It’s been a long time since I released my first Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 mock draft and that’s mainly because I’ve had a lot of tape to watch. As I mentioned in mock version 1.0, I got a late start on evaluating this year’s draft class due to the Steelers deep playoff run. By this time of year I normally have three or four versions already released.
With the pro days now all wrapped up and pre-draft visits well underway, it’s a perfect time for a new mock draft and while a few names in this version are carry-overs from version 1.0, a few are now in different spots.
As always, I ask that you focus on the players I have mocked to the Steelers and not so much on the round. I understand that a few might go higher or lower than what I have them, but the value in doing these mocks is the overall discussion about the players and whether or not they fit the Steelers.
My next mock draft will be posted in about a week.
1st Round – Pick 30 – 30th Overall – Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU – Would the Steelers dare pick another cornerback in the first round a second consecutive year after not doing so since before Kevin Colbert took over as the team’s general manager? I certainly think it’s possible and especially if one of the top-rated edge-rushers is no longer on the board come time for their selection. There’s a good chance that three or four cornerbacks will go off the board come time for the Steelers to first round selection and even if that happens, I think White might still be available. While not quite six feet, White does check a lot of boxes when it comes to him potentially being the Steelers first round pick. First, he has a SPARQ score over 100. Additionally, he has a lot of experience and productivity under his belt having played in 49 games at LSU in which he registered 6 interceptions, 34 pass breakups and 167 total tackles. He was a team captain at LSU, met with the Steelers at the combine and the Senior Bowl and had Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin and defensive backs Carnell Lake all attend his pro day. White is very versatile as he can play outside and in the slot. Additionally, he can play man and off coverages. While his tackling needs improvement, he’s more than willing to do it on tape. He comes off as a very bright and likeable kid as well when you watch his combine press conference.
Combine: HGT: 5112 | WGT: 192 lbs | 40-YD: 4.47 | 10-YD: 1.52 | BP: 16 | VJ: 32 | BJ: 09’11” | SS: 4.32 | 3C: 6.90
2nd Round – Pick 30 – 62nd Overall – Carl Lawson – OLB – Auburn – I like Lawson a lot but the more I have studied him and compared him to other edge-rushers in this year’s class, the more I think he’s destined to fall into the second round and potentially to the Steelers. Let’s face it, one of a few edge-rusher in this talented class is going to tumble deep into the second round and when you consider Lawson’s injury history, lack of height and short arms, along with his need to develop more as a run defender, he could be the edge that drops to the Steelers in the second round. He can sure get after the passer even though he lacks top-level bend and possesses very heavy hands. He’s also played on his feet at Auburn so dropping in the Steelers defense shouldn’t be a huge transition for him. The Steelers were at his pro day and met with him at his combine. I think they like him and I bet they hope he falls to them in the second round.
Combine: HGT: 6016 | WGT: 261 lbs | 40-YD: 4.67 | 10-YD: 1.60 | BP: 35 | VJ: 33 | BJ: 09’06” | SS: 4.19 | 3C: 7.46
3rd Round – Pick 30 – 94th Overall – Wayne Gallman – RB – Clemson – I’m carrying over Gallman from my first mock draft and I think he’d be a perfect compliment to starter Le’Veon Bell. He’s one of the more well-rounded running backs in this year’s class but with that said, there’s holes in every aspect of his game. Gallman is an upright runner with an above average cutting ability. He’s physical and doesn’t normally avoid head-on contact. He’s smart when it comes to his field vision and that includes recognizing blitzes. He’s battle-tested at the college level having played for Clemson in the ACC. Gallman caught 65 passes at Clemson so he can be used some as a pass catching option out of the backfield. Colbert and Tomlin both attended the Clemson pro day and odds are good that Gallman received some of their attention.
Combine: HGT: 6004 | WGT: 215 lbs | 40-YD: 4.57 | 10-YD: 1.60 | BP: 21 | VJ: 29 1/2 | BJ: 10’00” | SS: 4.28 | 3C: 7.17
3rd Round – Pick 41 – 105th Overall – Marcus Maye – S – Florida – Maye is a day-two safety prospect and while probably best suited to play strong, can probably be used at free some at the NFL level if not asked to play man-to-man. Maye, according to PFF, only missed one tackle last season and did most of his dirty work near the line of scrimmage. His change of direction isn’t overly great, nor is his ability to track the football in the air. Colbert was at the Florida pro day and Maye is reportedly scheduled for a pre-draft visit as well. He should be an asset on special teams during his rookie season and if he develops more, could potentially be a starter down the road, or a reliable backup at the very least.
Pro Day: HGT: 5116 | WGT: 210 lbs | 40-YD: 4.50 | 10-YD: 1.56 | VJ: 33 1/2 | BJ: 09’10” | SS: 4.25 | 3C: 7.10
4th Round – Pick 29 – 135th Overall – Brad Kaaya – QB – Miami – While I personally hope that the Steelers will shy away from drafting a quarterback this year, I think they ultimately will. Not only were Colbert and Tomlin present for the Miami pro day this year and met with Kaaya, they have since brought the quarterback in for a pre-draft visit. Kaaya’s game is full of flaws and if you have read our scouting report on him you know what they are so need for me to re-hash them. He needs a lot of developing but has the potential to became the No. 2 in Pittsburgh if he reaches his ceiling. Like I stated, I’m not in love with the idea of the Steelers drafting a quarterback this year but if they do, Kaaya figures to be just above the line of waiting until next year.
Combine: HGT: 6037 | WGT: 214 lbs
5th Round – Pick 30 – 173rd Overall – George Kittle – TE – Iowa – I love me some Kittle as he is one of the few draft crushes that I have this year. He’s more of an old school tight end but with that said, has shown the ability to stretch the field both outside and inside the numbers. He’s a ferocious blocker despite being a tad undersized. While Kittle will likely never be a No. 1 tight end in the NFL, he should do fine as a No. 2. He had a few durability concerns at Iowa and wasn’t used much in their passing game. If he can stay healthy and contribute on special teams, Kittle can be a four-year contributor in Pittsburgh.
Combine: HGT: 6036 | WGT: 247 lbs | 40-YD: 4.52 | 10-YD: 1.59 | BP: 18 | VJ: 35 | BJ: 11’00”
6th Round – Pick 30 – 213th Overall – Robert Davis – WR – Georgia State – Davis is perhaps my second biggest draft crush this year from an upside perspective and if you’ve seen his tape, it’s probably easy to tell why. The big-bodied wide receiver not only has reliable hands as evidenced by his few drops last season, he also has some speed. Davis, however, is a very raw player still and it shows in his route running as not only does he round off his routes constantly, he has trouble getting separation at times due to wasted steps and a poor get-off. Even so, he still managed to catch 222 passes during his college career for 3,391 yards and 17 touchdowns, albeit against low quality competition for the most part. Davis might need a year on an NFL practice squad, but he definitely is worth some development time and it would be interesting to see if Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann could get him to reach his full potential.
Combine: HGT: 6025 | WGT: 219 lbs | 40-YD: 4.44 | 10-YD: 1.58 | BP: 19 | VJ: 41 | BJ: 11’04” | SS: 4.28 | LS: 11.48 | 3C: 6.82
7th Round – Pick 30 – 248th Overall – Javancy Jones – ILB – Jackson State – Jones is a small school linebacker with not a lot of tape to watch. He can play on the edge or off the ball and if he lands in Pittsburgh, might be asked to play inside linebacker. It’s hard to gauge where Jones will ultimately be drafted, but I think it will be late. I’m still trying to learn more about him after it was reported he’s scheduled to make a pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh soon. If you’ve seen Jones’ highlight video that’s making the rounds, you’ve seen as much of him as I have.
Pro Day: HGT: 6010 | WGT: 245 lbs | 40-YD: 4.62 | 10-YD: 1.65 | BP: 26 | VJ: 32 | 09’03”