ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay recently released their annual three-round mock draft in which they alternated selections and as is usually the case, it produced some debatable selections for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the first-round, McShay selected for the Steelers and he has them taking Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes with the 28th overall pick.
McShay writes of the selection:
Hughes ran only a 4.52 40-yard dash at the combine, but he’s a good cover corner. Pittsburgh still needs help on the back end.
Lazy, lazy, lazy on the part of McShay..
Not only is it way off base for McShay to mock a cornerback to the Steelers in the first-round from a non Power-5 conference school whose pro-day wasn’t attended by general manager Kevin Colbert, he was just a one-year starter at Central Florida to boot. Additionally, Hughes, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 5101, 189-pounds, has a perceived minor character concern stemming from a 2015 misdemeanor assault charge he received following an altercation in the early morning hours at a fraternity house near the North Carolina campus while he was enrolled there. Hughes ultimately was suspended by North Carolina and then proceeded to leave the program. After playing the 2016 season at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, Hughes then transferred to Central Florida for the 2017 season. He became a full-time starter by the second game of the season and ultimately led Central Florida in passes defended and interceptions as a junior.
In the second-round, McShay again picked for the Steelers and this time he has them selecting Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison and he writes:
This team gave up 45 points to Jacksonville at home in the playoffs, so I’m fine doubling down on help in the secondary.
At one point during the offseason Harrison was being mocked to the Steelers in the first-round. The accomplished safety did have his pro-day attended by Colbert back in March so that’s worth noting. Harrison, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6020, 207-pounds, tied for a team-best 74 tackles this past season at Alabama and recorded three interceptions. In his three seasons at Alabama Harrison recorded 177 total tackles to go along with seven total interceptions and 17 total pass breakups in 44 games played in. He was selected to Sports Illustrated’s All-American squad as a second teamer this year and recognized as a First Team All-SEC honoree by the Associated Press and earned a second-team selection by the SEC conference coaches.
As luck would have it, McShay also was the one to pick for the Steelers in the third-round of his tag team mock with Kiper. This time McShay has the Steelers selecting Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell and he writes:
Jewell doesn’t have nearly the athleticism of Ryan Shazier, but is more athletic than he gets credit for.
Jewel, who measured in at the combine at 6010, 234-pounds, posted a pSPARQ score of 119.8 while in Indianapolis.
Already 23 years of age, Jewel registered 433 total tackles of which 28 resulted in lost yardage in his four seasons at Iowa. He had 10 sacks during his college career to go along with 6 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. He was the first three-time team captain in Iowa history and a three-year starter on his way to playing in 50 total games during his college career.
While McShay did address two of the Steelers biggest needs with his three selections, I have a funny feeling that none of these players ultimately wind up being selected by Pittsburgh. However, of the three, I think Harrison might have the best shot.
If you would like to listen to the entire mock, you can do so below: