CBS’ RJ White unveiled his latest 2020 NFL mock draft Tuesday morning. Projecting comp picks as well, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers focusing on wide receiver and defensive line with their first two selections.
At #49, he has the team taking Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler. Here’s his explanation.
“Hamler is on the small side, but he has the ability to make a big impact on the Pittsburgh passing game with his excellent route-running and the ability to break big plays.”
Hamler’s listed at 5’9, 176 pounds, much smaller than what the team normally drafts with but three starters at different spots – Diontae Johnson the X, James Washington the Z, JuJu Smith-Schuster the slot – the board is wide open for the type of receiver the team could target.
In 2019, Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards and eight touchdowns. That comes out to a healthy 16.1 yard average. He better that number in 2018, averaging exactly 18 yards per grab. He also returned kicks and punts with the Nittany Lions, averaging 23.5 yards per kick the past two seasons. Of course, that local connection may help a little bit too.
It’s fair to argue wide receiver isn’t *the* top need, however, given those three starters. Pittsburgh seems almost certain to draft a receiver at some point but it may not be as early as the second round.
With their third round comp pick, White mocks LSU nose tackle Rashard Lawrence to the Steelers.
“Projected comp pick. Lawrence can provide depth on the defensive line then potentially take on a bigger role if Tyson Alualu leaves in free agency. Cam Heyward is also scheduled to be a free agent after 2020 and is now in his 30s.”
I assume he’s referring to Javon Hargrave leaving in free agency, not Alualu, who is under contract through 2020. But point taken. There will be a void along the interior defensive line minus Hargrave. Daniel McCullers is the only other nose tackle with Sunday experience on the roster.
In his Tigers’ career, Lawrence racked up 20.5 TFL and nine sacks. His best season came as a junior in 2018, registering 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. Our Tom Mead recently wrote a scouting report on Lawrence, which I’ll link below.
Around the rest of the AFC North, with their first picks, White has the Cincinnati Bengals selecting QB Joe Burrow, the Cleveland Browns OT Andrew Thomas, and the Baltimore Ravens LB Kenneth Murray.