With the Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly done making relatively big-time moves in free agency after the signings of cornerback Steven Nelson, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and linebacker Mark Barron, I felt it was time to debut the second version of my 7-round mock draft for the Steelers.
Coming out of free agency, I feel pretty good with where the Steelers are at overall with their roster construction, and I feel it gives them some position flexibility heading into the 2019 NFL Draft in Tennessee. Let’s see how this shakes out.
Here we go.
First round, 20th overall — Byron Murphy/CB/Washington/5’11”, 190
Analysis: Despite signing Steven Nelson in free agency, his contract makes it appear to be nothing more than a one-year flier. Now, that doesn’t mean the Steelers are only hoping for one year out of Nelson, but they can’t go into the draft punting on cornerback again.
Murphy is a physical cornerback with high-end ball skills and great instincts and awareness for the position. He’d likely sit early on, but I could see him working his way onto the field down the stretch.
Realistically, I think this pick could come down to him or LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. I prefer the more physical corner in Murphy, rather than the cover guy in Williams.
Others Considered: CB Greedy Williams, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, EDGE Charles Omenihu
Previous Selection: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Second round, 52nd overall — Darnell Savage/S/Maryland/5’11”, 198
Analysis: The Steelers really need to fix the DIME backer position, and Savage fits the role. Pittsburgh has shown heavy interest in Savage and it makes sense; he’s a physical, downhill thumper at safety that is incredibly athletic and can play all over the field.
Savage can play two-high zone, slot corner, or line up against tight ends and running backs in coverage. I have no doubt he’ll be able to hold up in the box against the run too. This seems like a perfect marriage.
Others Considered: EDGE Chase Winovich, S Juan Thornill, LB Blake Cashman
Previous Selection: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
Third round, 66th overall — Foster Moreau/TE/LSU/6’4”, 253
Analysis: While at LSU, Foster Moreau was used mostly as a blocking tight end, and man was he really good at it. While I didn’t see the pass catching threat, Moreau tested very well at the combine and could be considered a sleeper tight end, simply because he didn’t have much college production.
Moreau could right away slot in as the No. 2 tight end opposite Vance McDonald, giving the Steelers a high-end blocking tight end to try and establish the run early. Moreau would obviously see his production as a pass catcher increase with Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the football as well.
Others Considered: TE Jace Sternberger, EDGE Ben Banogu, S Amani Hooker
Previous selection: TE Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
Third round, 83rd overall —David Long Jr./West Virginia/5’11”, 227
Analysis: While the Steelers did sign Barron to a big money contract in free agency, the Steelers still have a glaring need at linebacker. Pittsburgh has shown heavy interest in David Long Jr., so it’s obvious why I’m mocking him to the Steelers here at the end of the third round.
Long Jr. is an athletic linebacker with good sideline-to-sideline range and makes a number of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He is coming off of an ankle injury that kept him out of the 2019 Senior Bowl, Combine, and his Pro Day, but the Steelers don’t seem to be concerned, and neither should fans.
He’ll need some time to adjust to the pro game and learn the scheme, but he’ll make an impact on special teams right away and profiles as a long-term starter at inside linebacker for the Steelers.
Others Considered: ILB Terrell Hanks, WR Miles Boykin, S Taylor Rapp
Previous selection: Germaine Pratt, ILB, NC State
Fourth round, 122nd overall — David Sills IV/WR/West Virginia/6’3”, 211
Analysis: A former USC quarterback converted to wide receiver at West Virginia, David Sills IV blew up in the last two seasons, catching 33 touchdowns in that span.
Sills IV isn’t going to blow anyone away athletically, but he has a knack for working open and creating ample separation, is a consistent red zone threat, and checks every box the Steelers look for at wide receiver through the draft.
Don’t expect him to beat out Moncrief right away, but the Steelers get Roethlisberger a big red zone threat at wide receiver that the veteran signal caller has been in search of for years.
Others Considered: RB Miles Sanders, OG Dru Samia, DL Khalen Saunders
Previous Selection: Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
Fifth round, 141st overall — Daylon Mack/DL/Texas A&M/6’1”, 336
Analysis: I’m a big, big fan of Daylon Mack.
Way back in February, Alex Kozora and I discussed him on Twitter and came away feeling the same about Mack. A former high school running back, Mack is an athletic freak for an interior defensive lineman.
A former 5-star recruit, Mack never really lived up to the hype at Texas A&M, but he really blew up in the pre-draft circuit, showing out at the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl before turning in a strong combine. He’s more than just a nose tackle in my eyes. Mack could work in the DIME defense as a defensive end rushing the passer.
Others Considered: EDGE Jalen Jelks, LB Ben Burr-Kirven, EDGE Jordan Brailford
Previous Selection: Khalen Saunders, DL, Western Illinois
Sixth round, 175th overall — Jalen Jelks/EDGE/Oregon/6’5”, 256
Analysis: The Steelers really haven’t been tied to Jelks much, if at all, but they need to add a body to the outside linebackers room and Jelks is a physical specimen that needs the right coaching to unlock his potential.
While at Oregon he played mostly with his hands in the dirt, working inside in Oregon’s NASCAR defensive front lineup. Playing on the interior helped Jelks develop hand-to-hand combat, so he should be able to transition to the outside easily in that regard.
He’s a tough player that loves contact and is violent at the point of attack. He’s well worth taking a flier on at this point in the sixth round.
Others Considered: LB Ulysees Gilbert, LB/S BJ Blunt, OG Garrett Brumfield
Previous Selection: Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
Sixth round, 192nd overall — Ben Powers/iOL/Oklahoma
Analysis: The need isn’t a great one at guard for the Steelers, especially with guys like Matt Fieler, Jerald Hawkins, and BJ Finney slotted in as depth at guard.
However, Shaun Sarrett was at Oklahoma’s pro day and spoke with a number of Sooner offensive linemen, so there’s clear interest there, at least up front.
Powers is a nasty, nasty guard that loves to throw people out of the club. In a pinch, he can even play center, which would give the Steelers some coveted position flexibility along the interior of the offensive line.
Others Considered: RB Benny Snell, LB Jahlani Tavai, LB Tyrel Dodson
Previous Selection: Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State
Sixth Round, 207th overall — Mike Weber/RB/Ohio State/5’10”, 211
Analysis: The Steelers under Kevin Colbert sure do love their Ohio State products.
That said, Colbert and Mike Tomlin didn’t attend Ohio State’s pro day for the first time in years, but they did bring in Weber, who was once recruited by new running backs coach Eddie Faulker, so some familiarity is there. The Steelers did bring Weber in as a pre-draft visit as well.
Weber has good vision for the position and solid contact balance, but he struggled to produce down the stretch in his Ohio State career, getting passed on the depth chart by JK Dobbins. He’s a talented back to add to a young room though, and could reestablish himself as a talented back in the right system.
Others Considered: iOL Conner McGovern, OL Zach Bailey, RB Benny Snell
Previous Selection: Hjathe Froholdt, iOL, Arkansas
Seventh round, 219th overall — Stephen Denmark/CB/Valdosta State/6’3”, 220
Analysis: The first thing that should jump off the page with Denmark is his massive size for the position.
Pittsburgh brought him in for a pre-draft visit, so there interest is obviously there. Denmark profiles as someone who could shift to safety in the NFL due to his frame, but he’s extremely athletic and has a great deal of agility for the his size and the position he plays.
What I love most about Denmark is his physicality. It just screams Steelers when you watch his tape. When you’re this late in the draft, it’s about taking chances. Denmark is a player worth rolling the dice on.
Others Considered: EDGE Sutton Smith, RB Darrin Hall, P AJ Cole
Previous Selection: Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison