fumble and three passes broken up. The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder possesses an impressive skill set with size and speed. The senior did well rushing off the edge for Alabama in 2017. Evans was a backup in 2014 and 2015 before rotating onto the field during the 2016 season. As a junior, he totaled 53 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, two passes broken up and one forced fumble. Some teams have medical concerns with Evans.
The Carolina Panthers look to trade down here after an adequate pass rushing or receiving talent is not available to them. Pittsburgh attempts to trade up to nab their middle linebacker of the future after the unfortunate injury to Ryan Shazier last season. In this trade, Pittsburgh moves up to 24 (740), while Carolina receives the 28 (660), 148 (31.8), 165 (25), and 2019 5th (15) = 731.
The Steelers have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL as they look to contend for the AFC title. The most pressing needs is at the middle linebacker position, although long-term thoughts are also in mind with the inevitable retirement of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the near future and upcoming loss of Le'Veon Bell after the 2018 season due to being placed on the franchise tag for the second year in a row. While trying to win another championship during the Ben Roethlisberger era, Pittsburgh must address the middle linebacker position.
Leighton Vander Esch has a first round value and would be the third at his position to be drafted. Rashaan Evans of Alabama would also be available, but after having dinner with the team, Vander Esch seems to be the favored of the two prospects. Vander Esch fits the mold of linebacker that Pittsburgh looks for by being instinctual, long and rangy, and having quick change of direction. Vander Esch was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year after accumulating 141 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. During the Las Vegas Bowl, he recorded 12 tackles, 3 for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.65 40, 6.88 3 cone drill, and 4.15 20 yard shuttle.
Some people will be in a huff over slotting a safety to the Steelers, but hear me out; I'm not entirely sure that Sean Davis can remain healthy, and, further, I believe he is more built to be a long-term FS as opposed to SS. Davis' play has been at times brilliant, and at times...confusingly bad. And as far as Mike Mitchell is concerned, well, he's been adequate at free safety, but he's also flown off the handle whining about safety rules in the past year, so you don't know what you're going to get there moving forward.
That means that if a player like Ronnie Harrison, who I believe has been maddeningly underrated and can smash people into oblivion, were to become available at the tail end of the first, I don't think the Steelers would feel any obligation to their current safeties. Harrison reminds me a lot, just on his play-style and hard-nosed tackling, of a certain long-haired star safety the Steelers had in the past.
The Steelers could use a safety to pair with Sean Davis. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Reid has played really well in 2017, impressing NFL scouts. Sources who are tough graders said they thought Reid had first-round potential for the 2018 NFL Draft. They say that Reid doesn't have Earl Thomas-like range as a free safety or Kam Chancellor-like size as a strong safety, but he does everything well. Reid is a good free or strong safety with the ability to run and tackle. They say that he is a polished, clean, good all-around safety similar to HaHa Clinton-Dix coming out of Alabama. <br> <br>
Reid has 79 tackles with three passes broken up and five interceptions in 2017. He totaled 57 tackles with seven breakups last season. The junior is the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2013.
Even if Ryan Shazier makes it back, the Steelers could use more linebacker talent next to him. <br> <br>
Jefferson totaled 110 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He played his best football in 2017 and worked hard for Texas. In 2016, he recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. Jefferson (6-2, 236) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackles with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate. <br> <br>
The junior possesses a nice combination of size and speed, plus a ton of athletic upside. However, some sources have said they've heard that Jefferson doesn't love football. They say that can be seen in his work ethic, preparation and lack of production. Jefferson was supposedly unhappy with how he was used by the previous staff, and that led to that perception, but either side of the argument brings concerns for NFL evaluators.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Malik Jefferson Going to Steelers
Rd. 1, Pk. 28
Terrell Edmunds, S
I didn't get to use Kielbasa-Mode for the Seahawks' pick, so here we go! What a wonderful night to have a second Millen grade.
This is a mega reach. Teams expected Edmunds to be available in the second, maybe even third round. He's not his brother; he's not nearly the athlete, nor the player. Yet, the Steelers are taking him because they have an immense need at linebacker - I imagine he'll make the move there, much like Deone Bucannon - and all of the first-round prospects at the position were taken already. Selecting Edmunds over someone like Harold Landry seems insane to me.
Rd. 2, Pk. 28
James Washington, WR
The Steelers struck gold with the previous second-round receiver they took in JuJu Smith-Schuster. They needed to find another wideout in the wake of the Martavis Bryant trade. Washington could have been chosen early in the second round, so there's a big of value here with this selection. I think the Steelers had better options like Justin Reid, but I think this is a good pick.
Rd. 3, Pk. 12
Mason Rudolph, QB
Ugh, you'd think the Steelers would've learned their lesson from Landry Jones. How many lollipop throwers from the Big XII do they need to draft before they know to stay away from them? I mean, why not just trade for Bryce Petty while they're at it? Mason Rudolph wasn't even one of the top two quarterbacks available. I wouldn't absolutely hate this if the Steelers didn't trade up, but they did, needlessly.
Rd. 3, Pk. 28
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT
Chukwuma Okorafor is one of those "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane" sort of players. He's an athletic, powerful tackle who should be a much better player than he is, but he's not motivated. The Steelers might just be able to coach him up, so I don't hate this pick. However, Okorafor has a high chance of busting.
Rd. 5, Pk. 11
Marcus Allen, S
The Steelers just obtained the best Penn State safety, though Troy Apke was taken earlier. Marcus Allen is similar to Terrell Edmunds in that he's a safety who may have to move to linebacker in the pros. Either way, Pittsburgh needed help at both positions, so I like this pick.
Rd. 5, Pk. 28
Jaylen Samuels, RB
I thought Jaylen Samuels could go in the third round, but it seems like he fell to the fifth frame because he doesn't have a natural position. However, Samuels is an athletic player who is a Swiss Army Knife type who can contribute in multiple facets. I love this pick for Pittsburgh.
Rd. 7, Pk. 28
Joshua Frazier, DT/3-4DE
Joshua Frazier might be able to stick as a backup nose tackle. He was a backup for Alabama because of the talent there, but it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if he were able to make the 53-man roster.