Are you almost mock-drafted out? I hope not, because with a little over one week remaining until the real 2017 NFL Draft takes place in Philadelphia, you can count on several more predictions surfacing between now and then and we will be passing several of them on to you in addition to our own.
On Wednesday, Lance Zierlein of the NFL Network released version No. 4 of his mock of the 2017 first round and when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has a somewhat surprising choice for them at 30th overall.
Zierlein has the Steelers selecting Miami tight end David Njoku at 30th overall in the first round and he writes:
Njoku is extremely athletic and talented, but he’s raw and in need of some seasoning. Still, he would be a great selection here.
Zierlein has Njoku as his second and final tight end being selected in the first round as he has Alabama’s O.J. Howard coming off the board 8th overall to the Carolina Panthers.
Njoku, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6040, 246-pounds, caught 64 passes for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns in his two seasons at Miami. His combine performance included him running the 40-yard-dash in 4.64 seconds and he posted a vertical jump of 37 1/2-inches to go along with a broad jump of 11’1”. His short shuttle time was 4.34 seconds and he did 21 reps on the bench.
The Steelers haven’t drafted a tight end in the first round since Heath Miller was selected 30th overall in 2005.
Should Njoku ultimately wind up being selected by the Steelers a week from Thursday, it would undoubtedly be a sign that the team doesn’t have much confidence in the future of current tight end Ladarius Green, who missed 10 regular season games and all three playoff contest last year after signing a four-year, $20 million free agent contract with the team in March of 2016.
As for the Steelers potentially being interested in Njoku, general manager Kevin Colbert did attend the Miami pro day several weeks ago and reportedly dined with tight end and Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.
In case you missed his three previous mock drafts, Zierlein had the Steelers selecting Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis in his first two offerings and Njoku in his third one.