The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly have a pre-draft visit lined up with Boise State inside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
So does everyone else.
First, to the Steelers. According to Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, one of the top dudes to follow this time of year, LVE is scheduled to fly into Pittsburgh for an official “30” visit sometime in the near future. From Pauline:
“He’ll be a busy man the next week, as Vander Esch boarded a plane for Texas after the workout and is making an official visit to see the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow. The Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills round out the linebacker’s official visits over the next week.”
Pauline reports Vander Esch had a very good workout in front of coaches and scouts though did not retest any drills. There’s no reason for him to after a great workout in Indy.
According to the NFL Network’s James Palmer, Vander Esch dined with the Steelers – who sent ILB coach Jerry Olsavsky, not Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert – Monday night before Tuesday’s Pro Day. Palmer says that most of the mid to late round teams have a visit set up with him and he’s becoming one of the draft’s hottest names.
I’m told Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch had dinner with the Steelers last night and will leave for Dallas and a visit with the Cowboys in the morning. He’s visited the Saints and Eagles, and has visits with every team from 12-26 except the Ravens, Rams, Chargers lined up
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) April 3, 2018
You can now add the Steelers to that list, making it 12 teams who are going to meet with him prior to this month’s draft.
It’s certainly not a shock to see Vander Esch come to Pittsburgh instead of Tomlin and Colbert going out to see him. When it’s just one guy they want to look at, bringing him in is a better use of time. While he doesn’t check a lot of the historical boxes, not Power 5, no Pro Day visit from Tomlin and Colbert, it’s obvious they have plenty of interest in him.
Unfortunately, you can say that about the rest of the league. It sure doesn’t sound like he is going to fall to the Steelers at pick 28. Trading up is an option but if they have to jump into the teens, it’ll be very costly, and Pittsburgh is lacking draft pick ammunition this time around. A trade-up can’t be discounted; as we mentioned earlier, if Colbert’s comments about the ILB group are true, maybe he mortgages the future for Vander Esch. But it’ll be difficult to do.
Vander Esch’s impending visit is now the 8th that have either been confirmed by the team or reported elsewhere. You can check out the whole list here, where we are constantly updating the group of 30.