ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his three-round “Grade A” mock draft for 2018 on Wednesday and his three selections for the Pittsburgh Steelers are certain to create some discussion.
Kiper has the Steelers selecting Boston College edge-rusher Harold Landry in the first-round, San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny in the second-round and Penn State cornerback Chris Campbell in the third-round, and below is his summary of the three picks.
Pittsburgh’s top need is linebacker — inside and outside. Ryan Shazier’s football future is in doubt, which leaves a hole in the middle of the Steelers’ 3-4. Maybe Jon Bostic can be a good one-year stopgap while the Steelers use a later pick on competition. In this mock, though, I thought Landry was too talented to pass up. He’s an edge rusher who had 16.5 sacks in 2016 but struggled with injuries in 2017 and wasn’t as productive. He came back from his injury at the combine and put up outstanding testing numbers. Penny is more insurance in case the Steelers decide to not pay Le’Veon Bell. They took James Conner on Day 3 last year, but he barely played as a rookie. Penny is more of a big-play threat than Conner. Campbell is a bigger corner whom I’ve heard teams like as a late Day 2, early Day 3 flier.
As for Landry, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6023, 252-pounds, he ran his 40-yard-dash in 4.64-seconds while in Indianapolis. His pSPARQ score of 134.7 that he registered at the combine certainly should be attractive to the Steelers as will the 25 sacks he registered during his four seasons at Boston College. Landry’s career sack total in college would have likely been well over 30 had he not missed several games during his senior season because of serious ankle sprain.
Kiper mocking a running back to the Steelers in the second-round is a bit of a surprise. Penny, who measured in at the combine at 5110, 220-pounds, ran his 40-yard-dash in 4.46 while in Indianapolis. He rushed for 3,656 yards and 38 touchdowns on 488 total carries in his four seasons at San Diego State in addition to catching 42 passes for 479 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is expected to be drafted in either the second or third round this year.
As for Campbell, who measured in at this year’s combine at 6006, 195-pounds, he was unable to do anything in Indianapolis due to a hamstring injury. At his pro day, however, Campbell registered a 40-yard-dash time of 4.55-seconds, a vertical jump of 41-inches and an 11’03” broad jump. In his four seasons at Penn State, Campbell registered 102 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 19 passes defensed and a forced fumble.