NFL Draft

Kiper, McShay Two-Round Dueling Mock Drafts Send Steelers In Opposite Directions

Like it or not, you still have three full weeks of mock drafts to endure and on Wednesday, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay released dueling two-round mocks and they each had some interesting selections for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kiper’s two mock picks for the Steelers include Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley being selected in the first-round and USC edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu being the team’s second-round selection and below is what he had to say about both picks.

Pittsburgh has JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant (and Antonio Brown, of course), but Bryant is a free agent in 2019. This position isn’t set long term, and teams need multiple pass-catchers. The Steelers could also look closely at a linebacker.

I mentioned linebacker as a need for the Steelers, and Nwosu was nearly unblockable down the stretch of the season for the Trojans. The edge rusher had eight sacks in his final six games.

As for Ridley, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6004, 189-pounds, he caught 224 passes for 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns in his three seasons at Alabama. He ran his 40-yard-dash in Indianapolis in 4.43-seconds but only posted a 31-inch vertical jump. He is regarded as one of the top wide receivers in this year’s draft class.

As for Nwosu, who measured in at the combine at 6021, 251-pounds, he recorded 169 total tackles of which 20.5 resulted in lost yardage in his four seasons at USC. He also registered 12.5 sacks and an interception and forced fumble in addition to 19 total defensed passes.

McShay went a different route with his two mocked selections for the Steelers as he has them taking Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes in the first-round and Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in the second with the 60th overall selection. Below is what he had to say about those two selections.

Pittsburgh could use help in the secondary. Hughes might slip because he ran just a decent 40 time in Indy, but he’s a ball hawk with good man-to-man cover skills.

Gesicki crushed his combine workout and would give Pittsburgh another versatile option in an extremely talented offense.

As for Hughes, who measured in at the combine at 5101, 189-pounds, he only played one season at Central Florida after playing the 2015 season at North Carolina. An altercation at a fraternity while at North Carolina led to Hughes being charged with misdemeanor assault and he ultimately left school and played his 2016 season at a junior college. Last season at Central Florida Hughes recorded 49 total tackles, 4 interceptions, a forced fumble and 11 total defensed passes.

Steelers fans probably already know quite a bit about Gesicki, who measured in at the combine at 6054, 247-pounds. In his four seasons at Penn State, the athletic tight end registered 129 receptions for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns. At the combine his workout numbers resulted in an amazing pSPARQ score of 150.0 and he is expected to be one of the first few tight ends drafted this year.

These two mocks really couldn’t be much different and neither of them include the Steelers selecting an inside linebacker or safety, the perceived two biggest needs of the team, with either of their two selections. Nwosu, however, might have enough versatility to play off-the-ball at the NFL level, for whatever it’s worth.

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