Will the Pittsburgh Steelers address the tackle position in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft? Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN thinks they ultimately will, at least in his latest mock draft that he released Tuesday morning. Kiper, who in his last mock draft a few weeks ago had the Steelers selecting Alabama center Landon Dickerson at 24th overall in the first round of his second mock draft of the offseason, now has them picking Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins in that spot in his third offering of 2021.
Below is what Kiper wrote about mocking Jenkins to the Steelers this time.
The Steelers have serious salary-cap issues, which means they have had some tough losses in free agency and haven’t added any players from other teams, just yet. They did retain wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, however, and they could still bring back longtime left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who is unsigned. I’d still address the offensive line here — tackle Matt Feiler left in free agency too, and center Maurkice Pouncey retired — and Jenkins is a tough pass-protector and mauler in the run game. I thought hard about Alabama center Landon Dickerson, who could be a Day 1 replacement for Pouncey.
It’s not hard to understand Kiper’s reasoning for mocking Jenkins to the Steelers this time around because there’s a real chance the team will be looking to draft at least one tackle this year and especially with it still looking like they will lose Alejandro Villanueva as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Jenkins has been mocked to the Steelers quite a few times by other major media draftniks so far this offseason. The Oklahoma State product decided to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 college season to prepare for the NFL draft back in late November and he made that announcement after he was injured against Oklahoma and failed to play the following week against Texas Tech. At the time, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said that Jenkins, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound senior, was dealing with back pain.
Jenkins was a 2020 preseason All-Big 12 selection. He started six games at right tackle and one game at left tackle in 2020 before deciding to opt out. He also started all 12 games in 2019 in addition to starting all 13 games as a sophomore. Jenkins played in all 12 games as a freshman in 2017 as well. Most of Jenkins’ college starts came at right tackle but he did log quite a bit of playing time at left tackle as well throughout his college career.
The Oklahoma State pro day is scheduled for April 1, so we’ll be watching closely to see who the Steelers send to the event to observe it. In the meantime, however, below is the scouting report on Jenkins that our own Josh Carney put together a few weeks ago. Additional, a great video breakdown of Jenkins that Brandon Thorn orchestrated with the help of the tackle is also included below.