The Pittsburgh Steelers might not have shown a ton of interest in this year’s class of potential outside linebackers—and perhaps the team’s decision to pick up Bud Dupree’s fifth-year option is indeed an indication of where their thoughts are on this subject—but the fact remains that they will have some intriguing options available to them as we enter the second day of the draft.
There are a number of names that were passed up in the first round that could have gone there, and others who make a lot of sense in the second round who would be excellent value in the third round. With the Steelers now owning three picks on day two, they could use one of them on the position, or even make a trade up to get one.
The biggest name would probably be Harold Landry out of Boston College, a player that I considered mocking to Pittsburgh in the first round had it not been for their lack of interest in the position. He was expected to go yesterday, and some even wanted to see the team trade up for him, as the New Orleans Saints did for Marcus Davenport.
Sam Hubbard from Ohio State is another name that could make some sense based on the value, even if many feel that he would project better as a defensive end in a 4-3. But hey, the reality is that Pittsburgh plays 65-70 percent of its football in sub-packages, where the outside linebacker is like a 4-3 end. The question with him would be his ability to drop, but T.J. Watt is that piece.
Other names more traditionally pegged for the second day of the draft are Lorenzo Carter, Uchenna Nwosu, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, though there are a lot of other names in between. Those are the three that I would probably be the most excited about, but much of this class fits into a pretty similar window.
I think the fact that the Steelers now have three picks on day two make it a lot more likely that they will be able to use one of those picks to find themselves an edge rusher. Inside linebacker and wide receiver are likely the two primary targets, but edge rusher should not be far behind.
Even working under the assumption that they do not need a starter or eventual starter with Watt and Dupree, the depth at the position can certainly use some replenishing with the absence of James Harrison and Arthur Moats. While Anthony Chickillo is serviceable overall, he has not been a significant producer as a pass-rusher, while 2017 seventh-rounder Keion Adams is an unknown after spending his rookie season on injured reserve.
This was not a great draft class in terms of finding blue-chip or guaranteed prospects out on the edge, but there is a pretty good amount of depth, and I think day two is where we find the highest accumulation of talent. Pittsburgh should strongly consider taking advantage of that.