Most mock drafts, understandably so, have the Pittsburgh Steelers focusing on the defensive side of the football. But CBS Sports’ recent edition has them bucking that trend, selecting offensive players with their first two selections. Starting at #20, author Ryan Wilson has the team taking Iowa tight end Noah Fant. Explaining the pick, he writes:
“Antonio Brown is gone and the Steelers could offset some of his lost production by taking the most athletic tight end in a stacked draft class.”
Fant would certainly be a name not discussed much with Pittsburgh throughout this pre-draft process. The team did send TEs coach James Daniel to the Pro Day but that in itself shouldn’t be a surprise. Where else would you send your positional coach than the place with two top tier players? Teammate T.J. Hockenson will probably be off the board by the time the Steelers pick but Fant probably will be in play. However, many view him as a big tight end and below average blocker, which wouldn’t gel well with how the Steelers value the position.
Wilson’s mock has Pittsburgh doubling down on offensive weapons, scooping up NC State wideout Kelvin Harmon at #52.
“The Steelers get a tight end in Round 1 and add Harmon, one of the best contested-catch playmakers in this draft class a round later.”
Harmon is a tall drink of water standing in at 6’2/4, 221 pounds. While he profiles as a below average athlete and doesn’t seem to hit the team’s benchmarks for the position, he put up tons of production for the Wolfpack. As a junior in 2018, he caught 81 passes for 1186 yards and seven scores. He found the end zone 16 times in three seasons with NC State.
Although the idea of offense with both picks is unconventional, there’s no question there needs to be an infusion of offensive talent to replace Antonio Brown. One man alone won’t do the job.
Defense dominates the third round in the mock. At 66, the Steelers select Alabama free safety Deionte Thompson. His draft stock has been dinged by injuries that haven’t let him workout but he’s rangy with the ability to finish the play, intercepting three passes for the Crimson Tide over the last two seasons with seven breakups and three forced fumbles. They finally address inside linebacker at 83, taking Minnesota’s Blake Cashman. Wilson says of the pick:
“Cashman brings his athleticism, playmaking ability and high football IQ to the middle of the Steelers’ defense.”
Cashman looks good on paper but the team hasn’t seemed to show much interest in him throughout the pre-draft process. But it’s hard to argue he’d be a bad fit for a defense that needs athletes capable of making big plays. Cashman recorded 31 TFL as a Gopher.
If you’re wondering, Devin Bush was well off the board by the team the Steelers picked. Wilson mocked him 10th overall to the Denver Broncos. Kyler Murray, as most people believe, was chosen by Arizona first overall.