Are you tired of mock drafts already? I certainly hope not as we still have quite a wait until the 2016 NFL Draft takes place. On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus released their latest version of first round predictions and Steve Palazzolo has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry 25th overall.
Palazzolo writes of the Steelers selection of Henry:
Even before longtime tight end Heath Miller announced his retirement, the Steelers were in the market for his replacement so nabbing the best option in the draft makes a lot of sense. The sure-handed Henry has only dropped two of 90 catchable passes the last two years, and he has the size and speed to stretch the middle of the field for an already-loaded Pittsburgh passing attack.
Henry, who measured in at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at 6047, 250-pounds, decided not to do most of the drills while in Indianapolis as he has put those off until his pro day. Throughout the offseason, he’s been considered by many draft analysts to be a borderline first-round selection even though most have him as the top tight end prospect in this year’s draft class.
With veteran tight end Heath Miller retiring, the Steelers will have to decide whether or not they feel Jesse James can assume the starting position in the team’s offense. On top of that, they must keep in mind that veteran backup tight end Matt Spaeth is entering the final year of his current contract and that he has recently had minor health issues that forced him to miss playing time last season. On top of all of that, Spaeth is merely a blocking tight end.
Currently, there is some optimism that former undrafted tight end Xavier Grimble can help provide depth next year at the position after spending the entire 2015 season on the team’s practice squad. However, the fact remains that he’s yet to play a single snap in a regular-season NFL game.
Should the Steelers not address the tight end position during free agency, Henry will likely remain a possibility for the Steelers in the first round of the draft.
As far as the rest of PFF’s most recent mock draft goes, they have two cornerbacks who have been mocked to the Steelers in the first round quite a bit so far this offseason, Mackensie Alexander and Eli Apple, being selected 28th and 29th overall.
In PFF’s last mock draft, Palazzolo had the Steelers selecting USC LB/S Su’a Cravens. However, in his latest offering, Palazzolo left Cravens out of the first round entirely.