With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine long behind us and the bulk of free agency now over I suppose it’s finally time for me to release my second Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft of the offseason so here it is below for you in all of its glory.
I once again chose not to use a mock draft simulator as I just don’t like going that route. I have, however, once again included my goals for this second mock draft ahead of the selections. As usual, I ask that you focus on the individual players I selected for the Steelers while critiquing this mock draft instead of the rounds they were taken in. Tell me what you like and dislike about each of the players I have mocked to the Steelers and which players you would have selected instead.
If all you want to do is comment that “player X won’t be there” or “that’s too early/late for that player”, you really aren’t helping out the discussion.
Goals entering this mock draft: As usual, I wanted to hit on as many immediate positional needs in the first several rounds of this draft and that meant me addressing inside linebacker, wide receiver, dimebacker/safety and outside linebacker within the first part of the mock. Due to the Steelers signing cornerback Steven Nelson in free agency and combined with the likelihood that cornerback Joe Haden will get a contract extension later this offseason, I chose to push back the cornerback position until later in the draft.
Outside of a few underclassmen, the other goal of mine for this mock was to only choose seniors who had participated in this year’s Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine game as the Steelers have a long history of drafting mainly from the three annual college all-star game rosters. Additionally, even though I would like to see the Steelers draft mostly defense this year, I wanted to mock in a few offensive positions for balance as we usually see the team do the same. That’s why I mixed in an interior offensive lineman and a running back in the later rounds. Additionally, I felt the need to waste a late-round pick on a kicker in this mock to see how it would look.
Finally, Alex Kozora and I will address my second mock draft of 2019 more in-depth during the Tuesday podcast, so make sure to tune in for that.
With all the disclaimers that I’m sure you failed to read out of the way, here is my second mock draft of 2019. Remember, this mock is what I think the Steelers might do.
1st Round (Pick No. 20 overall) – Devin Bush – ILB – Michigan – 5110, 234 lbs. – Bush certainly checks off a lot of boxes when it comes to him potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year. He has an NFL bloodline, was a team captain, is entering the draft as an underclassman, played for a Power 5 school, and possesses a seemingly good character. Bush’s athleticism is fantastic, and it certainly shows up on tape. The only real strikes against Bush include him being under 6’0″ and him not lighting up the defensive stat sheet during college. He’s a great sideline to sideline player and has a knack for getting after the quarterback as a blitzer. He’s also a reliable tackler. I’m probably one of just a few at this point who believes Bush might last until the Steelers first-round pick at No. 20 overall. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine Bush not being the Steelers selection this year. The Steelers, by the way, sent a very large contingent to the Michigan pro day this year and that group included general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin.
2nd Round (Pick No. 52 overall) – Chase Winovich – Outside Linebacker – Michigan – 6026, 256 lbs. – One can’t watch tape of Bush at Michigan without noticing the play of Winovich, who registered 18 total sacks in the 44 games that he played in dating back to 2015 and 44.5 total tackles that resulted in lost yardage. He also registered one pass breakup to go along with 3 total forced fumbles. Winovich is a bit older and didn’t play on his feet much at Michigan. He’ll have to do that as an outside linebacker in the NFL. Another concern related to Winovich is that he’ll be 24 by draft day. The next Clay Matthews? I don’t know about that, but I do know that the Steelers could use another outside linebacker early in this year’s draft. If they don’t get Winovich early, they may have to wait a few rounds.
3rd Round (Pick No. 66 overall) – Darnell Savage Jr. – Safety – Maryland – 5106, 198 lbs. – Savage is a do-it-all defensive back and probably best suited to play in the box as a dime defender. He can cover in the slot against wide receivers and tight ends and is also good at tracking running backs out of the backfield. He’s stout against the run and recognized as being a very good defensive communicator during his time at Maryland. Savage, who was also a 2019 Senior Bowl participant, intercepted 8 passes during his college career in addition to registering 182 total tackles. Savage’s 128.2 pSPARQ score will certainly make him attractive to several NFL teams in the early rounds of the draft. He’s reportedly being brought in for a pre-draft visit in April to boot.
3rd Round (Pick No. 83 overall) – Charles Omenihu – Defensive End – Texas – 6053, 280 lbs. – The Steelers figure to select a defensive lineman at some point during this year’s draft and Omenihu has a great shot at being that player and especially now that we know that Colbert attended this year’s Texas pro day. Omenihu can play up and down the defensive line and that includes being able to rush from either side. He also played some on his feet at Texas and looked to be fairly stout against the run. Omenihu was a Senior Bowl participant this year to boot and that’s another plus for him when it comes to him potentially being drafted by the Steelers. Omenihu registered 117 total tackles during his college career of which 30.5 resulted in lost yardage. 17 of those were sacks and he also had 4 forced fumbles and 2 passes defensed during his college career. The Steelers are reportedly bringing him for a pre-draft visit.
4th Round (Pick No. 122 overall) – Miles Boykin – Wide Receiver – Notre Dame – 6036, 220 lbs. – Boykin declared for this year’s draft as an underclassman and has since helped his stock with a solid showing at the annual scouting combine. Boykin mostly played the X receiver position at Notre Dame and that’s exactly the kind of wide receiver the Steelers will likely be looking to draft this year after trading away wide receiver Antonio Brown a few weeks ago. While Boykin doesn’t separate much from defenders on deep routes, he’s good at getting open underneath and using his body to box out defenders. He possesses a large catch radius and usually catches the football away from his body with very few drops. He tracks the deep ball well in the air and is a very willing run blocker. Boykin is still very raw and thus will need some time to develop. He does, however, possess a nice ceiling that has yet to be scratched. During his college career at Notre Dame, Boykin registered 77 total receptions for 1,206 yards and 11 touchdowns in the 37 games that he played in. 59 of those receptions for 872 yards and 8 touchdowns came this past season. 37 of his college catches gained 15 yards or more and 11 of them resulted in gains of 25 yards or more.
5th Round (Pick No. 141 overall) – Foster Moreau – Tight End – LSU – 6042, 250 lbs. – Moreau’s best fit in the NFL is likely as a second tight end. Not a flashy receiver or blocker, but adequate in both areas and he should be able to contribute some on special teams to boot. He was a team leader at LSU and has impeccable character to go along with a strong football IQ. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Steelers draft a tight end somewhere in this year’s draft and they could do worse than Moreau, who was a senior bowl participant this year, in the later rounds. Moreau had 52 receptions for 629 yards and six touchdowns during his college career at LSU and was even issued the coveted No. 18 jersey as a senior. Colbert and Tomlin were both at the LSU pro day this year.
6th Round (Pick No. 175 overall) – Michael Jackson Sr. – Cornerback – Miami – 6005, 210 lbs. – Jackson is a press-man outside cornerback that also platys aggressively against the run. A 2019 East-West Shrine game participant, Jackson, who enters draft month with a pSPARQ score of 130.9, registered 4 interceptions and 12 pass breakups during his final two seasons at Miami. Jackson only started 23 games in four seasons at Miami. At worst, he should be a fine special teams player and backup cornerback in the NFL.
6th Round (Pick No. 192 overall) – Cole Tracy – Kicker – LSU – 5103, 184 lbs. – Hey, Colbert used a sixth-round draft pick on a long snapper a few years ago so why wouldn’t he use another sixth-round draft pick on perhaps the best kicker in this year’s class? The Steelers really could use another kicker other than Matt McCrane to push incumbent kicker Chris Boswell in training camp and the preseason.
6th Round (Pick No. 207 overall) – Nick Allegretti – Guard/Center -Illinois – 6041, 308 lbs. – Allegretti is a versatile offensive lineman who participated in the East-West Shrine game this year. He played both guard and center at Illinois where he was also a team captain his final two seasons. He had 36 straight starts to end his college career.
7th Round (Pick No. 219 overall) – Tony Pollard – Running Back/Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – Memphis – 5115, 200 lbs. – I’m not bullish on the Steelers addressing the running back position in this year’s draft but for offensive/defensive balance in this mock, I’ll do just that in the final round. However, if a running back is drafted this year by the Steelers, I would like to see them select one with some versatility and Pollard fits that criteria. Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner knows quite a bit about Pollard with him being a Memphis product and he was even at the school’s recent pro day. Pollard, who was also at this year’s Senior Bowl, is sort of this year’s Jaylen Samuels as he lined up all over the place at Memphis. He’s a very good kickoff returner to boot and can cover punts and kickoffs on the other side of special teams.