NFL Draft

2021 Steelers Big Board – Top 100 Prospects

Last week we looked at the Top 50 prospects. This week we go through the Top 100, which should include all of the targets in the first 3 rounds, and hopefully in the first 4.

PLEASE NOTE: Round 3 includes a lot of names that would be in Round 2 or even Round 1 on an “all-teams” board. This happens because Pittsburgh has less need at the position in question. Recall that we never move grades up because of perceived need, but only apply a discount when there’s less of it. This year that has dropped a lot of DL’s, WR’s, and Safeties in particular. Rounds 4 and 5 are just overloaded in those positions. Please test these discounts by looking at the names with a similar grade and asking, “Would I want Pittsburgh to select this discounted talent ahead of those other playes?”

TOP 100 PLAYERS ON THE BOARD, NAMES ONLY (106 with ties)

1:01
  • QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson. (Junior)
  • QB Justin Fields, Ohio St. (Junior)
  • QB Zach Wilson, BYU (Junior)
  • T/G Penei Sewell, Oregon. (Junior)
1:05
  • T/G/C Rashawn Slater, Northwestern. (Senior)
  • QB Trey Lance, N. Dak. St. (RS Sophomore)
  • CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (Junior)
1:10
  • OT Christian Darrisaw, Va. Tech. (Senior)
  • ILB Micah Parsons, Penn St. (Junior)
  • CB Caleb Farley, Va. Tech. (RS Junior)
1:15
  • OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas. (RS Junior)
  • T/G Jalen Mayfield, Michigan. (RS Sophomore)
  • RB Najee Harris, Alabama. (Senior)
  • WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU. (Junior)
1:20
  • OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame. (RS Senior)
  • T/G Teven Jenkins, Okla. St. (RS Senior)
  • QB Mac Jones, Alabama. (RS Junior)
  • TE Kyle Pitts, Florida. (Junior)
  • WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama. (Junior)
  • EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (RS Sophomore)
  • CB Jaycee Horn, S. Car. (Junior)
1:24 STEELERS ROUND 1 PICK
1:25
  • T/G Alex Leatherwood, Alabama. (Senior)
  • G/T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC. (RS Junior)
  • RB Travis Etienne, Clemson. (Senior)
  • WR Devonta Smith, Alabama. (Senior)
  • EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas. (Junior)
  • ILB Zaven Collins, Tulsa (RS Junior)
2:01
  • TE Pat Freiermuth, Penn St. (Junior)
  • CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia (Junior)
  • CB/S Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse (RS Junior)
  • CB Asante Samuel Jr., Fla. St. (Junior)
2:12
  • T/G Jackson Carman, Clemson. (Junior).
  • OT Dillon Radunz, N. Dak. St. (RS Senior)
  • C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma. (Senior)
  • RB Javonte Williams, N. Car. (Junior)
  • EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia. (RS Sophomore)
  • EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn. St. (RS Sophomore)
  • EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan. (Senior)
  • EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami by way of UCLA. (RS Junior)
  • ILB Nick Bolton, Missouri (Junior)
  • ILB Baron Browning, Ohio St. (Senior)
  • ILB/SS Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (RS Junior)
  • CB Aaron Robinson, UCF by way of Alabama (RS Senior)
  • CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (RS Junior)
2:23 STEELERS ROUND 2 PICK (# 55 OVERALL)
2:24
  • OT James Hudson, Cincinnati. (RS Junior)
  • OT Walker Little, Stanford. (Senior)
  • C/G Landon Dickerson, Alabama. (RS Senior)
  • QB Kyle Trask, Florida (RS Senior)
  • DL Christian Barmore, Alabama (RS Sophomore)
  • ILB/SS Dylan Moses, Alabama (Senior)
  • CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern. (Junior)
3:01
  • G Wyatt Davis, Ohio St. (RS Junior)
  • WR Kadarius Toney, Florida. (Senior)
  • C/G Trey Hill, Georgia. (Junior)
  • DL Jay Tufele, USC (RS Junior)
  • EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington. (RS Junior)
  • ILB Cameron McGrone, Michigan (RS Sophomore)
  • S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Junior)
  • FS Trevon Moehrig, TCU (Junior)
  • S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Fla. St. (Senior)
  • CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Senior)
  • CB D.J. Daniel, Georgia (Senior)
3:12
  • OT Spencer Brown, N. Iowa. (RS Senior)
  • OT D’Ante Smith, E. Car. (Senior)
  • G/C Quinn Meinerz, U.W. Whitewater (Civ. III) (Senior)
  • G Trey Smith, Tennessee. (Senior)
  • C/G Josh Myers, Ohio St. (RS Junior)
  • TE Brevin Jordan, Miami. (Junior)
  • WR Rondale Moore (Junior)
  • DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa (RS Junior)
  • EDGE Patrick Jones II, Pitt. (RS Senior)
  • EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma. (Junior)
  • ILB Jabril Cox, LSU (RS Senior)
  • CB/DB Elijah Molden, Washington (Senior)
  • DB Shaun Wade, Ohio St. (RS Junior)
3:24 ·       STEELERS ROUND 3 PICK (# 87 OVERALL)
3:24
  • TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame. (RS Sophomore)
  • RB Michael Carter, N. Car. (Senior)
  • RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo. (Junior)
  • RB Trey Sermon, Ohio St. by way of Oklahoma (Senior)
  • RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma. (Senior)
  • RB C.J. Verdell, Oregon. (RS Junior)
  • WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota. (Junior)
  • WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU. (Junior)
  • WR Amari Rodgers
  • DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington (RS Senior)
  • DL Tommy Togiai, Ohio St. (Junior)
  • DL Marlon Tuipulotu, USC. (RS Junior)
  • EDGE Victor Dimukeje, Duke. (Senior)
  • EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon St. (RS Senior)
  • EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami by way of Temple (RS Senior)
  • EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB by way of Florida. (RS Junior)
  • EDGE Payton Turner, Houston. (Senior)
  • ILB/SS Jamin Davis, Kentucky. (RS Junior)
  • ILB/SS Chazz Surratt, N. Car. (RS Senior)
  • ILB Pete Werner, Ohio St. (Senior)
  • FS Andre Cisco, Syracuse (Junior)
  • FS/DB Richie Grant, UCF (RS Senior)
  • S Richard LeCounte III, Georgia (Senior)
  • S/CB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU (RS Sophomore)
  • CB Camryn Bynum, California. (RS Senior)
  • CB Keith Taylor, Wash. (Senior)
  • CB Ambry Thomas, Mich. (Senior)

PLAYERS 55-106 ON THE BIG BOARD

Click Here To See Descriptions Of The Top 50

HV DESCRIPTION
3:01 G Wyatt Davis, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’4”, 310 lbs. Kyle Crabbs starts his Draft Network scouting profile with these words: “This dude is a destroyer of worlds.” Daniel Jeremiah compared him to no less than David DeCastro. As for bloodlines, his grandfather is Willie Davis, a name to reckon with even among his fellow members of the HOF. So yes: Wyatt Davis is one of those rare Guards who deserves and will get a Round 1 grade across the league, albeit a later-1st because of some issues getting his nose out over his feet. Left the BCS championship when a nagging knee injury finally became too much to bear, but reports say it should not amount to a true red flag for his draft status.
3:01 C/G Trey Hill, Georgia. (Junior). 6’6”, 330 lbs. Turns 21 just before draft day. ‘Tis the year for smart, experienced Guard-sized Centers with great anchors, power moving forward in the running game, and much less mobility that Steeler Nation is used to from its Centers. That is Trey Hill in a nutshell. Lost the end of 2020 to the need for surgery to repair meniscus tears in both knees. Alex Kozora’s late January, gif-supported scouting report reports that the surgeries were minor, and gives a solid Day 2 thumbs-up on the prospect.
3:01 WR Kadarius Toney, Florida. (Senior). 5’11⅛”, 189 lbs. Severely discounted for this Board. A really fun player to watch and a major part of Kyle Trask’s Heisman run, Kadarius Toney is one of those shifty, slippery, Gumby types of player who stops, starts, contorts, and accelerates in any direction, at any time, and from any angle. Would rank even higher if he was not something of a one year wonder. This brief profile from December calls him a “missed tackle machine”, and that may be understating the case. He also tracks the ball extremely well as both a receiver and a punt/kick returner. Professional habits and coaching should make him an outstanding route runner in addition to his instinctive return ability and RAC prowess. He’s a smart player too, a former QB who’s also been used as a RB in addition to WR, with very trustworthy hands. Wesley Cantliffe’s late January, gif-supported scouting report describes him as a multidimensional fringe-1st talent, with a tremendous ability to beat press coverage off the line and to be creative when the ball is in his hand.
3:01 DL Jay Tufele, USC (RS Junior). 6’3”, 315 lbs. A well rounded, explosive player who would fit right in with the Heyward/Tuitt prototype if he was 2-3” taller. The main critique is a lack of consistency, which no one got to check on in 2020 because he opted out. When the light comes on he can dominate a game; so why doesn’t it flash more often? Tufele may well end up being the best IDL in the class, but the missing year of production makes that a much sketchier bet than you’d like.
3:01 EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington. (RS Junior). 6’4”, 251 lbs. The size, athleticism, and physical abilities match up with what Pittsburgh looks for, but he is “only” an NFL-good athlete, not a SPARQ score miracle. He’s a complete package outside of the limited bend around the corner, with a particularly admirable motor. OTOH, there is limited film because he opted out in 2020 due to Covid-19. Tom Mead’s late January scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade. He was #32 on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list, who said “His game is built on his strength and power more than his speed and agility.” This Chiefs-oriented late January scouting profile emphasizes how much he’s likely to improve once he gains a pro-level football IQ to speed up his read and react skills.
3:01 ILB Cameron McGrone, Michigan (RS Sophomore). 6’1”, 235 lbs. Will be not-quite-21 on draft day. The successor to Devin Bush, and darned near as promising with a very similar skill set. Just a bit wider, and a lot more raw at this point in his career. Extraordinary ceiling; floor would be a pair of redshirt years before he ‘gets it.’ Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade based on the amount of mental work he will need to do in order to get his game up to basic professional standards. He already functions well in coverage, and he tackles fine, but there are far too many cases where he “takes the cheese” on play action and misdirection plays, and also too many delays before he recognizes where he is supposed to go on any given play. His 2020 season was hampered by various injuries. Known as a strong team leader. This 4-part January scouting profile agrees; a great athlete who was hampered by injuries in 2020, and needs study time and coaching to learn the pro game. This January scouting profile worries more about his issues with getting off blocks.
3:01 S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Junior). 6’1”, 196 lbs. A full sized Safety with the quickness and speed to return punts? Yep. Also known as a team leader and a solid tackler. It’s just… where are the splash plays a guy with that profile ought to be producing? He had something to prove in 2020, and that something could have easily pushed him into Round 1 contention. He opted out instead. This gif-heavy February scouting report ends with a Round 2 grade, describing him as a true Nickel DB whose talents spread from Nickel-CB out to single-high Safety. The NFL.com scouting profile seems to agree. The #2 Safety overall according to Bucky Brooks February list.
3:01 FS Trevon Moehrig, TCU (Junior). 6’1”, 208 lbs. Yes, I’ll say it: Minkah Lite. Moehrig is widely considered the best pure Safety in the class, with the size to play in the box and an even more natural fit as a play making, ball hawking, cover capable presence in the secondary. He’d be a clear Round 1 talent but for his only-acceptable tackling skills. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported February scouting report is typical with it’s fringe-1st final grade. Same with this point-by-point scouting profile from early February.
3:01 S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Fla. St. (Senior). 6’3⅛”, 213 lbs. with lineman-length 34” arms and big 10” hands. A prospect whose athletic profile and potential really reminds you of Terrell Edmunds, right down to the “team leader” and “high character” aspects noted in the NFL.com scouting profile. Read this February scouting profile and you’ll see exactly what I mean. He looks like an oversized and physical box Safety – and he plays that role well – but he also has the speed and coverage ability to play deep. The only missing element is ball skills. Like Edmunds, Nasirlideen is much better at preventing or tackling the completion than he is at producing INT’s. Tore an ACL in November of 2019, and lost most of 2020 when he tweaked it again in the second week. This Giants-oriented February scouting profile ends with an excited “early starter” grade as a hybrid LB/Safety athlete. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported early March scouting report ends in a Round 3-4 grade based on questions about his physicality as a tackler and his pure athleticism in open space.
3:01 CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Senior). 6’1”, 190 lbs. Opted out of 2020, which is a shame because he had a lot to prove. Has he added the strength he needed? Did he improve on all those little flaws that plagued him in 2019? If so, he deserves an early-1st grade. If not, he could end up falling into the category of being “only” a Seattle-type, Cover-3 Corner. A prospect whose grade is very likely to change as the film watchers dig in for a closer look.
3:01 CB D.J. Daniel, Georgia (Senior). 5’11⅝’, 183 lbs. with long 33” arms. A very toolsy CB with exactly the length, speed, physicality, and COD skills you look for. The main flaws seem to be a tendency to take the cheese, and then to get grabby when he gets caught by a double move.
3:12 OT Spencer Brown, N. Iowa. (RS Senior). 6’8½”, 314 lbs. With 33¾” arms and 9¾” hands. A looong, capable pass protector on the edge who needs to build strength and technique if he wants to have the same success against NFL pass rushers as he enjoyed in college. Especially coming from such a small program, with lower levels of competition. Decent enough as a get-in-the-way run blocker, but that really isn’t his forte. This early February scouting profile from PFN notes that Brown was a high school TE who kept on growing, shades of a certain Army-ranger-to-Steeler-LT who played TE at West Point. A true boom or bust prospect, with endless upside and an ebony chasm at either extreme.
3:12 OT D’Ante Smith, E. Car. (Senior). 6’5”, 294 lbs. with incredible 35¼” arms and big 10” hands. No one did more for his draft stock at the Senior Bowl than this young man, who showed the young men from bigger schools that he more than just belongs in their company. He has tremendous movement skills, a lot more strength than you might guess from the measured weight (well up to NFL standards), and he knows how to use those orangutan-length arms to their best advantage. This goes to a gif-supported SI scouting report from late January.
3:12 G/C Quinn Meinerz, U.W. Whitewater (Civ. III) (Senior). 6’3¼”, 320 lbs. with 33” arms and solid 10¼” hands. A yeti-sized man among the D-III boys, Meinerz showed up at the Senior Bowl and commenced to tossing around the all-star lads pretty much just as easily. If he’d done all that at a top tier school he’d be in the Round 1 discussion even as a Guard. He didn’t, of course, which is going to drop him down into the 2-4 range. This fabulous TDN article from February is a must read to understand the background behind Meinerz’ not-so-sudden splash at the college all-star game. It’s a great story, and he is by all accounts a great kid who puts the strong in Northwest country. Note that he played a lot of Center during the Senior Bowl practices, and did it well considering that he taught himself those most-interior skills this summer, but has never played Center in a game. Here is a brief scouting profile, a somewhat more detailed scouting profile from PFN, and a newsy summary scouting profile with a gif, all written during the Senior Bowl buzz. Here is a good early March interview with TDN.
3:12 G Trey Smith, Tennessee. (Senior). 6’5½”, 331 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10” hands. Fair disclosure: I have a minor league man crush on this prospect. Read Tyler Wise’s gif-supported January scouting report and you might too. It does not take a lot of imagination to see Trey Smith ending up with both a HOF career and at least one Walter Payton badge adorning his jersey. He’s not a perfect prospect, and the mobility warts will show if a team asks him to move outside to Tackle on more than an emergency basis. But he is a great power Guard prospect who can dig out the most stubborn DT’s and then climb or pull with the best of them. The only real flaws are positional value, and a medical red flag dating back three years to a life threatening scare about mysterious blood clots in his lungs. Playing both 2019 and 2020 without issue eased those fears, but the alarm rang so loud that it still echoes today.
3:12 C/G Josh Myers, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’5”, 312 lbs. He’s got all the tools you look for, and at NFL levels, but nothing that rises to the level of “special” except phone booth power. His anchor may already be better than Pouncey’s, but Steeler Nation tends to take inhuman mobility levels of mobility for granted, and Myers is vulnerable to quickness on the inside too. The sort of player who’d deal with Casey Hampton much better than Aaron Donald. Still, he can play all three interior positions and has a very solid floor at each of them. That alone should put him on our Day 2 radar. Josh Carney’s gif-supported early March scouting report ends in a Round 4 grade based on concerns about his “heavy feet” when it comes to pass blocking. The run blocking is all you could want; violent, powerful, and explosive with occasional whiffs in open space due to his mobility limitations.
3:12 TE Brevin Jordan, Miami. (Junior). 6’3”, 245 lbs. He profiles as an oversized WR, but is both more and less than that. More because he really likes to block even if he has size limitations and isn’t particularly good at it. “Less” because of those limitations, and the fact that he’s never really been asked to run routes. For all that, he is a SPARQ-y young man, he has the native talent to improve across the board, and he’s been on an upward arc. The downgrades come because he needs to, and the process will no doubt take a few years, Devin Jackson’s gif-supported January scouting report has little good to say about the blocking, much less about the catching technique, but still views him as the TE3 of the class.
3:12 WR Rondale Moore, Purdue. (Junior). 5’9”, 180 lbs. A human joystick who is even faster (well documented 4.33 speed), peppier, and more elusive than Diontae Johnson. And much stronger, having squatted 600 lbs. on film. Severely discounted for this Board. One worries about his ability to survive with the big boys, but the word “star” will be stamped on his NFLPA card for a long time if he can take the pounding. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a fringe-1st grade based on his belief the answer will be, “yes.” Here is a great October article on Moore and his tagline response to questions about his size: “How big is fast”? LOL.
3:12 DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa (RS Junior). 6’3”, 305 lbs. A classic 1-gap, penetrating DT who only started for one season, but managed to show the burst, athleticism and strength to create interior pass rush while also holding up in run support. He plays with good, low pad level, and will also get better with pro coaching. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 2, eventual starter’s grade for a team that isn’t loaded with Heyward and Tuitt already. Here are a nice December article on his struggles to overcome a learning disability, and a good looking early February scouting profile from a Patriots POV.
3:12 EDGE Patrick Jones II, Pitt. (RS Senior). 6’4½”, 264 lbs. with shorter 32” arms and 10” hands. [MTG AT SENIOR BOWL] Will turn 23 as a rookie. An Edge Rusher who plays best attacking/holding the edge while maintaining the athletic ability to play in space. He’s got very good burst off the line, with a good floor and the native athleticism to have a high ceiling, but needs a lot of good coaching and work to iron out holes in his game that lead to very different takes by the film watchers. Note the lack of length for someone this tall, and what your author considers a terrible habit of trying to leap by opposing Tackles with both feet off the ground. That is sure to get him rag dolled at the next level until he learns better. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #42 on the original Top 50 list, based in large part on his speed to power skills. Here is a good looking February scouting profile. This late January scouting profile has some decent on-field background, and ends in a fringe-1st grade as a pure 4-3 DE. This late-January Chiefs-oriented scouting profile also concludes that he “doesn’t have the coverage chops to be a dynamic hybrid or 3-4 outside linebacker.” By contrast, James Wilford’s gif-supported February scouting report concludes that Jones “lacks the size and strength teams want from a traditional 4-3 DE [and] struggles against power on both run and passing plays. [But] he could play as a 3-4 Outside Linebacker at his current weight.” This Patriots-oriented February scouting profile also sees a 3-4 OLB, and believes he could contribute quickly as a situational pass rusher. Here is a well balanced late January scouting profile from a Giants POV.
3:12 EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma. (Junior). 6’3”, 251 lbs. Will turn 22 as a rookie. A well built, violent, and successful speed-to-power rusher with experience as a stand up OLB. He’s also shown a solid anchor for setting the edge on run downs, though he could afford to be more disciplined in that role. Not the bendiest player, however, and could use some coaching to develop more and better considered pass rush moves. This January scouting profile has special praise for his burst, power, and pad level, but includes a gif that also shows some nice cornering. This late January scouting profile agrees, also noting a suspension for marijuana use along with several other teammates.
3:12 ILB Jabril Cox, LSU (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 233 lbs. Will turn 23 just before the draft. LSU by way of North Dakota State, he went to the SEC to prove his chops against elite competition – and did, even in one of LSU’s rare down years. A converted H.S. quarterback and multisport athlete, Cox dominated his FCS games completely. See this good late January scouting profile from PFN. His instant acceleration burst is just that special, and makes him a ferocious blitzer and shadow guy against running QB’s. Tom Mead’s gif-supported scouting report from late January describes Cox as basically a huge, cover-capable defensive back on passing downs, but complains that his run support skills are also closer to the Safety level than what is expected of an ILB. Scouting profiles have said that Alabama gave up throwing at him, but succeeded when they hit him with Najee Harris and power runs.
3:12 CB/DB Elijah Molden, Washington (Senior). 5’10”, 190 lbs. Your classic “quicker than fast” guy, several reports have emphasized that he is a pure football player at heart who does the little things well. Excellent instincts; excellent ball skills; excellent tackling pound-for-pound; etc. What he lacks is the long speed and extra inches to play on the boundary. A good, interior piece of the secondary but limited to that role. Owen Straley’s gif-supported February scouting report lauds Molden’s “impressive combination of patience and physicality” before ending with a fringe-2nd grade as a starting Nickel DB to replace Mike Hilton. This Mathieu-centric article calls Ar’Darius Washington and Elijah Molden his potential “disciples,” whatever that means.
3:12 DB Shaun Wade, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’1”, 194 lbs. Turns 23 as a rookie. No school has produced more and better DB’s than Ohio State over the past decade, with even the over-drafted ones (Eli Apple, Bradley Robey, etc.) eventually turning out to be basically solid. Wade is the next one up, a 6’1” specimen who’s played best in the slot where quickness is supremely important, his length almost a disadvantage, and his combination of tackling and blitzing prowess show best. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to Minkah Fitzpatrick, but that was after 2019. Wade struggled mightily as a boundary Corner in 2020; so much so that he’s now viewed as more of a multitool DB than a true Corner. That limits his value significantly compared to the Top-15 buzz after 2019. But that “multitool DB floor” is still a valuable player (“bigger and better version of Mike Hilton” is nothing to scoff at!), the ceiling is very high, and there is that tantalizing chance he could convert to the true Free Safety spot his build and athletic skills seem to suggest. Owen Straley’s gif-supported February scouting profile makes exactly that comparison – to a larger and more physical Mike Hilton – and then ends with a Round 4-5 grade. The pure athleticism and Safety upside justify a slightly higher grade on this board, with due warning. Be sure to read this excellent NFL.com article for background about the young man himself, and what makes him tick. We rarely get that kind of human access, and it matters.
3:24 STEELERS ROUND 3 PICK (# 87 OVERALL)
3:24 TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame. (RS Sophomore). 6’4”, 248 lbs. Will be 20 on draft day. Departing early because Freshman phenom Michael Mayer would have crippled his snap count just as Cole Kmet did when Tremble came up. Those pass catchers forced him to earn snaps as a blocking TE, which he did. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting profile shows he can also find holes in zone coverage and will catch what is thrown in his direction, but lacks the speed and shiftiness to beat man coverage with his route running. AK ends with a fringe-3rd grade, describing Tremble as “basically the opposite of Eric Ebron”; a blocking-first TE with limited athletic talent. Has played all over the offense, from in-line, to out wide, as a Fullback, and as an H-back.
3:24 RB Michael Carter, N. Car. (Senior). 5’7⅞”, 202 lbs. The lightning to Javonte Williams’ thunder, Carter is a solid RB who’s been discounted on this board because he doesn’t seem to fit what Pittsburgh looks for. His game is built on some really admirable agility and vision, combined with good contact balance and the kind of wriggly, competitive attitude that lets him fall forward most of the time. The downsides are a lack of the size that Pittsburgh likes, and very good but not game changing speed. He’s that guy who will scare a lot of pitchers but won’t set any stolen base records. Good hands out of the backfield, and a willing if ineffective blocker. Josh Carney’s gif-supported late January scouting report all but fanboys about Carter’s stop/start and COD ability, ending with a solid Day 2 grade. Carter’s performance in both the Senior Bowl game and the practice sessions supports that.
3:24 RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo. (Junior). 5’9”, 195 lbs. A totally different back than anyone the Steelers have featured in recent years, Patterson is a master of the make-you-miss school. The assets he has are elite by any standard: vision, elusiveness, agility, and contact balance being at the top. A true human pinball with the hands to be effective as an outlet receiver too. What he lacks is pure size and the power that goes with it. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report points to good, but not leave-you-in-the-dust speed, as an asset, and also points out that Patterson has had a lot of carries in college. He more or less carried the Buffalo offense along with the ball, for better or worse. Here is an admiring article from December.
3:24 RB Trey Sermon, Ohio St. by way of Oklahoma (Senior). 6’¼”, 213 lbs. A well-rounded, aggressive football player who happens to play running back. Solid in pass protection. The physical assets like burst, cutting ability, vision, and hands are all good to very good, with his contact balance and ability to make tacklers miss in a phone booth being exceptional according to Tyler Wise’s gif-supported February scouting report. The hard part is the odd lack of play. He never managed to be The Man in all his years at Oklahoma, and then continued getting less than 20 carries per game at Ohio State until the very end of 2020 – when he singlehandedly destroyed Northwestern in the Big 10 championship game, followed by Clemson in the college semi-final. At which point he separated a shoulder on the first play against Alabama. If he was always that good, why such limited use? If those games were different, how and why? This Giants-oriented February scouting profile ends with a mid-round, “reliable contributor to the rotation” grade.
3:24 RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma. (Senior). 5’11⅝”, 227 lbs. [Weight as of the Senior Bowl. He reportedly played in college at 246 lbs.] Stevenson, like A.J. Dillon in the 2020 draft, looks like a poster child for the Steelers’ patented program: “Take big man with nifty feet, trim him down, and turn him into a star.” He has all the assets needed to do just that: size, speed, surprising quickness, toughness, excellent hands as a receiver, the ability to block, protection, and even attitude. He wore a t-shirt under his jersey emblazoned with “I’M BACK” to celebrate his first TD after returning from a 6-game marijuana suspension. Had some fumbling issues in 2019 when he split time with Trey Sermon, but no such problems appeared in 2020 (with Sermon off and looking good at Ohio State). This goes to a long November article from Sports Illustrated on all the adversity Stevenson has faced and overcome. Here are some nice video clips from Matt Waldman. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade after highlighting the tremendously quick feet and the pure power, but also posing questions about his north-south speed.
3:24 RB C.J. Verdell, Oregon. (RS Junior). 5’9”, 210 lbs. A lot of people’s sleeper pick, Verdell had a very good 2020 despite everyone knowing he’d be the primary weapon because Oregon has a new QB. Consistent production no matter what is his calling card. Short but not small, he has an angry, downhill running style with very good contact balance, and elusiveness in the hole. For whatever reason, the dispute about his vision ranges from “poor” to “NFL good” among the Internet scouts. This goes to an admiring profile from back in November.
3:24 WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota. (Junior). 6’1”, 210 lbs. Look, James Washington has a mirror image… A player who does everything very well and could easily break into Round 1. Severely discounted for this Board.
3:24 WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU. (Junior). 6’3”, 200 lbs. An outstanding football player at his position, rather than a genius athlete stuck at WR to beat the world up in open space. He runs good routes; wins at the point of contact; has great hands; tracks the ball well for twisting, athletic catches; runs tough; and seems to understand the benefit of playing his position with brains, suddenness, and toughness as well as size and speed. Looked fabulous in 2019, but so did everyone else with Joe Burrow at QB. Still looked awfully good in 2020 when the team was losing. The only real flaw, as capably pointed out in Tom Mead’s late February, gf-supported scouting report, is a lack of physicality in both blocking (he’s awful even when he tries) and getting off the line against physical DB’s. Both can be fixed if he’s willing.
3:24 WR/RB Amari Rodgers, Clemson. (Senior). 5’9½”, 211 lbs. Will be 21 on draft day. Severely discounted for this Board. An example of that new prototype in the NFL, the hybrid WR/RB who isn’t going to win with height but rather with sharp cuts and the ability to be very physical. Has some punt return ability. Tore his ACL in 2019 but returned to play in 2020, which may show that he’s a little better than the 2020 film would suggest. Looked awesome at the Senior Bowl, showing the ability to track and adjust to deep balls as well as working underneath and in the midfield.
3:24 DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 290 lbs. with 32½” arms and 10¼” hands One of the prospects who will suffer because he lost his 2020 season to Covid-19, Onwuzurike could have risen into a solid Round 2 prospect if he’d been able to build on his exceptional burst in a full 2020 run. Maybe even fringe-1st. He’s played both 0- and 1-tech, which is ideal, and shown both the ability to pressure QB’s up the middle while also holding up to collegiate level double teams. Measures a little small to hold up in the NFL, but times they are a’changin’. Maybe.
3:24 DL Tommy Togiai, Ohio St. (Junior). 6’2”, 302 lbs. Built like a shorter but wider version of the current Steeler prototype for a Defensive Tackle. Excels as a 1-gap run stuffer who can provide occasional pressure, but takes some real projection to see as a 3-down starter who can do all the Steelers ask for.
3:24 DL Marlon Tuipulotu, USC. (RS Junior). 6’1¾”, 308 lbs. with 32¾” arms and big 10⅜” hands. A squat, powerful bull rusher with good burst and an effective bull rush. Great motor too, which is always a major plus, but not a lot of sophistication. It takes some projection to see the starter upside. He came in at #45 on Daniel Jeremiah’s original Top 50, described as “a dominant run defender with some upside as a pass rusher.”
3:24 EDGE Victor Dimukeje, Duke. (Senior). 6’2”, 265 lbs. Can he play in space as well as he does moving forward and playing the edge? If so, his native ferocity, leverage, hand fighting skills, motor, and ability to convert speed to power could make him a strong contender for one of Pittsburgh’s Day 2 selections (even with the misfortune of having grown up in Baltimore). If the length comes in subpar, that will combine with his only-good athletic talents to push his stock down. A classic high floor, maybe-low ceiling prospect. This solid looking scouting profile from January emphasizes his skill and discipline as a run defender, with solid if not special pass rushing skills.
3:24 EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon St. (RS Senior). 6’3⅛”, 254 lbs. with longer 33¾” arms. Will be 23 on draft day. A fine 3-4 OLB prospect, who could use some time in an NFL strength training room. He too often plays more like an undersized DE. That said, the size is dead on, the scouting profiles stress how well he uses his length to set the edge in the run game. Also a very good tackler. The pass rush moves are where he lacks the most. He’s very much a push upfield and then react guy, with little sophistication. If only he was three years younger! Pittsburgh would be all over him. As it is… We’ll see. Here is a PFN scouting profile from late January that really wants an explanation for why he played so much better in 2019 than 2020. The piece on Rashed in this Cowboys-oriented Senior Bowl review describes him as “a highly athletic and incredibly raw presence on the edge.”
3:24 EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami by way of Temple (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 243 lbs. Turns 23 in early 2021. A somewhat undersized 3-4 OLB from Pittsburgh’s POV, Roche plays a fluid, technically accomplished game with plenty of power despite the moderate size. Combined with a good first step, and the ability to turn a corner, those assets give him a high floor, but did he hit his ceiling in college? He put up monster numbers in 2019, but they dipped in 2020 after the move to Miami, and he is not a special athlete when measured on the NFL grading curve. This goes to a particularly good PFN Senior Bowl scouting profile that breaks down the assets and limitations in detail. This good February scouting profile from a Giants POV would agree, adding that Roche won the coveted right to where a “Temple Tough” single digit uniform, an honor voted on by his teammates. This New Year’s scouting profile notes that he rarely fell into coverage even when asked to play from a 2-point stance. This local newspaper article came out after he shined at the Senior Bowl with “elite hand work.”
3:24 EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB by way of Florida. (RS Junior). 6’6⅛”, 255 lbs. Dominated lower competition with his bend, length, and strength. Smith put up big numbers in 2019 and 2020 as a 3-4 OLB, and has the native talent to succeed in the NFL too. But he comes with an array of question marks arising from both the level of competition and being involved in a credit card fraud scam that got him kicked out of Florida and sentenced to two years probation. It all adds up to major boom or bust potential. This Chiefs-oriented February scouting report emphasizes the combination of rare natural tools with some pretty extreme rawness. This looks like a fairly thorough scouting profile from PFN circa the Senior Bowl.
3:24 EDGE Payton Turner, Houston. (Senior). 6’5⅜”, 270 lbs. with extremely long 35” arms and equally big 11” hands. An odd tweener who would have been the focus of great interest at the Combine, the loose description from a Pittsburgh POV would be an “elephant OLB,” but he could also serve as an undersized 5-tech DE (he has played as high as 290), or a true 4-3 DE. That last of those is where he will probably end up. Supposed to be an athletic young man, but how does that translate to an NFL grading curve? Good burst, good strength, fabulous length, but not much in the way of bend. Here is PFN’s Senior Bowl scouting profile.
3:24 ILB/SS Jamin Davis, Kentucky. (RS Junior). 6’3”, 224 lbs. (his college numbers were 6’4” and 234). The modern hybrid LB who excels in coverage and plays well in run support because he ‘gets it’ despite his size limitations. Something of a one year wonder, and played in rotation even in 2020, but that was enough to show a pretty high floor at a position in high demand. Kentucky fans certainly mourned his loss. Discounted a bit on this board because the Steelers have more obvious use for a Buck ILB than a Mack, but his obvious special teams potential mitigates the positional analysis. Here is a Giants-oriented scouting profile from mid-February that worries about how much more he needs to learn. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with an unusually high Round 2 grade based in part on assuming the larger size.
3:24 ILB/SS Chazz Surratt, N. Car. (RS Senior). 6’1½”, 227 lbs. He’s earned a real discount for this Board because he measures like a Mack ILB who is too small to play Buck – a step I hate to take because this is the sort of prospect to get your draftnik juices going. He’d have a Round 2 grade in a heartbeat if he was 2” and 20 lbs. bigger. Surratt was a good college Quarterback who couldn’t quite make it in that position, and therefore chose to move across the line to become a highly athletic QB for the defense. And did! It’s hard to oversell the value at ILB for that kind of drive, discipline, and football IQ. The biggest issues are age (24 on draft day) and the fact that the Steelers have a glut of Mack ILB talent in Bush, Spillane, Gilbert, and even Marcus Allen. Here is a wonderful NFL.com article from November to give you some insight into the young man as well as the player. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade based on obvious starter potential that requires some significant learning, and may be limited to the Mack position.
3:24 ILB Pete Werner, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’2”, 240 lbs. An ILB who excels in run support and moving downhill on blitzes, but has a game that slowly weakens as he moves further away from the LOS. He really is an Ohio State level athlete; just one who leans more toward the bigger and thumper side than most of his peers. His coverage skills are very good in shallow zones, average to solid carrying someone downfield, and vulnerable when that RB or ILB has next level speed or shiftiness, but there is only so much you can expect from a Buck ILB. He will certainly start out as a special teams ace, but has clear 3-down-player potential if he can develop the pro-level recognition skills and coverage tricks that have let VW survive so long. Devin Jackson’s gif-supported February scouting report describes those learned instincts as the main reason for lowering Werner’s draft grade into the Round 3-4 range. This January PFN scouting profile agrees, describing Werner as a surprisingly good athlete for a run-first LB, who only needs get less vulnerable to QB tricks and misdirection plays. One of the few players that TE Pat Freiermuth could not block in the run game.
3:24 FS Andre Cisco, Syracuse (Junior). 5’11¾”, 203 lbs. Excels as a playmaking centerpiece in the middle of the secondary, but needs to improve his tackling and overall oomph to be the same at the next level. Interviews will matter since he has a reputation for being either a step slow in his analysis and reaction, or hair trigger jumpy and easy for a good QB to manipulate. This brief but solid January scouting profile ended with a Top 50 grade. This goes to a 4-minute video scouting profile (not yet watched). This nice gif-supported February scouting report ends with a fringe-2nd grade after lauding the ball skills and instincts, but head-shaking at the erratic tackling. The NFL.com scouting profile considers him a boom or bust box Safety who should be a good backup with starter potential.
3:24 FS/DB Richie Grant, UCF (RS Senior). 5’11⅝”, 200 lbs. Will turn 24 as a rookie. An effective and rangy playmaker from the deep Safety role, with extensive special teams credentials and a love for that part of the game, Grant would rank a solid round higher on this Board if Pittsburgh did not have such a big preference for younger draft picks. Stood out brilliantly at the Senior Bowl, where he also played some Corner. This point-by-point scouting profile from early February ends in a solid Round 2 grade. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a Round 2-3 grade.
3:24 S Richard LeCounte III, Georgia (Senior). 5’11”, 190 lbs. A good, solid, all around Safety who projects as a high floor, moderate ceiling kind of pick. Does everything well but is a little small, and has only NFL-good athleticism rather than the sort of eye popping native talent that Pittsburgh tends to prioritize. Here is a solid looking January scouting profile from PFN. Here is a good article on how he overcame a nasty motorcycle accident in the middle of the 2020 season. Here is a fare-thee-well scouting profile from a Georgia Bulldogs fan site. This article includes information on his role as a strong, heart-and-soul team leader.
3:24 S/CB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU (RS Sophomore). 5’8”, 179 lbs. 21 years old.  Mike Hilton is a miniature CB with the ferocity and tackling skills to double as an ultra-mini Safety. This prospect is an ultra-mini Safety who’s got pretty solid slot-Corner skills. It’s just… that is a hard kind of hybrid role to carry off well when you’re up against NFL athletes. A very fun player to root for, but his stock is depressed because the physical odds are stacked against him to some extent. This point-by-point scouting profile thinks he can overcome those limitations, and thus ends with a strong Round 2 endorsement. This brief February scouting profile would agree on the Round 2-3 grade. This thorough, gif-heavy February scouting report ends with another Round 2-3 grade on a fairly common comparison to Tyrann Mathieu. This Mathieu-centric article calls Ar’Darius Washington and Elijah Molden his potential “disciples,” whatever that means.
3:24 CB Camryn Bynum, California. (RS Senior). 6’0⅜”, 198 lbs. with short 30¼” arms. A high floor prospect that film watchers will love for his loose hips, tight game, and long experience. His play simply does not have many of those holes that makes the critics say, “Gotcha!” Moves smoothly and fluidly when keeping in sync, tackles well, and plays a physical brand of football. All that’s missing is that bit of special something that sets the CB1’s apart, and allows them to deal with the athletic freaks that populate NFL receiver rooms nowadays. A much safer bet than most Day 3 prospects, but lacking the physical assets to push his stock up even higher. This goes to Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report, which ends in a mid- to late-3rd grade due to questions about his ability to play anywhere but as an outside Corner.
3:24 CB Keith Taylor, Wash. (Senior). 6’2⅜”, 191 lbs. with 31” arms. Tall and long, with adequate speed and COD ability. Sounds like one of those players who needs to be in a defense like Seattle’s, doesn’t it? OTOH, he’s had some success in the slot, and stood out as one of the most complete CB’s at the Senior Bowl, so maybe he is more mobile than his build suggests. Smart, tackles well, understands physicality, and knows how to use his length.
3:24 CB Ambry Thomas, Mich. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 189 lbs. with 31⅛” arms. Will be 21 on draft day. A promising, quite physical press Corner in 2019 who had a lot of people excited to see his next step. Alas, but he opted out of 2020, thereby missing a chance to boost his stock and leaving all the question marks in place. One has to assume a redshirt year because there is no way to know how much he’s improved, if at all.
Organized by Highest Value (“HV#”) to the Steelers. Great players for other teams get downgraded here, as do positions where Pittsburgh has limited “want.” An HV of 1:25 means the player is a reach for the Steelers at any point before Pick # 25 overall but good value at any point from the end of the 1st on. Getting that player in the early 2nd would be fine, while getting him at 2:14 would almost be a steal. Yes, this system results in a certain amount of grade inflation for positions of need because we are talking about the “highest” grade, not the one where a player is expected to go; but grades are never pushed up just because of need. Players with the same HV# are more-or-less equivalent and organized alphabetically. Boards organized by HV are sorted within each grade by position: Offense and then Defense, inside to out.
Rounds are subdivided as follows:
  • 1st Round grades: 1:01, 1:05, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, or 1:25.
  • 2nd & 3rd Round grades: Early (#:01), Mid (#:12), or Late (#:24).
  • 4th to 7th Round grades: Early (#:01) or Late (#:16).
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