We are only a day away, but it’s never too late for mock drafts. I personally intend to publish my full seven-round mock draft for all 32 teams as soon as the draft is completed, and I even offer a 100 percent accuracy guarantee.
This is perhaps (hopefully) the final mock draft we will pass along before the draft actually gets underway, but it is one of the ‘bigger’ ones, in relative terms. ESPN used its team-specific beat writers to make every team’s selection, with Jeremy Fowler choosing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He opted for safety Justin Reid to Pittsburgh in the 28th slot. Reid is a player that they did bring in for a pre-draft visit, and safety is the position that featured their most visits other than inside linebacker, so it’s certainly a very reasonable prediction.
“The Steelers are eyeing inside linebacker or defensive line help, but the high-end playmakers at that position will be gone”, Fowler writes. “They like LSU running back Derrius Guice but are still hoping for a long-term deal with Le’Veon Bell. So the Steelers go with value here, grabbing an uber-athletic center fielder who will bolster the secondary. They like this player and met with him during the pre-draft process”.
It’s worth pointing out that the top four linebackers are all long gone in this mock by the time the Steelers get to choose. Jeff Dickerson selected Roquan Smith for the Chicago Bears at the eighth spot, with John Keim selecting Tremaine Edmunds for the Washington Redskins at 13.
The Los Angeles Chargers take Rashaan Evans at 17, and then the Dallas Cowboys two spots later take Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys have shown a lot of interest in Vander Esch, and lost out on Ryan Shazier back in 2014, so they might not risk losing a player they really like.
And if all of the top four inside linebackers are really gone inside of the top 20, then there is no way the Steelers are going to even much entertain the notion of moving up. They would probably start making phone calls once pick number 19 is on the clock if there were one specific player they were after and were afraid of losing him.
For those wondering, other names gone by that point that could have reasonably been in consideration for Pittsburgh are edge rushers Harold Landry and Sam Hubbard, tight end Hayden Hurst, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, and defensive lineman Ra’Ron Payne.
Both running back Derrius Guice and quarterback Mason Rudolph were available in ESPN’s mock. In fact, Rudolph ends up falling out of the first round, while the other top five quarterbacks all get selected.
Based on how this mock draft unfolded, what do you think of Fowler’s selection for Pittsburgh? Who would you have chosen if not Reid, while taking into consideration players that the Steelers have shown interest in?