NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Options: Day Two

While we’re still recapping everything there is to discuss with the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting linebacker Devin Bush, two more prospects will become members of the organization today. With the team picking at #66 and #83, here are some possibilities for those selections.

Justin Layne/CB Michigan State: Layne, and some of the other corners we’re listing here, may be viewed as second round picks. But with only one CB taken in the first round, Georgia’s Deandre Baker going to the Giants, the whole group may go a bit later than expected, especially knowing there should be a heavy receiver run in round two.

Layne, a receiver turner corner, was brought in for a pre-draft visit after Kevin Colbert attended his MSU Pro Day. There’s a concern over his long speed and tightness in his turn, but he tracks the ball well in the air and competitive at the catch point.

Sean Bunting/CB Central Michigan: It does feel like the Steelers will select a corner with one of those two picks. If not Layne, Bunting figures to be on the board at least for pick #66 and could still be there at #83. Bunting defends vertical routes as well as almost any corner in the draft with good testing and comfort playing press man. He was also brought in for a pre-draft visit so the interest is obvious.

Miles Boykin/WR Notre Dame: The receiver they’ve shown the most love to during the pre-draft process was easily Boykin. Colbert attended his Pro Day before the team brought him in for a visit, clearly doing their homework on a virtual unknown before his breakout 2018 season. He is one of the best fits as an X receiver. Though a bit raw, he can win vertical and adjust to poorly thrown passes, the latter of which was all too common with some shoddy QB play.

Isaiah Johnson/CB Houston: And one more corner to round things out. Johnson has a similar profile as Layne but a more wiry frame with better timed speed (4.40 at Indy). He’s a developmental prospect but if the Steelers are taking him in the third, history shows he’s going to mostly sit Year One.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson/S Florida: There isn’t a dime backer on this team. I mean, there’s Marcus Allen but he played one game last year, the “no smoke” loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Hard to put all your eggs in his basket. Garnder-Johnson is one of the better dime options who could be there at 66. While it was a little disappointing not to see the Steelers show more interest in the pre-draft process, they did interview him at the Combine. By the third round, the “requirement” for Pittsburgh to show obvious interest lessens a bit. He picked off nine passes as a Gator, the playmaking style this defense is searching for.

Amani Hooker/S Iowa: Maybe this is more of a wish than a realistic hope. Hooker is the twitched up versatile player that in theory, this team should love. He played the “Star” position for Iowa last year, their version of the dime/box role he would occupy in Pittsburgh in replacing Morgan Burnett. Hooker picked off six passes the last two years.

His RAS score was in the elite category and that’s the type of athlete the Steelers look for at safety.

Ben Banogu/OLB TCU: Some dot-connecting to round things out. Banogu was another pre-draft visitor. Explosive edge rusher with a quick first step and above average production, 8.5 sacks each of the last two years. Had a nice Senior Bowl week. Would become the #3 behind Bud Dupree, in the final year of his deal, and T.J. Watt.

Charles Omenihu/OLB Texas: Dave Bryan told us Omenihu dropped down to 264 pounds for his Pro Day after weighing in at 280 at the Combine, signaling a move to outside linebacker as opposed to a defensive linemen for the Steelers’ scheme. Like Banogu, Omenihu was brought in for a visit after Colbert attended Texas’ Pro Day. Ended his career on a high note with 9.5 sacks in 2018.

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