As the days tick away and we get closer and closer to the real thing, we are seeing a waterfall of ‘final’ mock drafts, and one of the latest comes from Ray Fittipaldo, one of the new head writers along with Gerry Dulac over at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette now that Ed Bouchette jumped over to The Athletic.
In his own final seven-round mock draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fittipaldo has the team landing Devin Bush in the first round, the inside linebacker out of Michigan. And they do so at the cost of their second third-round pick, moving up five spots to swap out with Washington up to number 15. That happens to be the same spot in which they drafted Ryan Shazier.
This would be very much giving what the bulk of the fans want, and Fittipaldo says that the team is “due” to make a deal. He believes the Steelers have to jump the Carolina Panthers, who are looking to replace Thomas Davis. It’s worth noting that in ESPN’s mock last night, Washington stayed put at 15 and drafted Bush.
In the second round ,the beat writer is giving the Steelers Darnell Savage, the defensive back out of Maryland. He noted that the Steelers brought in a lot of first- and second-round candidates for pre-draft visits and it’s likely that one of them is going to be their pick in the first two rounds.
With their lone third-round pick (after giving up the other to move up for Bush), Fittipaldo projects Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin to the team, the 6’4” target who has “elite athletic traits” in spite of a general lack of production at the college level. He notes that Boykin will have some time to develop due to the depth the team already has at wide receiver.
Over the course of the team’s final five picks, he has the Steelers double dipping at both inside linebacker and defensive back, adding linebacker T.J. Edwards out of Wisconsin in the sixth round and cornerback Iman Marshall from USC in the fifth. Their fourth-round selection goes to addressing the hole left by Jesse James’ departure, drafting tight end Josh Oliver out of San Jose State.
The other two selections are edge rusher Ben Banogu out of TCU, defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter out of Georgia, and finally running back Kerrith Whyte. White, also a return man, was brought in for a pre-draft visit.
Would you be happy with this draft class? It’s certainly hard to argue with landing Bush and Savage in the first two rounds. It seems like a pretty solid group of players overall, though indications to me suggest the team wanted to get a running back earlier than the final round.