It’s time for the final version of my Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 mock draft and If you missed by previous three versions I posted, you can find them at the links included below.
As usual, I have adhered to several historical principles related to past Steelers drafts when putting my final mock together. One of those is making sure I pay close attention to players who played in the annual college all-star games as we’ve seen the Steelers draft quite a few of those non-underclassmen players from rounds four and on over the years.
In addition to providing my guess for every round, I also included six other players I considered while building this last mock so you can see where my head was at while putting this final one together. As usual, my primary goal is to have several of the 42 total players listed below ultimately wind up being selected by the Steelers.
I invite everyone to post their final mocks in the comments below and hope all of you enjoyed our pre-draft coverage this year. We look forward to covering the real thing for you beginning Thursday evening.
Previous Mock Drafts:
Bryan: 2020 Steelers Mock Draft: Version 1.0 – Pre-Scouting Combine
Bryan: 2020 Steelers Mock Draft: Version 2.0 – Post-Scouting Combine
Bryan: 2020 Steelers Mock Draft: Version 3.0 – Post-Free Agency
2nd Round (49th) – WR Michael Pittman Jr. – USC – 6040/223/32½/9¼ – DOB: 10/5/1997 – Eight weeks ago I considered Pittman more of a late third-round player. However, with Pittman staying entrenched as a top 50 player on the big boards of several other draftniks that I respect, I decided to take a deeper dive into his tape, and I am glad I did. Pittman’s 2017 and 2018 tape showed the things I felt I did not find in his 2019 tape. Pittman checks so many boxes when it comes to possibly being the Steelers second-round selection. He has an NFL bloodline as his father was a running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was coach for several years. Pittman was a captain at USC and is also special teams capable. At the NFL level, Pittman should ultimately be able to move around and play various wide receiver positions and that includes playing some in the slot, something he didn’t do a lot of at USC. He’s a combat catcher and red zone threat because of that and his size. He can go over the middle and make receptions and get yards after the catch. I view him as an above average route runner exiting college. There’s not much not to like about Pittman and the only question is if he’ll still be on the board for the Steelers at 49 overall. If he is, he’ll be hard for them to pass up. I was torn between Pittman and Antoine Winfield Jr. at this spot but gave the nod to the former because I feel the Steelers will go offense first this year.
Other players considered: S Antoine Winfield Jr., C Cesar Ruiz, DT Neville Gallimore, WR Denzel Mims, WR Tee Higgins, RB Cam Akers
3rd Round (Compensatory) (102nd) – C Tyler Biadasz – Wisconsin – 6035/314/32¼/10 – DOB: 11/20/98 – I think the Steelers will want to address the offensive line at some point during this year’s draft and my bet is that if they do it will be an interior player, and likely one that can play center. I really wanted to put Lloyd Cushenberry III in this spot but I’m just not so sure he will last until the end of the third-round. While Biadasz won the Remington Trophy in 2019, he’s still not considered the best center in this year’s draft by many. Because of that and a shoulder injury that required surgery this winter, Biadasz’s draft stock has seemingly tumbled this last year. He’s still a quality center, however, and was part of a great offensive line at Wisconsin. Can he play guard as well? It’s possible, but he was primarily a center at Wisconsin.
Other players considered: C Lloyd Cushenberry III, EDBE Curtis Weaver, EDGE Darrell Taylor, G Ben Bredeson, DT Davon Hamilton, LB Josh Uche
4th Round – (124th) – S Brandon Jones – Texas – 5111/198/30⅛/8¾ – DOB: 4/2/1998 – Jones is one of those players you must think the Steelers love. He’s a versatile safety, was a team captain at Texas and considered an extreme student of the game. He’s probably better closer to the line than he is deep and that should suit the Steelers just fine. He also is nickel position capable and played that some at Texas. The Steelers could use some safety depth in this year’s draft and Jones is one of the few more versatile and position flexible players at that position in this year’s draft class. He should be able to cut his teeth on special teams as a rookie as the team works at developing him.
Other players considered: S K’Von Wallace, LB/S Tanner Muse, DT Rashard Lawrence, EDGE Khalid Kareem, G Logan Stenberg, TE Colby Parkinson
4th Round (From Miami Via Tennessee) (135th) – EDGE Alex Highsmith – Charlotte – 6031/248/33⅛/9⅛ – DOB: 8/7/1997 – Small school prospect that wound up at the East-West Shrine Game and held his own. He’s a twitched-up athlete with some good bend and has an array of pass rush moves in his arsenal such as a cross chop and spin. Highsmith was a team captain at Charlotte and led Conference USA in 2019 in tackles for loss (21.5) and sacks (14). He played and contributed on special teams as a freshman and sophomore so he should be able to handle that phase of the game as an NFL rookie.
Other players considered: DT Bravvion Roy, DT McTelvin Agim, WR Devin Duvernay, EDGE Jonathan Garvin, EDGE Jabari Zuniga, LB Francis Bernard
6th Round – (198th) – ILB Evan Weaver – California – 6021/237/31⅝/9⅝ – DOB: 8/11/1998 – The new Tyler Matakevich? Weaver was a tackling machine at Cal and reportedly had a great week at the Senior Bowl. While he’s unlikely to ever be a starting inside linebacker at the NFL, much like has been the case with Matakevich so far, Weaver can likely wind up being a multi-year backup and core special teams player. While not hugely SPARQy, weaver did register a 114.1 score at the combine. He was a team captain at Cal as well. Remember, the Steelers lost two linebackers during the offseason in Matakevich and Mark Barron.
Other players considered: RB Sewo Olonilua, S Josh Metellus, EDGE D.J. Wonnum, EDGE Anfernee Jennings, G Calvin Throckmorton, LB Shaquille Quarterman
7th Round – (232nd) – DT Benito Jones – Mississippi – 6010/316/32⅞/9¾ – DOB: 11/27/1997 – I feel guilty for not being able to get a defensive tackle earlier, but I just couldn’t make one work. Waiting until the seventh-round for a defensive tackle isn’t ideal, but there should be a few players worthy of selection just the same. Jones figures to be one of those players that might just be available late. a second team ALL-SEC player in 2019, Jones recorded 132 total tackles during his college career to go along with 10.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one pass defensed and one interception. 31 of his tackles resulted in lost yardage. Most of his snaps last season came over the center or in the A-gap.
Other players considered: TE Charlie Woerner, T/G Jon Runyan Jr., G Solomon Kindley, LB/S Khaleke Hudson, CB A.J. Green, DT John Penisini