With the annual Senior Bowl week now winding down we’re sure to start seeing a new round of mock drafts hit the inter-webs in the coming days and weeks and especially prior to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine taking place. On Friday, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com released his first mock draft of 2018 and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting LSU running back Derrius Guice with the 28th overall pick in the first round.
Brooks writes of the selection of Guice:
It might be time for the Steelers to move on from Le’Veon Bell. His contract demands could result in him receiving the franchise tag again this offseason. Guice gives the team a solid backup plan for his potential departure this year or next year.
I wonder if Brooks has heard the recent quotes from Bell concerning his current contract negotiations with the Steelers. Regardless, even if the Steelers fail to sign Bell to a new long term contract prior to the March franchise tag designation deadline, he’s likely to get it a second-consecutive year. If, however, the Steelers do ultimately decide to let Bell walk off via free agency, then I suppose there’s a very slim chance that a running back could be selected by them in the first round.
Brooks’ poor mock draft selection for the Steelers aside, Guice is certainly a fine player and one likely to be selected somewhere in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.
During his three seasons at LSU, Guice, who reportedly measures in at around 5-11, 212-pounds, rushed for 3,074 yards and 29 touchdowns on 471 total carries. 1,251 of those rushing yards along with 11 of those rushing touchdowns came during the 2017 season. Guice, however, only caught 32 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns during his college career with 18 of those receptions coming last season. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native also returned kickoffs at LSU during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He’ll reportedly turn 21 years of age in June, well after this year’s draft.
Guice has quite a backstory that includes his father being murdered roughly 15 years ago and his brother being arrested and charged with murder counts roughly a year and a half ago.
Personally, I can’t see the Steelers drafting a running back this year in the first few rounds and especially if Bell is ultimately signed to a new long term contract or franchise tagged.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Brooks’ first mock draft of 2018 is the fact that he has two of this year’s perceived top inside linebackers, Georgia’s Roquan Smith and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans, going 27th and 31st overall, respectively.