The Pittsburgh Steelers traded Marcus Gilbert after he was their cornerstone at RT for the better part of a decade, and even with Matt Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor on roster, the Steelers seemingly felt the need to shore up the line, and do it with someone who has versatility in their veins in general.
Derwin Gray was the man that rounded out the draft class, and this one was worth massive value points to me. I watched him for the first time this evening, and I came away from Gray’s tape rather impressed. He ended up with a 4th round grade and 141st ranking on my Top 300 Big Board.
Why? Gray has really, really nice footwork. His footwork is fleet, technically sound, in-time, and does not set him off balance with bad sets that can get his anchor thrown off and thus, disposed of naturally. With an even base, Gray displays a good anchor, footwork that allows him to use his functional strength, and good hand placement.
His worst attribute is probably his functional mobility. Although he has the good footwork, his hip tightness and upright rigidness limit his pulling and reaching ability. Thus, I question if a full-time switch to Guard is really as advantageous as we think it could be. He has that mean streak in the second level and down on the line though. He is tenacious and drives guys into the ground and until the whistle.
In year one, I think Gray is a depth guy who probably takes the Zach Banner spot on the roster and can beat out Jerald Hawkins for a roster spot. That is purely from a scouting perspective, and it is entirely possible that Gray indeed will actually be canned to the side and just be a wasted pick, but his technical ability and footwork should prevent that being the case. I like Gray, and at his lowest point, he is a practice squad candidate, but he is a big man that has good footwork, and that means so much in the NFL.