Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated released his latest mock on Friday and the well-known draft analyst curiously has the Pittsburgh Steelers using their first-round selection this year on an offensive lineman
Farrar has the Steelers selecting Stanford guard Josh Garnett with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and he writes:
The Steelers struck gold with a Stanford guard in David DeCastro in 2012, so why not go back to the same vein? Garnett is unquestionably the most physically dominating guard in this class, and he may be the most intimidating lineman overall. An earth-mover who excels in man-blocking and basic zone concepts, Garnett would be a perfect fit for the Steelers’ power run game, and over time, he looks to be an elite pass blocker as well, once he gets a few technique fixes together.
It’s been quite a while since we talked about Garnett, who the Steelers met with at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. In fact, you hardly see him show up in mock drafts ever since that event took place.
Ever since the Steelers re-signed left guard Ramon Foster to three-year contract, it’s easy to speculate that the team won’t be spending an early-round selection on an offensive lineman. While the Steelers have brought in two offensive linemen to Pittsburgh for pre-draft visits this month, both are predominantly tackle types who could quite possibly play guard as well at the NFL level. Both of those visitors are also widely regarded as being later round selections, however.
While Garnett is indeed one of the top guards in this year’s draft class, it’s hard to label him as guaranteed first-round selection this year. While I think he’s a great prospect who would look great in a Steelers uniform, I can’t see them selecting him in the first round not only because they re-signed Foster, but also because they have so many needs on the defensive side of the football as well.