We are now a week into free agency, and for the most part, the majority of the big moves are in the books. We are sitting a little more than a month out from the 2021 NFL Draft, and the draft boards and positional needs are beginning to solidify for teams based on which of their own free agents they were able to keep, and who they were able to sign from elsewhere.
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t really move the needle too much for themselves. They lost two starters along the offensive line, and may still lose a third, but they have at least one or two in-house replacements, and acquired a couple of depth players from the outside.
Still, their board is pretty wide open. I’m not sure there would be too many first-round picks, based on position, that would shock me. And Michael Renner’s latest mock draft for Pro Football Focus certainly didn’t do that with his selection of tackle Teven Jenkins in the first round, an oft-mocked player to Pittsburgh.
“We rarely advocate for pigeonholing yourself in a position”, he writes, “but given the Steelers’ roster and contract situations, they pretty much have to go offensive line. They’re in luck because Jenkins is as mean as they come at tackle — he earned a 93.6 run-blocking grade last year”.
Jenkins could be a plug-and-play starter at left tackle for the Steelers, should they end up losing Alejandro Villanueva in free agency, though as time passes, it seemingly becomes increasingly possible that they re-sign him. One of the most attractive options out there, the Indianapolis Colts, just vanished off the board after they signed a tackle.
Renner’s mock draft, though, wasn’t limited to just the first round. He actually did a three-round mock draft. With the 55th-overall pick in the second round, he has the Steelers selecting quarterback Kyle Trask out of Florida—who is, again, another player that has gotten mocked to the Steelers more than once before.
Needless to say, quarterback is high on the radar with Ben Roethlisberger entering what is almost guaranteed to be his final season. The Steelers haven’t used higher than a third-round pick at the position since they drafted Roethlisberger in 2004.
Pittsburgh doesn’t escape day two without addressing the defense for Renner, though, as he has them taking Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses in round threre. Given that they recently released Vince Williams, and lack quality depth at the position, it’s another pick that makes intuitive sense.
But I’m not sure there will be many people willing to accept a three-round mock draft that doesn’t include the Steelers adding a running back, especially when you look at Renner’s draft and see that Najeh Harris is the first one off the board—at 32. He even has Travis Etienne available in the second round for them to pick.