For essentially the first time in two years, we have some upcoming NFL Pro Days to track. Though they aren’t the first, Kansas held theirs a few days ago (I don’t believe Pittsburgh attended), this week marks the first busy week of college Pro Days NFL teams will be attending as their best chance to get intel on the 2021 top prospects. Here’s how the schedule looks this week courtesy of our Pro Day schedule.
Tuesday March 9th
Wednesday March 10th
Thursday March 11th
Friday March 12th
North Dakota State
That is a heavy list of prospects to watch out for. Pro Days began last year but were quickly shut down as they coincided with the start of the COVID pandemic in America. Most major schools and top prospects didn’t have an individual workout. I don’t believe the Steelers drafted anyone whose Pro Day they attended. With their return, here’s a preview of some of the top players of the week Pittsburgh could be interested in.
Quinn Meinerz/C Wisconsin-Whitewater (Tuesday)
Arguably no one improved their draft stock more at the 2021 Senior Bowl than Meinerz. He needed the invite, got it, and had a big week in Mobile. Small school prospects have a tough climb in normal years and after his school didn’t play any football in the fall, it was going to be easy for him to fall off the NFL’s radar. At the Senior Bowl, he showed nastiness and drive as a run blocker and ended as one of the group’s top players. He could sneak into Day Two just as Ali Marpet did back in 2015.
Jonathan Marshall + Xavier Kelly/DL Arkansas (Wednesday)
Pair of defensive linemen I’m lumping together. Listed at similar sizes. Marshall at 6’3, 317 and Kelly at 6’4, 305. In 2020, Marshall had just one sack but racked up a career-high 6.5 TFL. Kelly was a Clemson transfer who hasn’t played a lot but was a highly touted recruit out of high school. We haven’t paid a lot of attention to defensive linemen in this class but if Chris Wormley and/or Tyson Alualu aren’t re-signed, it could warrant Day Three consideration for the Steelers.
If the Steelers take a flier on a Day 3/UDFA QB, the Razorbacks’ Feleipe Franks is an option. Transferring from Florida, he throw for 17 touchdowns in 2020.
Travis Etienne/RB Clemson + Jackson Carman/OG Clemson + Amari Rodgers/WR Clemson (Thursday)
Thursday could be a busy day for Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin. I’d expect at least one of them to attend the Tigers’ workout, a regular stop for the team over the years. Etienne is one of the top backs in this class and we shouldn’t completely discount him from the Steelers’ radar. Carman is an athletic linemen who probably kicks to guard in the NFL. And Rodgers has a similar skillset to JuJu Smith-Schuster and has a Steelers’ connection. His dad is former Pittsburgh QB Tee Martin. Fellow WR Cornell Powell is also a name worth mentioning. He broke out in 2020 with 882 yards, seven touchdowns, and a healthy 16.6 average.
Samuel Comsi/OT Texas (Thursday)
Wouldn’t be shocked if one of Colbert/Tomlin went to Clemson and the other to Texas. No point in both guys appearing on the same campus if you want to maximize your visits. Longhorns have plenty of prospects, none more noteworthy than Cosmi. He isn’t a terrific athlete but strong and finishes his blocks. Will be an option for the Steelers at #24. Others to keep an eye on include DE Ta’Quon Graham and QB Sam Ehlinger.
Trey Lance/QB North Dakota State (Friday)
Friday will tell us how serious the Steelers are in exploring a QB in the first round. If they’re traveling to NDSU, it’s to watch one guy. Lance. He only got to play in one game in 2020 and started just one season prior to that so tape on him is limited. I’m guessing most scouts/coaches have never seen this guy live before. Friday is the chance to do it. Definitely want to circle this one on your calendar.
Don’t forget about sleeper OT Dillon Radunz either. He had an impressive Senior Bowl week. If Pittsburgh doesn’t take a tackle in Rounds 1/2, Radunz could be an option later on Day 2 or on Day 3. Fluid athlete who may be able to play tackle or guard.
Creed Humphrey/OC Oklahoma (Friday)
Arguably the top center in this class, Pittsburgh’s obviously in the market to replace Maurkice Pouncey. Humphrey doesn’t have good length but is a powerful run blocker to improve the Steelers’ 32nd ranked rushing attack. There’s also OT Adrian Ealy and RB Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson is a big dude at 6’0 236 but has quick feet and surprising change of direction in the open field.