NFL Draft

2018 Drafttek Mock Draft: Steelers Take Leighton Vander Esch In First Round

A seven round mock draft to get us through this lazy Sunday. The fine folks over at unveiled their latest seven round mock draft earlier this week. In the first round, they head in the direction most mocks have been going, the Pittsburgh Steelers taking inside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round. For this mock, for whatever reason, they do not offer up any explanations for their selections.

But he’s one of the most popular picks and someone the team is reportedly very interested in. He and Rashaan Evans could be near the top of their board come draft day, especially after LVE turned in an impressive combine.

In the second round, they give the Steelers a safety, something they’ve done in most of their other drafts. But it’s a new name this time, choosing West Virginia safety Kyzir White. White followed his older brother Kevin White, a first round pick by the Chicago Bears, to WVU as a JUCO transfer and enjoyed a stellar senior season, capping things off with an impressive Senior Bowl week. He will fill the very wide void at safety now that we know Mike Mitchell’s time is done.

A Dave Bryan favorite goes to Pittsburgh in the third round with Auburn OLB Jeff Holland. Holland didn’t test very well at the Combine but filled in well replacing Carl Lawson for the Tigers in 2017, racking up 12.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks. 6.5 of those came versus SEC competition.

The team takes their first offensive play with their first pick in the fifth round, scooping up SMU WR Trey Quinn. A slot receiver with some return potential, he hauled in 114 passes for 13 touchdowns in a breakout junior season in 2017. He’ll fill the void from Eli Rogers after he ended the year with a torn ACL.

Defense continues in the fifth round with NT Kendrick Norton. He’ll replace Daniel McCullers, who is expected to hit free agency. A two year starter, he had 6.5 TFL and a pair of sacks for the Hurricanes, declaring a year early as a junior.

Running back and corner are on the docket in the seventh. First, the Steelers come away with Tennessee RB John Kelly. A squatty back, he averaged just 4.1 YPC but also caught 37 passes for the Vols last year. He’d compete to be the #3 back. Finally, they select UTSA CB Devron Davis. He made 25 tackles and picked off a pair of passes a year ago.

As I’ve praised them before, Draft Tek seems to come away with some of the smartest mock drafts I’ve seen from any national site. This one is no exception. You might not agree with every talent but from a need standpoint, it checks out.

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