I definitely want to revisit this right before the draft kicks off, so remind me Steelers’ Nation, but for this lazy Sunday, I wanted to briefly run through if there is any consensus in the mock draft world for where the Pittsburgh Steelers are headed. It’s all ultimately meaningless of course but helps frame what the national media is at least thinking and if they get things right come the end of April.
So we’ll go through the more popular mock draft outlets and see what they’re thinking for the Steelers at 30th overall.
CBS Sports’ R.J. White – Michigan S Jabrill Peppers
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah – Wisconsin OLB TJ Watt
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein – Miami (FL) TE David Njoku
Walter Football – Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer
Fox Sports’ Dieter Kurtenbach – LSU CB Tre White
News Day – Auburn OLB Carl Lawson
NJ.com – Temple OLB Haason Reddick
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr – Tennessee OLB Derek Barnett
ESPN’s Todd McShay – Washington WR John Ross
Clearly, the only consensus here is…there isn’t one. Only four of the nine mock drafts had the team taking arguably their biggest need – outside linebacker – and one of them still thinks Reddick could drop all the way to 30, something that seems highly, highly unlikely at this point.
Defense is the obvious focus though and frankly, I’m surprised only one mock has the team looking at a cornerback. Despite all the QB buzz, only one mock I saw had them actually pulling the trigger. Walter Football has had the Steelers taking Deshaun Watson and now Kizer in his most recent mocks, often with QBs going to teams ahead of the Steelers. The Houston Texans’ chances of taking one have increased following Tony Romo’s retirement.
When we get close to draft day, the mocks tend to align as teams finalize their boards and favorites began to leak out to the media. Artie Burns wasn’t talked about much until the very end of the draft process. Three NFL Network analysts, including Jeremiah, had the Steelers taking Burns a week before the draft took place.
Of course, as Carnell Lake told us, the team had their sights set on William Jackson III until the Cincinnati Bengals took him one pick ahead of Pittsburgh. Jackson went on IR with a torn pectoral while Burns showed slow but real improvement during his rookie year.