NFL Draft

2021 Steelers Big Board (By Ranking- April 6)

NOTE 1: Please see the bottom of the article if you are new to our Board. That will explain the definitions and approach.

NOTE 2: Anyone looking for SPARQ score data should know that it vanished along with Zach Whitman’s epic work at what used to be 3sigmaathlete.com. I do not know what happened (probably just a case of real life). We are also missing those wonderful spider charts that mockdraftable.com, put out each year. Friends and fellow draftniks, please join in a moment of silence for the loss of all that fabulous work. Amen.

NOTE 3: I am several weeks behind in the process of collecting and collating the athletic testing numbers. Risers and fallers on that basis will not be complete until the next version of the board.

Let the show go on!

Friends, this is the time to get your few cents in! Can you fill any of the blanks, or add any insight? Are there any players I’ve missed that our comrades-in-nerdery should learn about? Are there any grades you want to move up and down? Do you have any thumbs-up or -down experiences to share after play testing the board on various mock draft machines? Are there any players you can help us to understand better, or links you can share that ought to be added in?

These posts are legendary for the level of detail we get to in the comments, and there is nothing that makes me prouder than providing that forum. Dig in, dig deep, and share both questions and potential answers. It’s understood that none of us “know”, so this is a safe place to stick your nose out with questions about “why…?”, “why not…?”, and “what if…?”

Finally, I want to make sure everyone understands the basic discounts being applied at this point in the year. Here’s a quick summary.

  • OT – no discounts, but I do believe that Round 1 picks should not be limited to being only a stereotypical Right Tackle. Prospects who only excel at run blocking, or only at pass blocking, tend to fall for those limitations rather than any need or scheme concerns.
  • OG – pure Guards start at Round 3. Guards with position flexibility get ranked at the most desirable position.
  • CENTER – no discounts. But not upgrades either, despite the need. We never push someone up for positional value, only down for lack of it.
  • TE – no discounts, though your humble author admits to a prejudice in favor of TE’s who can block.
  • RB – no discounts. FWIW, I think the gap between the Big 3 and the rest of the class is the biggest story of the year.
  • WR – one-round discounts, more or less, for players who’d be slated for the 1st or 2nd rounds if there was more need. Please let me know of entries that need to be revised in light of Juju Smith-Schuster’s return.
  • DT – all Round 1 and round 2 talents are discounted to Round 3 on the premise that Pittsburgh will not go there any earlier this year.
  • EDGE – Round 1 talents are discounted toward the early 2nd. But imho the best Edge rushers would only rise to the teens no matter what, even if news drops tomorrow that T.J. Watt is retiring to become a Buddhist monk in Tibet.
  • ILB – no discounts for Buck ILB’s who could step in for Vince Williams, though many of those tend to be limited athletes who deserve a mid-round grade for that reason. Mack ILB’s are viewed with skepticism, as potential backups for Devin Bush and role players. Of course, there is a role for that stereotype in sub packages.
  • SAF – grades begin in Round 3, and natural Round 3 talents are nudged downward by half a round.
  • CB – no discounts, but there was an early-round discount before Nelson departed. I see a suspicious clump of talent that has settled right after the Steelers Round 1 pick, and worry that some bias may have crept in. Please examine these more critically.
HV DESCRIPTION
1:01 T/G Penei Sewell, Oregon. (Junior). 6’5”, 331 lbs. with 33¼” arms and big 10⅜” hands. Last year’s draft saw four OT’s picked in the top 15 players: Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs. So who won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best college OL? Sophomore – sophomore! – Penei Sewell. They just do not come better designed for the job than this country strong run blocker from a pass first program, who’s best known for his fantastic movement skills in space. He may need a year or two of good coaching to internalize some technical discipline and fine points, but that’s pretty much the only flaw. This goes to a tremendous side-by-side, gif-supported scouting report on Penei Sewell vs. Rashawn Slater published by TDN in early February.
1:01 QB Justin Fields, Ohio St. (Junior). 6’2⅜”, 227 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. Top 5 Talent. Ain’t Gonna Happen. Here is one reviewer’s strong, gif-supported February argument for why Fields should be QB1 over Lawrence.
1:01 QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson. (Junior). 6’6”, 220 lbs. with 10” hands. Going #1 overall.
1:01 QB Zach Wilson, BYU (Junior). 6’2”, 210 lbs. with 9½” hands. Wilson had reconstructive shoulder surgery during the 2019 offseason (and a 2018 broken thumb), followed by average production that put him on no one’s special radar. But he wasn’t off the scene either because the preinjury signs had been startlingly good. Then came 2020, when he lit up the world, completing close to 80% of his passes. The rest of the package seems to be there too. He has an arm good enough to make all the throws, Annie Oakley accuracy, a build that can take the pounding, a good football IQ, nifty feet for extending a play, the ability to make any throw from any angle, and above all that special gene for being creative when he needs to be. He’s also as savvy as they get in college. Here is a very brief scouting profile from back in October. This goes to a longer and more interesting, gif-supported October scouting profile from The Draft Network.
1:05 T/G/C Rashawn Slater, Northwestern. (Senior). 6’4”, 304 lbs. with shorter 33” arms. Draftniks argue that his arm length will limit Slater to Guard and Center, but they aren’t that short, and this is a Football Player first and foremost. That covers a lot of nits like the failure to be 6’7”. The talents include ideal footwork, excellent mobility, very good hands, very good (if not great) power, a blue-collar type of play that will appeal to both the city and its team, and the best position flexibility in the draft. But the best part? Slater may never be the biggest or longest dog in the fight, but he’s going to be the scrappiest, fightingest dog anywhere close to the neighborhood. That matters. He has also handled top talent successfully, including a fantastic 2019 game against no less than Chase Young. Josh Carney’s gif-supported late January scouting report projects Slater as a sensational Guard prospect, particularly for a zone oriented run game, and awards a late-1st grade after worrying that the lack of length and the just-good power may limit how he would fit in the Burgh. This goes to a tremendous side-by-side, gif-supported scouting report on Penei Sewell vs. Rashawn Slater published by TDN in early February. That leaves little doubt about his ability to succeed as a Tackle too. Pro day testing confirmed elite mobility and strength, with size limitations.
1:05 QB Trey Lance, N. Dak. St. (RS Sophomore). 6’3”, 224 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. Turns 21 in May. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported February scouting report uses Mahomes as the comp, both for his skill set and the need to benefit from a redshirt year with great coaching. One can see his point. Trey Lance played only one, not so impressive game in 2020, which is a shame because the draftnik world was waiting on pins and needles after his 2019 season showed every tool you could ask for. Hardened reviewers composed metaphorical sonnets to the wonderful arm, perfect release, tight spiral accurate to every part of the field, in-pocket mobility to extend plays, overall athleticism, and foot speed to run when everything else breaks down. They loved his remarkable football IQ and personality even more, especially since N.D. State (former home of Carson Wentz) runs a modified pro system that calls for playing under center and making adjustments on the fly. Half field reads, but still enough to put him mentally ahead of players at larger schools. Really nice size as well. Used to playing in the cold. Top notch character. Etc. If you have your doubts, start to relieve them by reading this November article from NFL.com that digs into his background. Could he fall due to the lack of high level competition, and the ‘what have you done for me lately?’ problem caused by Covid-19? Here is a PFN comparison of Mac Jones (high floor) to Trey Lance (high ceiling). Read this impressive March interview with TDN for a taste of the young man’s character and personality on and off the field.
1:05 CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (Junior). 6’2”, 208 lbs. The best cover Corner in the draft, with Top 3% athletic talent – and he tackles too! It will be a shock if he drops out of the Top 10.
1:10 OT Christian Darrisaw, Va. Tech. (Senior). 6’4¾”, 322 lbs. with very long 34½” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG] Remarkable movement skills even for the NFL, especially out in space where he routinely catches and pops LB’s and DB’s even in the secondary. In a man this size the knee bend is incredible. His power is already more than sufficient, especially if you project improvement and better endurance from professional strength training. That is also true for the basic technique: already sufficient, but improvable in all the little ways that usually do improve, such as nailing the kick slide, more consistent footwork, improving the hand fighting, and overall recognition of what’s going on around him. An excellent prospect with obvious Round 1 promise as both a pass protector and run blocker. His flaw is the need for a more consistent nasty streak that doesn’t run hot & cold. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a Top 15 grade, with notes that Darrisaw would be good everywhere, but would fit best of all in an outside zone attack that would get the most from his mobility. Josh also notes that Darrisaw improved noticeably in every college year, which makes it easier to project that the curve will continue as a pro. I.e., he is coachable. This goes to a very readable and apparently fair scouting profile from January. Here is a briefer scouting profile from early February. This early February scouting report notes that Darrisaw uses his length very well, but sees better aerobic conditioning as an area that could improve his game yet another notch. Here is a February interview at TDN. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends with an easy Round 1 grade, largely because the assets are great and all the listed weaknesses come down to, ‘needs to be more professional.’
1:10 ILB Micah Parsons, Penn St. (Junior). 6’2”, 245 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] The dream running mate for Devin Bush, but it Ain’t Gonna Happen. Or at least it wouldn’t in any normal year. It becomes theoretically possible with Penn State playing so few games due to Covid. Parsons gets honorable mention in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
1:10 CB Caleb Farley, Va. Tech. (RS Junior). 6’2”, 197 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG]. Smart and amazingly athletic, Farley was a high school QB who converted to WR in college, and then over to CB without missing a beat. Would probably rank in the Top 5 if he’d managed to stay consistently healthy and hadn’t opted out of the 2020 Covid season. Public stock has been dented by minor, out-patient surgery that kept him out of the pro day, but that is being ignored here. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to a young Jimmy Smith of the Ravens. Take my advice and do not read Owen Straley’s gif-supported February scouting report, because it Ain’t Gonna Happen and why dream about what you can’t have?
1:15 OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas. (RS Junior). 6’5⅞”, 314 lbs. with average 33” arms and big 10¼” hands. An immensely athletic prospect with endless upside and a pretty solid floor due to his already-good footwork and grip strength, but (that hateful word) he may need a year or two to fill in the technical gaps. He particularly needs to keep his knees bent and weight down in casual movements as opposed to only when he’s trying to anchor. Could lower body work in the weight room solve the problem all on its own? It’s the draftnik challenge: how do you combine Top-5 natural talent, youth, and Round 2 film. That said, when was the last time Pittsburgh had any hope at all of landing a Tackle with Top-5 natural talent? He demonstrated tremendous native strength (36 reps on the bench press!) and unnatural speed (a 4.84 dash!) at his pro day, but the film shows a need for NFL coaching to harness those assets; and it wouldn’t hurt for that same coach to bellow a bit about “consistency first, playmaking next.” Some of his flaws seem to come from trying to be sensational when good would have sufficed. This nice looking scouting profile from early February ends in a Round 2 grade based on that maddening inconsistency. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported, early February scouting report ends with a mid-1st grade plus an asterisk for the technique issues. The mid-March PFN scouting profile notes the tremendous athleticism, physical assets, and wrestling background.
1:15 T/G Teven Jenkins, Okla. St. (RS Senior). 6’5⅞”, 317 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9½” hands. [MTG] A big, very strong, extremely nasty tough guy with solid movement skills, and technical flaws such as occasional balance issues and [gasp!] too much aggression. His punch is devastating but would land more if his arms were longer than the ‘just average’ they finally measured in at. Moved extremely well at his pro day. It looks like his issues can all be fixed with good coaching and hard work, so the odds are in his favor, but it will take that work before he can ‘arrive’ at the NFL level. He’s shown all the tools to succeed as an NFL pass blocker too, but only flashes because his wide open Big 12 offense rarely asked him to do the vertical sets and other tasks he’ll need to at the next level. His strength also suggests an ability to play Guard if he needs to, which raises the floor. This Chiefs-oriented, late January scouting profile from SI notes that he “may have the strongest hands in this year’s draft class,” before ending with a typical fringe-1st grade. Jenkins was the initial #30 on Daniel Jeremiah’s board. “A future 10 year starter at RT,” says Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report describing Jenkins as a mauler who run blocks as well as anyone in the class, but could have issues if put on the other side where mobility can matter more than strength. (Make sure to read the comments on that one!) This late January PFN scouting profile agrees, but ends in a Round 2-3 grade based on what can be translated to ‘RT limitations.’ This mid-march interview with TDN is a very good read. A universal Round 1 prospect, the biggest warning sign is in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile: “Some scouts voiced concerns about football character.”
1:15 RB Najee Harris, Alabama. (Senior). 6’1⅞”, 230 lbs. with long 33⅜” arms and big 10” hands. [MTG AT SENIOR BOWL] Turns 23 just before the draft. Solid, solid, solid, with an extremely high floor and a very high ceiling. A big, strong RB who Daniel Jeremiah has compared to Matt Forte, Harris can be trusted to get every inch of what’s available, a lot that wouldn’t be there for lesser backs, and to get stronger as the game goes on. As Alex Kozora’s gif-supported January scouting report sums it up, “Harris has every trait you look for in a back. Not just at a baseline ‘good enough’ level. He’s good to great in almost every area.” Pick your asset (other than home run 40-time speed) and he’s got it. Vision, size, strength, super quick feet, a brutal jump cut, an even nastier spin move, a nose for both the sticks and the end zone, etc., etc., unto the end. He will (A) reliably hit the best available hole, (B) run you over if you stand and wait, (C) disappear if you go in hot, and (D) vanish from your grasp if you fail to get a perfect grip. Deadly. He’s also a tremendous receiver, and already an accomplished pocket protector. Pro ready – two words I almost never say. The hardest part is distinguishing which heights he achieved on his own, versus climbing so high on the shoulders of his friends. Dave Bryan’s contextualization article demonstrates how much that monstrous Alabama line contributed to Harris’ success. OTOH, the BCS championship game showed off his creative side on the biggest stage of all. Ohio State cornered him several times, but could not bring him down because of what he did all by himself, and that was a huge part of Alabama’s dominant win.
1:20 QB Mac Jones, Alabama. (RS Junior). 6’2½”, 217 lbs. Can there be a high floor, low ceiling QB prospect? If so, it’s Mr. Jones. A smart game manager who understands the position and can deliver the ball consistently, quickly, accurately, and with touch until you get to those 50-yard throws that test his NFL-average arm strength. The film says “late 1st” all day long, but then you have to account for playing with enough talent to make a half blind, knock-kneed chimp look brilliant. On the one hand, all that talent made the college game was easier for Jones than for any other prospect; on the other, he still had to make the throws and lead the team. The average athletic profile and arm strength pull on his draft stock too, but be fair: he is no more limited than some of the genuine greats like Joe Montana (a Round 3 pick, btw). Accuracy, where he’s aces, matters far more for the QB position. This late January scouting profile from a Patriots POV ends with a late-1st grade. Here is a PFN comparison of Mac Jones (high floor) to Trey Lance (high ceiling). This gif-supported February scouting report from Alex Kozora ends with a solid mid-1st grade on a comparison to Andy Dalton, with Drew Brees as the ultimate upside.
1:20 TE Kyle Pitts, Florida. (Junior). 6’5”, 240 lbs. Everyone has him tagged to go in the Top 5-10 picks, including Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported February scouting report, and he is such a good receiving weapon that he deserves to. But where is the fit for Pittsburgh? The team is chock full of WR’s, and has a Move TE in Eric Ebron. That lack of fit earns a large discount on this Steelers-specific board; especially since the team doesn’t seem to prioritize TE’s as much as the fan base anyway. Yes, Pitts reportedly has a blocker’s mentality. So yes, you can argue that all he really needs is more sand in his pants to become what we all want. But is that enough to justify a higher grade for this particular roster?
1:20 RB Travis Etienne, Clemson. (Senior). 5’10⅛”, 215 lbs. [MTG OVER ZOOM] W.E.A.P.O.N. But is he the right kind of weapon for Pittsburgh’s scheme? Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report lists fumbles as a potential issue, but the bigger concern may be Etienne’s running style. He is the sort of chunk-yardage back who thrives best in a freewheeling offense that creates open space, rather than grinding down defenses with body punches between the Tackles. Not that he can’t grind; Dave Bryan’s contextualization article makes that very clear, by illustrating how often his chunk runs began by breaking an early tackle. The joker in the deck is Matt Canada, and how his new offensive ideas may change the Pittsburgh running philosophy. Etienne, after speaking with Canada, came away believing he would be a “perfect fit.” The list of assets starts with lightning in a bottle quickness, and continues through home run speed, good discipline to stay within the system, and the willingness to stick his face in the fan on blocking duty. Yes, he is only big rather than huge. And yes, he benefited from having a great QB and overall team around him. But facts are facts: the kid is electric. He’s even a fine punt and kick returner. Here is a good March article/interview from TDN.
1:20 WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU. (Junior). 6’1”, 208 lbs. Top 20 at worst. Ain’t Gonna Happen.
1:20 WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama. (Junior). 5’10”, 184 lbs. Top 20 at worst. Ain’t Gonna Happen even though he lost the back end of his season to a fractured ankle.
1:20 CB Jaycee Horn, S. Car. (Junior). 6’¾”, 205 lbs. with 33” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG]. Will be 21 on draft day. The classic draft dilemma with Corners: are length, speed, and skill going to be enough, even with sterling NFL bloodlines like a Pro Bowl WR as your dad? We can at least be sure about the athletic tools, since his results put him in… wait for it… the 99.9th percentile of NFL Corners, though nitpickers will complain that he did not run the agility drills because zone coverage is his weak spot. Yada yada yada. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported January scouting report offers one analyst’s confident opinion that he will be more than fine, at least for the press-man duties that Pittsburgh now emphasizes. It helps that Horn plays a good, physical game in run support, but he is handsy and should be expected to produce an annoying number of PI penalties until his habits, technique, and confidence mature to where everyone expects. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile has Horn at CB2 for the entire class, based on “traits and upside [that] are extremely appealing despite a lack of high-end ball production.” He also came in at #19 overall on Gil Brandt’s initial big board.
1:24 STEELERS ROUND 1 PICK
1:25 OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’6⅛”, 306 lbs. with shorter 32⅜” arms and 9⅝” hands. Very good in every part of his game, with tremendous experience at a good program, Eichenberg has flashed everything but pure physical genius. He has it all – punch, power, pulling, etc. – but only the balance, body control, and hand fighting skills seem to be next level. Not someone you want for screen plays. All that adds up to a high floor pick who’s easy to project as a long term blindside starter, and maybe an occasional Pro Bowler, but hard to see as an annual all star. He’s just plain boring, as in you put him out there and forget about it. No great positives, but no negatives either. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a comparison to no less than Joe Staley. This excellent early-March scouting profile describes him as an extremely high floor prospect who’s capped by limited athleticism, and ends with a Round 2 grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile calls him a better run blocker than pass blocker, and thus a more natural fit at RT rather than on the blind side.
1:25 T/G Jalen Mayfield, Michigan. (RS Sophomore). 6’5”, 326 lbs. with short 32⅝” arms and 9¾” hands. [VIRTUAL MTG] Will be 20 years old on draft day, which earns a push up the board for the youth-loving Steelers. His pro day was barely average, with short arms, average mobility drills, and surprisingly poor explosion numbers (jumps and dash). Those totally conflict with the film, which shows a tremendous athlete with special explosion, who only requires a bit of projection because he is still growing into his adult size, strength, and skills. His 2019 game against Chase Young could not have been more impressive, and he was still a Freshman (18 years old)! Daniel Jeremiah put Mayfield at #24 overall on an early board, arguing that he can start immediately at RT, with the upside to grow way beyond just that. Also has a surprising floor as a Guard because his single best asset may be explosiveness off the line. Here is a brief, late January scouting profile that ends with a fringe 1st grade after extolling his pass blocking skills even more than the run blocking. Devin Jackson’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a mid- to late-1st grade as well, based on Mayfield’s tremendous athleticism and mostly-solid technique. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in a more cynical fringe-2nd grade based on inexperience and a laundry list of those youth-related technical problems. Mayfield is highlighted in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
1:25 G/T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC. (RS Junior). 6’4”, 300 lbs. with short 32⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. The enigma of Round 1, AVT is built like a Center, moves like a Tackle, and projected most often to Guard. His grade would be up in the teens if we could be confident in either the Center or Tackle aspect, but he has been quoted as saying that he considers himself to be a position-flexible Guard. I.e., the OL position where Pittsburgh has the lowest level of need. Widely considered the ‘cleanest’ lineman in the draft, AVT has all the assets you want with an exceptional understanding of basic technique. Enormous, pro-ready floor as a quality starter (something I almost never say), with a ceiling to match; especially since Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report illustrates how much professional strength training could improve his game. Mock drafts in December had him pushing into Top-10 consideration! Smiles all around if you are looking for a football player, but accompanied by a vague worry if you’re in Pittsburgh’s shoes and would really prefer a Tackle or a Center. Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 caught the essence. AVT came in at #14 overall, with this observation: “I think he has a chance to stick at tackle, but he’s ideally suited to play guard [and] is ready to start on Day 1.”
1:25 RB Javonte Williams, N. Car. (Junior). 5’9⅝”, 212 lbs. The thunder to Michael Carter’s lightning in NC’s powerful, 2-headed running attack, Williams, who Daniel Jeremiah would send to Pittsburgh in Round 1, has been compared by supporters to a young Cadillac Williams or Nick Chubb. He hits top speed in an instant, runs hard, has good vision, will maximize the available yards, and has a serious nose for the end zone. Contact balance is a particular asset, and he also has nice hands coming out of the backfield. He takes particular pride in pass protection, maybe because he played linebacker all through H.S. An easy projection to the traditional bell-cow role that Pittsburgh has favored for many years. Josh Carney’s gif-supported January scouting report is not the first to compare him to Nick Chubb. I have heard (2nd hand through a podcast) that his college coaches use the same comp based on his overall approach to the game, burst, physicality, and ability to always make his blockers right. Dave Bryan’s contextualization analysis is also encouraging, since it shows that Williams earned a lot of yards by breaking tackles and creating room that lesser backs wouldn’t have found. Put up a moderate pro day with good explosion (jump and 10 yard split) numbers, moderate 4.57 long speed, and very good COD measurements in the shuttle and 3-cone. It may be more notable that neither Colbert nor Tomlin made it to his pro day.
1:25 WR Devonta Smith, Alabama. (Senior). 6’1”, 175 lbs. An artist at the WR position, 2020’s Heisman Award winner has all the production, speed, shiftiness, separation ability, and attitude to get picked high in the first. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to no less than Marvin Harrison, and he isn’t the only one. There is a small chance that his odd cable-and-wire frame could cause a surprising drop, and even one far enough to put him into the Steelers’ range, but it is hard to see him as the pick even so.
1:25 EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami by way of UCLA. (RS Junior). 6’5”, 258 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG]. Turns 22 just after the draft. The perfect example of a clear Round 1 prospect held back by medical red flags. Phillips has every athletic talent you could ask for, as proven by the sort of pro day workout that agents dream about. He’s also noted for a well known work ethic, team-leading character, hot burning motor, and the best technique of the entire class. As noted in this late January scouting profile, he was a consensus #1 recruit in the country for the 2017 college class! But then you have to factor in the red flags. His injury history goes back to a nasty car crash that wrecked one of his wrists (multiple surgeries), followed by a serious off field concussion, and then another that cost him a game or two. He finally gave up on football completely, only to find that he missed the game too much. By then he’d moved to Miami. He returned to the field and looked a lot like his old self, or maybe even better. What a story! Alas that we have no doctor on hand with access to both the young man and his very thick medical file. Grades without that data are almost absurd. This nice looking scouting profile from a Giants POV ends with a fringe-1st grade. So does Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report. Gil Brandt has him all the way up at #11 overall!
1:25 ILB Zaven Collins, Tulsa (RS Junior). 6’4”, 260 lbs. [SEVERAL MTGS] Won both the 2020 Bronko Nagurski award and the 2020 Chuck Bednarik award, which are given by different groups to the best CFB defensive player of the year. The comparisons vary between Anthony Barr, Leighton Vander-Esch, and a young Brian Urlacher. If that doesn’t sell you, nothing ever will. Collins was built by heaven to be one of the best 3-4 Buck ILB prospects for any draft, any time; a 260-pounder missile with startling burst, who moves like a 230-pound coverage player in open space. He also has very good bend, and can double as a legitimate Edge Rusher. Josh Carney’s gif-supported January scouting report lists the small school experience as just about the only question mark. The PFN January scouting profile adds long speed as a potential issue, suggesting that he may time around 4.70 (Vince Williams ran a 4.76). This gif-supported early February scouting report also worries about whether he has the makeup speed to recover after falling for a play action fake. Both suggest that he might be asked to drop some weight in order to gain a step. This late January scouting profile digs down to what might be bigger negatives: “Rumors around campus describe Collins as having a terrible personality: no one likes him.” That translates to a locker room problem off the field, and maybe on the field in the form of lackadaisical effort and pursuit when the play isn’t nearby. But this late March TDN interview (which may honestly be this year’s draft season GOAT) tells a very different story about a kid who grew up in a tiny town of 1,400 citizens, was his school valedictorian, wants to be a doctor after football, and ended up in Tulsa because his home was so small that no larger schools took notice. And it’s a story told in his own, very articulate words. Which do you consider more reliable? Does it help that Gil Brandt has him at #20 overall? This late January scouting profile from a Patriots POV ends with a solid Top 20 grade. Here is a nice gif-supported scouting report from early February. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees with others that Collins may have freakish physical upside, but needs a good bit of work to get there because he needs to play at a higher energy level and with better use of his unusual length and size to defeat blockers. Alex Kozora’s April “chip on the shoulder” article adds some background and character insight.
1:25 CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern. (Junior). 6’¼”, 192 lbs. with 31⅛” arms. The #1 CB on a great college defense that gave Ohio State fits just one week before they tore up Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. His best feature may be the lack of holes. Newsome scores “B+ to A-” for size, length, quickness, transitions, and football IQ. The only real knock is a tendency to get grabby that people worried was due to limited foot speed. He made a big leap up the board when he ran a verified dash in the 4.3’s with a 40” leap at his pro day, though other sources complained that he looked stiff in position drills and put up only average to low average times in the short shuttle (31st percentile) and 3-cone drill (49th percentile). Devin Jackson’s gif-supported January scouting report also notes an extensive list of games missed due to a great variety of injuries. One worries that he might be the sort of player who has difficulty surviving what Mike Tomlin calls, “the bumps and bruises of the season.” The doctors and the strength coaches will accordingly have real input on his final grade – which we cannot access, of course. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #40 in his initial Top 50, calling him an early starter as one of those all important outside CB’s. Here is a fine late-February interview he did with TDN. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile has Newsome as the CB3, ahead of Caleb Farley.
2:01 EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia. (RS Sophomore). 6’2¼”, 249 lbs. with orangutan-level 34⅜” arms and big 10½” hands. Ojulari would be a Round 1 lock if he was 2” and 10 lbs. bigger, especially after he shocked the world with his arm length before putting up 26 reps at his pro day. Film watchers love what he does because it checks every other box. He is bendy as all get out, has pro-level skills as a hand fighter, strength-to-power assets well beyond his weight class, and the athletic talent to play in space. Needs to work on setting the edge better, but that is all but expected for young players who have these measurements. Deserves a late-1st grade as a situational pass rusher, but earns a small discount too because of the question marks about whether he can be a complete OLB as Pittsburgh uses them. This nice, Panthers-oriented SI scouting profile notes the size issue, but also points out that Ojulari has had great success as a run stuffer nevertheless. He is “the best pure speed rusher in the draft” according to this Raiders-oriented, late January scouting profile. The gif-supported February scouting profile by James Wilford calls him a complete player with surprising power to complement his speed and bend, allowing him to both rush the passer and stop the run.
2:01 EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas. (Junior). 6’3⅝”, 256 lbs. with long 33⅞” arms. Ossai is a true 3-4 OLB and special teams demon, with all the talents required to excel in all facets of that most difficult position: as a pass rusher, in run support player, and dropping back in coverage. It’s just that he’s also extremely raw in all three areas, and will need at least a year or two before he ‘gets it.’ No one likes to wait, but he could be a genuine star when that growth process is finished. The athletic profile actually looks very much like T.J. Watt’s as a prospect, without the name as insurance for his football upbringing. This decent looking February scouting profile ends in a late-1st grade based on that level of upside balanced by a real need to learn his craft to NFL standards. This thorough, late January scouting profile sees Ossai’s main limitations coming from being asked to do so many different tasks in college, and ends with a Mid-1st grade. This Chiefs-oriented SI scouting profile follows the trend: hugely athletic, perfect for a 3-4, questionable size for a 4-3, and in need of good coaching and hard work to bring the skills up to his potential all-pro ceiling. Ditto for this late-January scouting profile (“Athletically, Ossai is overflowing with juice”). His 41½” vertical jump at the pro day pretty much confirmed that. The gif-supported scouting report from Jonathan Heitritter ends with a Round 2 grade based on how raw he is in so many areas, but also raises Ossai’s floor by emphasizing his hair-on-fire motor and special teams expertise. This goes to an excellent, gif-supported March scouting report from a Titans POV. Jon Ledyard’s Tampa-oriented scouting report is as good as ever, emphasizing that Ossai is a pure stereotype of ‘miracle athlete who must be taught to play disciplined football.’ Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is a must read because it includes a lot of “upstairs” stuff on Ossai’s remarkable work ethic, nonstop motor, and dedication to the game.
2:01 EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn. St. (RS Sophomore). 6’5”, 257 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] Turns 23 in December. Boom or bust baby! Oweh is a miracle athlete with the burst, bend, and length to grow into a really special player. What he lacks is the production and polish to have anything close to a sturdy floor. This point-by-point January scouting profile ends with a Round 1 grade and a comparison to Jadeveon Clowney. There is some good stuff in this Raiders-oriented scouting profile too, particularly on Oweh’s upward arc as an overall defensive player. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with the lowest grade I’ve seen (Day 3), based on objections that Oweh may have world class potential but isn’t ready to succeed as a football player. Here is a February article on PFF’s glowing endorsement of Oweh’s “freak show” athletic levels. Here is an intriguing, gif-supported February scouting report/mock critique from a Colts POV on whether Oweh should be considered at #21 overall. He came in at #16 overall on Gil Brandt’s initial big board.
2:01 ILB/SS Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (RS Junior). 6’2”, 216 lbs. A mid-1st prospect on other boards, JOK exemplifies the modern hybrid SS/ILB who can do both jobs at an acceptable level. He’s discounted here because Pittsburgh has less need for that player than other teams. It Ain’t Gonna Happen anyway. He’s too good. Josh Carney’s gif-supported, early March scouting report lauds his “jaw dropping range and overall athleticism” with “great coverage” skills but worries about his strength at the point of attack. His conclusion is perfect: “Special player, special traits that you can’t teach, but you can’t play checkers with a chess piece.” JOK may end up as the NFL’s rangiest Mack ILB in our base 3-4, and its best box Safety in Nickel and Dime, but he needs to be used in that hybrid way to avoid getting square-pegged when the play morphs to a round hole.
2:01 CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia (Junior). 6’1”, 193 lbs. with long 32¾” arms. Long and wiry, with track-level speed, excellent COD skills, and the pop to play in zone. He also tackles well for someone with his build. The assets are all there, and the coverage is proven; the flaw is an apparent lack of the ballhawk gene, issues in zone coverage, and a tendency to get beat on 50/50 balls by physical receivers. James Wilford’s gif-supported January scouting report ends with an early-2nd grade. This point-by-point February scouting report agrees on Round 2 after balancing the freak athleticism and press-man dominance with his lack of hands and limitations when playing zone. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sounds a lot like a solid Round 1 grade. This Giants-oriented scouting profile points to more flaws that are going to need solid coaching help at the next level. Came in at #27 overall on Gil Brandt’s board.
2:01 CB/S Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse (RS Junior). 6’2⅝”, 205 lbs. with long 32¼” arms. Too bad there won’t be a Combine, because his older brother Obi (the San Francisco Safety) probably rose two full rounds when his athletic genius got put on full display. Ifi is a tremendous athlete too – in the top 3% overall for CB’s and it would be higher but for a poor short shuttle. He will be drafted as a potential boundary Corner with Free Safety flexibility to raise his floor. He certainly tackles like a Safety, and knows how to blitz. Obvious Round 1 physical assets, but his technique and mental game aren’t as highly refined. Josh Carney’s gif-supported, late-March scouting report notes that he has a prototypical press-man build and assets, but plays much more comfortably in off-man and zone. Does that point to an issue, an area where he could grow into an all star, or something else? Should be an instant contributor on special teams, and could be the best “TE eliminator” in the draft. Here is a typically solid PFN scouting profile from January. This January scouting profile ends with a Round 2 grade based on surprisingly good COD skills held back only by questions about his long speed. This 4-part January scouting profile points out that Melifonwu is already an accomplished Safety, and the questions go to his move toward being an outside Corner. This Cowboys-oriented scouting profile (and interview) ends with a Round 1 grade. Here is a February scouting profile from a Chiefs POV that ends with a high-potential Round 2 grade. This goes to a gif-supported scouting report from January. He definitely made some money at the Senior Bowl. This February scouting profile from a Cowboys POV considers Melifonwu the CB4 of the class behind Surtain, Farley and Horn, and ends with yet another Round 1 grade. He came in at #51 on Gil Brandt’s initial board, which translates to somewhere in Round 2. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile argues that he can be dominant when he plays tighter on WR’s, but objects to the amount of cushion he leaves in off-coverage (coaching?) and to the apparent lack of route anticipation.
2:01 CB Asante Samuel Jr., Fla. St. (Junior). 5’10⅛”, 180 lbs. with 30⅛” arms. [Tomlin & Colbert at Pro Day] His father was an all-star Corner for many years, and has every reason to be proud of his son. Junior could use some time in an NFL strength program, but he is fast (4.45) and physical enough to project as a high floor prospect with a ceiling held back only by the size limitations. Super quick, very sound (especially in off coverage), and well ahead of the game in the smarts department. The Steelers have luxuriated in the 1-2 punch of Hilton and Sutton as multipurpose, slot-capable Corners. Samuel Jr. would fit right in, especially now that Nelson has departed. James Wilford’s gif-supported Depot scouting report from late January ends in a late-1st grade based on the pro ready skill set. This detailed February scouting profile sounds so enthusiastic that it might have been written by his agent. This goes to a good looking March scouting profile from PFN, and a typically detailed scouting profile by PFF. This March scouting profile from Yahoo Sports asks the catchy question you know you want to: “How does Junior differ from his father?”
2:01 CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (RS Junior). 6’⅝”, 194 lbs. with long 32¾” arms. Will be 22 on draft day. A solid cover-Corner who projects as a long term NFL starter but maybe not a star. He rarely gets beat, especially deep, but doesn’t have a big rep as a playmaker either. Skills include every aspect of coverage: press, off, and zone. SPARQy as they get; he supposedly ran a 4.25 40 at his pro day (others had him in the low 3.3’s), with incredible 10 yard splits, while also leaping like a deer. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #47 in his initial Top 50, which was only that low due to a few concerns that he might be more of a straight line athlete than would be ideal for a Corner. They are minor concerns, but the sort that could inhibit his potential as a true shut-down guy. This point-by-point February scouting profile has a great summary: “For every flashy play, there is at least one unnecessary blatant penalty. With so many pluses and minuses, the future for Stokes is not just intriguing: it is nail-biting. Either he will be the next lockdown corner or he will be a serious liability.” Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report concludes that “his speed, athleticism and scheme flexibility makes him valuable to play inside or outside,” but sees him as a Round 2 guy due to poor tackling in run support and the need to shed some grabbiness that would get flagged at the next level.
2:12 T/G Alex Leatherwood, Alabama. (Senior). 6’5¼”, 312 lbs. with long 34⅜” arms but smaller 9½” hands. Won the Outland Trophy for best O-lineman in 2020 as a Tackle, and had good success as a Guard in 2019. That very high floor, with a ready made backup plan, is a big part of his appeal as a prospect. Smooth, quick footed, mobile, explosive (his 34½” vertical jump is insane), and strong enough to handle the job, Leatherwood has a number of fixable technique issues that drop his stock to where Pittsburgh is going to pick. None of those are very severe (hand fighting, balance, keeping his knees flexed to avoid waist-bending, etc.), it’s just that they really do need to be ironed out. If he can’t make it work, a move inside to Guard should not be hard. As Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile puts it: “Leatherwood has projectable traits, solid athleticism and position versatility, but suffers from a failure to consistently execute at a high level due to issues that might [ought to] be correctable.” Zierlein’s biggest complaint is the need for more aggression. This nice scouting profile from January points to a possible weakness against inside countermoves, which may be related to relatively slow hands for landing his punch. Josh Carney’s gif-supported January scouting report concludes that Leatherwood offers fine value for Pittsburgh at 1:24, though he’ll be a bigger help in the running game than as a pass protector unless coaching can help with his only-average mirroring skills.
2:12 T/G Dillon Radunz, N. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 6’5⅝”, 304 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 9⅛” hands. The blindside protector from that small school superpower that keeps on producing NFL talent. Radunz profiles as a small-town, all-football, all-grit, long term starter who could make Pro Bowls, but lacks the supreme athletic genius to leave reviewers with HOF stars in their predraft eyes. His technique is already up to low NFL standards. Classic high floor, low ceiling. This goes to a valuable February interview he did with a TDN writer. This early-March, gif-supported scouting report from Tom Mead ends with this summary: “Ideally, he would fit in a Gap/Power run scheme and a short, timing passing scheme. He’ll probably be a swing tackle year one and move to left tackle with improvement. Some teams may use him at left guard as well.” LanceHere is a nice mid-March article from TDN. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is more critical than most, noting that his “practice habits have been questioned by some scouts,” questioning his athletic ability against NFL talent, and suggesting that he might have to move inside to Guard. His athletic testing numbers came in at a healthy top 10%, with weight being the only real drag.
2:12 C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma. (Senior). 6’4½”, 312 lbs. with shorter 31¾” arms and 9⅝” hands. The spiritual and physical core of an Oklahoma team that’s given the league a series of top OL picks for the past several years, Humphrey is a Center who’s more in the Mike Webster mold than a miracle athlete like Dawson or Pouncey. Smart, tough, immensely strong, and possessing every asset you want except for the T-rex arms. Put up historic GOAT athletic numbers at his pro day. He comes from a family of national-level wrestlers, and his understanding of force, balance, and leverage really shows. Fully capable of playing Guard when he isn’t snapping the ball, but probably not full time due to the arm length. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile uses words like “savvy” and “game-wise” before ending with, “…more ‘steady’ than ‘star’, Humphrey is a solid, safe selection and should become a longtime starter.”
2:12 TE Pat Freiermuth, Penn St. (Junior). 6’5”, 250 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] A well rounded Tight End who can block, run, catch, and bully. What a pleasure to say all those words together about someone coming out of college! Penn State called him “Baby Gronk,” but could it be more fair to call him “Baby Heeeeath”? Lost the second half of 2020 to a shoulder injury that required surgery, which may also limit his Spring practice run, but he should be ready to play at full strength in his rookie season. This goes to Wes Cantliffe’s gif-supported Depot scouting report from January. This early February scouting profile from a Patriots POV agrees with almost everyone on a very-early-2nd grade. Here is a fine point-by-point scouting profile from January. Pittsburgh had the full array of Tomlin, Colbert, and the TE coach at his pro day. Dave Bryant’s “contextualization” article describes analytics that make it clear why Freiermuth is more of a Round 2 prospect than the sort of special athlete Penn State fans have extolled.
2:12 EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan. (Senior). 6’4”, 277 lbs. A promising 4-3 DE who relies on his bull rush and really needs to play with his hand in the ground so he can maximize his ability as a run stuffer off the edge. He looked great on a bad team in 2020, so much so that he will almost certainly get picked in the Top 15. Which is awesome because his is a poor fit for the Steelers 3-4 defensive philosophy anyway. It would have been nice to see how he moved in open space if there’d been a Combine to watch. Not that we need more idle fantasies to chase. Here is a Raiders-oriented scouting profile from January.
2:12 EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (RS Sophomore). 6’5”, 260 lbs. Will turn 21 just before the draft. Considered by many to be the #1 Edge Rusher in the class despite opting out of the Covid-ravaged 2020 season, Rousseau has size, length, speed to power talent, a few good moves in the bank, and even the proven ability to drop back into coverage. This late-January scouting profile responds to buzz tying Rousseau to the Lions at #7 overall with well placed cautions about Rousseau’s youth and one-year-wonder status. This goes to a brief but useful February scouting profile that summarizes things pretty well, albeit with no real analysis. Ditto for this summary, Raiders-oriented scouting profile. This mid-January, gif-supported scouting profile ends with a Top 15 grade due to offsetting Top-5 potential against limited bend and very limited experience despite the “mind boggling” production of his RS Freshman year. The full length Walter Football scouting profile is better than most, and well worth a read for a balanced POV that ends with, ‘he may have been overhyped before the season, but is still a Top 20 prospect.’ The most common NFL comp I’ve seen is, ‘a very raw Jason Pierre-Paul”, who older draftniks still remember for the debate about whether he’d do as well in a 3-4 as the more obvious match in a 4-3 system. The same debate applies here, with the proviso that Pittsburgh’s OLB’s do less dropping back than they used to. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report sees more of a 4-3 player, and accordingly leans toward a Round 2 grade from a Steelers POV. He came in at #22 overall on Gil Brandt’s board. This TDN article came out after a miserable pro day, and is the place to go if you want a summary of the concerns.
2:12 ILB Baron Browning, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’3⅛”, 241 lbs. with 33” arms and 10” hands. A superior athlete even for Ohio State, Browning offers great size, speed, and upside. He is the very definition of “toolsy;” enough so that his extra gear showed out even among the Senior Bowl competition. His 0-to-60 burst would be special even in Round 1. Jim Nagy, the former scout who runs that operation, called him “the highest ceiling linebacker in the draft.” Browning gets some criticism for his football IQ, but that comes from outgrowing Safety, becoming an ILB, and not knowing the job in 2019. In 2020 he looked much better. What is his position, though? He’s built like a Buck, but plays like a coverage expert. See this late February, gif-supported scouting report from Tyler Wise, and this mid-march article from TDN for a more in-depth discussion of how much that mistake about his native position could have impacted the on-field results. Bottom line: Baron Browning and Devin Bush would combine to give the Steelers a very special asset that could dominate the midfield for many years to come, though it might take Browning a year or three to “get it.” The January scouting profile from PFN sees a Round 2-3 prospect with the athletic potential to be a genuine star in any kind of defense. This January scouting profile is even more encouraging, ending with a mid-2nd grade and a comparison to Myles Jack. Ditto for this Giants-oriented scouting profile: strong Day 2 grade for any kind of defense. Browning is mentioned in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
2:12 FS Trevon Moehrig, TCU (Junior). 6’½”, 202 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] NOTE: this is a heavily discounted grade. 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 Round 1 lock but for his only-acceptable tackling skills, and that will not prevent him from getting picked in Round 1 by any team with a need at the position. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a typical fringe-1st final grade. Same with this point-by-point scouting profile from early February.
2:23 STEELERS ROUND 2 PICK (# 55 OVERALL)
2:24 OT Stone Forsythe, Florida. (RS Senior). 6’8”, 307 lbs. with proportionately long 34⅜” arms and 10” hands. The NFL.com scouting profile calls him a “Tale of Two Tapes” prospect, who uses his length, strength, surprisingly good anchor, and smooth footwork well enough to excel in pass protection, but leaves a lot to be desired as a run blocker due to balance and leverage issues – particularly a habit of leaning forward, which can get him yanked to the ground in some truly ugly reps. Sounds a lot like he’ll grow into being Villanueva 2.0, doesn’t it? Zierlein ends with a strong Round 2 grade, but Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting profile is less generous, putting Forsythe into Round 4 based on an almost identical analysis. The athletic testing showed him to be a fine, Top 15% athlete compared to OT’s in general, with particularly good movement skills for a man his size.
2:24 OT James Hudson, Cincinnati. (RS Junior). 6’4⅜”, 302 lbs. with 33” arms and big 11” hands. [SEVERAL MTGS] A mauler with a nasty attitude, very quick feet, and clear Round 1 levels of native athletic talent. [Pick your superlative] upside. Great mobility when he’s pulling, but desperately needs to work on technical aspects like hand placement, angles, and maintaining his bend, which reportedly climbs from his knees to his waist when he gets weary or undisciplined. Raw clay of the highest quality. Made into Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 (as #46) before there was any buzz about him at all, and then he became an instant star at the Senior Bowl. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report is very positive, ending on a Round 3 grade based on inexperience (he has only one year of practical playing time) and the need for at least one redshirt year.
2:24 C/G Landon Dickerson, Alabama. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 326 lbs. with 32½” arms and big 10⅜” hands. NOTE: This grade is wrong, because it averages two extremes. So is every other non-professional grade on Dickerson, because none of them include a full medical profile with (a) a doctor’s opinion on his many surgeries, (b) a PT expert’s opinion on why they happened, and (c) a position coach’s opinion on what technical changes he could make to reduce future stress on his knees and ankles. The tape says, “Round 1 every day and all day; pick him at 1:24 if he falls that far.” Dickerson has actually been described by Daniel Jeremiah as “an almost perfect Steeler.” See Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile if you doubt it. Or this tremendous, gif-supported scouting report from early February written by a well respected coach and Steeler fan, which makes the case for Dickerson at 1:24.

On the other side are terrifying medical red flags that say, “Do not touch with a 10 foot pole.” Dickerson played 5 seasons in college. He finished in only one, as a RS Junior. His RS Senior and true Freshman years (2020 and 2016) both ended with torn ACL’s. His RS Freshman and RS Sophomore years (2018 and 2017) both ended with surgery on his right ankle. Yikes. So: is it a trend that will continue, or was he just snakebit 80% of the time?

Alex Kozora’s mid-January, gif-supported scouting report highlights the long list of experience and assets, but also the alarming series of medical red flags. He may look like a short-armed Guard, but this is a true Center with versatility across the line. If you want a nasty interior lineman to get down low and dig people out, this is your man. The limitations show when he’s asked to lumber in any direction but forward, or to deal with sneaky quickness. He moves fine, but those situations can bring out his issues staying on balance. Gets extra points for leadership. After tearing his ACL the week before, Alabama dressed him anyway for the BCS championship coin toss, and then lined him up for the final kneel-down snap. Respect.

2:24 G/C Quinn Meinerz, U.W. Whitewater (Civ. III) (Senior). 6’3¼”, 320 lbs. with 33” arms and solid 10¼” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY] 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. The gif-supported March scouting report from Jonathan Heitritter mentions numerous small issues in addition to the level-of-competition concerns, such as a tendency to telegraph run vs. pass with his alignment, but all of those are solvable. Acceptable movement skills, though he is better in the proverbial phone booth. Put up fabulous athletic numbers at his pro day. The NFL.com scouting profile from Lance Zierlein leaves few doubts that, “He has the strength and demeanor to become an impactful starter in the near future.” Meinerz gets honorable mention in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
2:24 QB Kyle Trask, Florida (RS Senior). 6’5¼”, 236 lbs. with 10⅛” hands. [MTG] We saw real flashes in 2019, and video game domination in 2020, so why isn’t he on everyone’s lips as a top-of-the-first prospect? It goes back to the years before that, when he couldn’t earn his way onto the field. Trask was a backup in High School for heaven’s sake (to an all time, record-setting high school phenom, but still). Then he was a backup in college even as a true Junior. At which point he finally got his chance, and impressed all who watched in 2019. Size, poise, accuracy, and NFL-average arm strength (or at least close enough). This great background piece came out around that time. Enter 2020 and a year when he almost earned a Heisman trophy! So the first question is, how could a man with that many assets stay buried for all of those years? Then there are more. How much of the credit goes to a great set of receiving weapons? How hard a ceiling gets set by an NFL-average deep ball and mobility? Steeler fans should also remember that Mason Rudolph also put up amazing college numbers. Has Rudolph disappointed, or just progressed in that slow and steady way we all predicted in 2018 and then chose to forget when he donned the black and gold? If the latter, what does Trask offer in 2021 that Rudolph did not in 2018? Lots of questions equals a somewhat hesitant grade. This goes to a good article from December. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report sees some Nick Foles in Trask’s game, and ends in a late-1st grade for him as an accurate but immobile QB who can help a team win a lot of games, but won’t necessarily be the reason.
2:24 DL Christian Barmore, Alabama (RS Sophomore). 6’4⅛”, 310 lbs. with apelike 34⅝” arms, and solid 10” hands. He’s got the talent to be picked in Round 1, but hasn’t proven it on the field consistently, and still gets out-leveraged far too often. Many top notch flashes, but almost no games where he seemed to tilt the field. Production aside, he will get a lot of looks from the Steelers because he fits so well on paper. He has the native burst and quickness that Coach Butler prizes, and size enough to theoretically withstand double teams. He just hasn’t done it often enough, except for one particularly good day in the BCS championship win against Ohio State. Tom Mead’s gif-supported, late January scouting report ends in a fringe-1st grade consistent with many other pundits. Such as, e.g., this late January scouting profile from a Patriots site.
2:24 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. Move him up a round on your personal board if you’re willing to ignore the size factor. 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. Here is a good, gif-supported scouting report from a Broncos POV that contains many links to further research.
2:24 ILB Dylan Moses, Alabama (Senior). 6’3”, 240 lbs. [NOTE: the real grade is anywhere from fringe-1st to Round 5 depending on things we cannot know, as described below.] Here’s the lead on basically every scouting report you’ll see: “Dylan Moses is a freak athlete.” He has every talent you look for: size, speed, fluidity, etc. The physical potential is all but unlimited, and it’s been that way since he made the cover of ESPN’s magazine in 8th grade due to scholarship offers from LSU and Alabama. The issues come down to the flip side of that coin. What does that do to a 13 year old? Especially one with a father who raised him for the gridiron like some colossal Stage Mom? Those question marks – and they are only that, questions – pervade the discussion. Does he love the game enough for itself? Will he go sideways when he becomes his own man? Etc.

Everyone seems to have an internal plot line even though no outsider can really know, and thus interviews are going to drive his stock more than film. It gets worse because he looked like a potential Top-10 pick in 2018, but then tore his ACL right before the 2019 season. So he went into 2020 with Top 10 expectations… and failed to meet them. Yes, that may have been the injury. He looked both tentative and a little slow, perhaps (probably?) because he had a very difficult rehab that made him consider quitting football when the pain continued. And again when it returned, and then grew worse during the season. Does that show a botched surgery and a permanent physical problem? A lingering taint that will disappear with another offseason to heal? Some deep emotional fragility? Or was it [pick your plot point]? It will take careful interviews, medical reports, and background research to tell – none of which we can do. James Wilford’s gif-supported February scouting profile, notes some slower processing time and what might be occasional failures to pursue 110% of the time. Which in due course leads to questions about the “why,” that require further interviews, and… [sigh]. Daniel Jeremiah has compared him to Myles Jack, as the sort of limitless athlete who needs to grow into his powers, but will need some guidance in doing so. This January scouting profile from PFN has good background.

2:24 CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Senior). 6’1”, 198 lbs. with 31½” arms. Opted out of 2020, which is a shame because he had a lot to prove, and the failure to play during Covid has seriously harmed his stock – in the eyes of fan-level pundits. 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. He may have earned some money at his pro day, where he stood out for superior size, build, hands, 4.42 speed, and especially his movement skills in the short shuttle and 3-cone (90th percentile). Those agility scores and the overall top 5% athletic profile profile go a long way toward answering the array of questions usually faced by Corners this big. But does he have the skill level to perform this well against opponents rather than clocks? Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting report worries about COD ability and body control, but loves the size and ball skills. “He’s more playmaker than lockdown corner, but can range in Cover 3 or play physical in press-man.” The PFN scouting profile describes the narrative as, a “brilliant redshirt freshman season” followed by “somewhat erratic football the next two years” and then the opt-out year. This Cowboys-oriented scouting profile calls him, “the most underrated CB in the class.” The full-length Walter Football scouting profile concludes that Adebo is an outside CB who “would fit best in a Seahawks-style press-man or zone system, but Adebo has the ability to play a variety of techniques.”
3:01 OT Spencer Brown, N. Iowa. (RS Senior). 6’8½”, 314 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 9¾” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY]. 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 since he played against a much, much lower level of competition. Decent enough as a run blocker because he has good upper body strength, but his build will be an issue against NFL competition unless he can learn the leverage game better. 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. The gif-supported March scouting report from Jonathan Heitritter also points to the physical similarities to Villanueva, and calls Brown an ideal traits-based prospect if Tackle does not get addressed earlier in the draft. This March interview with TDN gives an excellent impression of how the young man approaches football. Lance Ziierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends on a grade identical to Samuel Cosmi and basically the same as other big name prospects like Liam Eichenberg, Alex Leatherwood, Dillon Radunz, etc. Brown is mentioned in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
3:01 T/G Jackson Carman, Clemson. (Junior). 6’4⅞”, 317 lbs. with short 32½” arms and 9⅝” hands. Reportedly played at 345 lbs., so seeing him this low at the pro day said good things. Carman would be ranked even higher if he hadn’t been consistently vulnerable to elite, very bendy pass rushers who can get the corner and then dip beneath him (Chase Young stole his breakfast in 2019). There are a lot more of those in the NFL than he’s seen in college, and draftniks worry that he may not have that extra gear to deal with them. OTOH, he has the physical assets and skill set you want other than pure length (where he falls significantly, ahem, short). Big kid with very good feet, good hand fighting skills, and the sort of overall athleticism that made him a five star recruit coming out of H.S. But can he handle top NFL-level speed and bend? If not, he projects as a superb Guard, so there is a very high floor. FWIW, the situation smells like the sort of prospect who disappoints the fans as his technique slowly improves, and then suddenly ‘arrives’ as a star when things finally gel. Josh Carney’s late February, gif-supported scouting report shows few doubts about his ability to learn the Tackle game eventually. OTOH, the NFL.com scouting profile by Lance Zierlein ends by saying, “Carman has starting potential as a guard with emergency value at right tackle.”
3:01 G Wyatt Davis, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’3⅝”, 315 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 9⅛” hands. Kyle Crabbs started 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 Josh Myers, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’5⅛”, 310 lbs. with 32” arms and big 10⅜” hands. 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. “Solid but unspectacular with the talent to become an early starter,” runs the conclusion from Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile. He came in with a solid Round 2 grade from Gil Brandt (#42 overall as “a two-position player who I think can start for the next 8-9 years.”
3:01 RB Trey Sermon, Ohio St. by way of Oklahoma (Senior). 6’⅜”, 215 lbs. with long 33⅜” arms. [SEVERAL MTGS] 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.
3:01 WR Rondale Moore, Purdue. (Junior). 5’7”, 180 lbs. A human joystick who is even faster (4.27 speed), peppier (42½” vertical jump), 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. Moore is mentioned in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
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 DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa (RS Junior). 6’3⅛”, 313 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.
3:01 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.”
3:01 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 Nick Bolton, Missouri (Junior). 5’11⅛”, 237 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY]. A big hitter in the Vince Williams mold, who showed more athletic talent for playing out in space on film despite bottom 5% testing that was even worse on the agility drills. Like Williams, he excels as both a blitzer and a run stuffer/destroyer, and will definitely be an energy bringer to any defense that picks him up. Also brings a very high floor as a special teamer. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a Round 2 grade based on doubts about his actual size, length, and ability to be a true coverage linebacker. This solid, Giants-oriented scouting profile likes him too, but worries about his erratic tackling form and coverage skills (good in zone, too stiff for man). This gif-supported February scouting report from S.I. praises his physicality and likes the tackling skills, but worries about his overall range. This January scouting profile found a consistent theme: “he is hot or cold when it comes to each trait.”
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 ILB Pete Werner, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’2⅞”, 238 lbs. with long 33¼” arms. 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, as proven by his Top 5% athletic testing; just one who leans more toward the thumper side than most of his peers. His coverage skills are very good in shallow zones, good-to-average 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. Came in at #29 overall on Gil Brandt’s board.
3:01 S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Junior). 6’1”, 196 lbs. [CASUAL MTG] 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. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile seems to agree, saying that Holland, “looks, feels and moves like a pro player” who only falls because “scouts have some concerns about long speed.” The #2 Safety overall according to Bucky Brooks February list.
3:01 S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Fla. St. (Senior). 6’3¼”, 215 lbs. with lineman-length 34½” 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 Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky by way of LSU. (RS Sophomore). 5’11½”, 197 lbs. with 31⅜” arms. He’s got the measurements and he’s got the SPARQ score, but there is little film on which to base a real opinion. He reportedly looked fairly good in 2020 against very good competition such as TE/WR Kyle Pitts and the Alabama legion of legends, but also looked as inexperienced in the neck up department as his 20 game career would suggest. #23 overall on Gil Brandt’s board, but with a warning that further research is called for. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees fabulous native talent held back by a “lack of maturity that is sometimes shown on the field.” Put up a Top 10% athletic profile, with superior speed but weaker COD numbers.
3:01 CB/DB Elijah Molden, Washington (Senior). 5’9½”, 192 lbs. with stubby 29½” arms. NOTE: Ran a very poor 4.59 that may reflect a hamstring issue that kept him from doing the agility drills. 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 OT Walker Little, Stanford. (Senior). 6’7”, 309 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10⅛” hands. Turns 22 just before the draft. Go back to 2018 and you’ll see a Sophomore starter earning 1st Round buzz for his planet-theory size, length, strength, agility, and overall athleticism. Still young, still in need of seasoning, but wow. Then he lost 2019 to a knee injury in the opening game. Grrr. But at least we’d get to see him in 2020, and… Covid. Make that aargh! So we’re talking about a prospect who hasn’t played an actual snap of football in 2 years, but has every asset you want and some proven, high-level flashes. So the bottom line is a series of unknowns, beyond the obvious facts that Walker Little has NFL size, NFL strength, NFL athleticism, sound but improvable technique (as of two years ago), and Stanford-level smarts. It’s a bloody Rorschach Test! See in him what you will, for good or bad. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile essentially says the same thing: the assets looked great two years ago, but today? Who knows? Little is discussed in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
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, with quite possibly the best footwork in the developmental Day 2 class, but does get off balance when he reaches to get in the big punch. He’s also got 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. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported, late March scouting report notes that the lack of sand in his pants will show up on occasion when good players can get past those hands and feet in order to reach his body. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting report ends with a Day 3 grade, but it is based almost entirely on concerns about whether Smith can pack on the required muscle to develop an acceptable NFL anchor.
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. “Stiff” is an understatement at times. 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 significant 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 Kendrick Green, Illinois (RS Junior). 6’1⅞”, 305 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 10⅛” hands. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported, late March scouting report describes a natural Center who spent a lot of his time at Guard, and will probably require a redshirt year in the NFL unless his team can accept blown plays as he learns the trade. Green plays a smart-man’s game as an OL, with excellent burst at the snap and fluid mobility (both supported by good athletic testing), plus a knack for getting his body between the defender and the play. Better at run blocking than pass protection, but will miss defenders in space and could add more nastiness to his game. Lots of room to grow as a technician; but that is to be expected from a DL who crossed over just three years ago, and has gotten steadily better in every season. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile points to problems that basically come down to dealing with special levels of power, speed, or quickness on the other side; a/k/a, the things that require expert technique. The March PFN scouting profile agrees that his best fit will be at Center.
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 DT Alim McNeill, N. Car. St. (Junior). 6’2”, 315-335 lbs. (Weight as stated by McNeill in this interview; he played at 335 in 2020 because the coaches wanted a 0-tech, but his natural, most athletic weight is around 315 lbs.) The modern Pittsburgh defense looks for a specific type of Defensive Tackle rather than the old Lebeau-era division into DE’s and NT’s. McNeill fits the older mold better, but he’s good enough to succeed in this era too. It starts with massive size, enormous strength, and the sort of motor that won’t leave him behind when Cam Heyward gets going. That’s pretty special. His anchor against double teams, combined with burst and quickness in the proverbial phone booth, makes him an ideal run stuffer. And that same burst and power can collapse the pocket straight back, though he won’t be called a pass rusher all on his own. He is a 2-down player, but not useless (while still young) if the offense shifts to a pass because he is in. Note that McNeill isn’t a finished product either physically or from the technical point of view, so there’s also some upside to consider. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report uses Casey Hampton as the comp from beginning to end, without hyperbole. This Cowboys-oriented January scouting profile adds that McNeill had the athleticism to play ILB and be an outfielder in H.S., so he isn’t just a sumo wrestler in pads. PFF loves him as the DT2 for the entire class. This Cowboys-oriented scouting profile features a live interview beginning at the 3:30 mark.
3:12 DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 290 lbs. with 32½” arms and 10¼” hands One of the prospects who may suffer because he lost his 2020 season to Covid-19, Onwuzurike could have risen into a solid Round 1 prospect if he’d been able to build on his exceptional burst in a full 2020 run. Even now he came in at #30 on Gil Brandt’s initial big board, described as “very strong and athletic, [and] and exceptional run-stuffer”. 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. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 2 grade.
3:12 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. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade after lauding the basic tools, and then discounting for weak technique across the board.
3:12 EDGE Patrick Jones II, Pitt. (RS Senior). 6’4½”, 264 lbs. with shorter 32⅞” 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. The film shows good burst off the line (despite poor explosion numbers in the testing), with a good floor and the native athleticism to have a high ceiling, but he will need a lot of good coaching and hard 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. Kelvin Bryant’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 2-3 grade based on his heavy hands and “relentless motor,” discounted by a lack of ability to bend around the corner.
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 S Jamar Johnson, Indiana. (Junior). 6’1”, 197 lbs. Thanks to posters Quiet Rivers and Douglas Proostrong for finding this Safety who can tackle, make plays, and generally do the job either deep or in the box. He’s lined up in both safety spots and sometimes even as a Nickel DB. Extensive special teams experience. The NFL.com scouting report could not be more positive, describing the prospect as a versatile, instinctive, and rangy CB/S hybrid before ending with this quote from an NFL personnel director: “He has a chance to be what everyone wants to have on their roster – a true nickel-safety hybrid.” It’s as close to a rave review as Zierlein ever gets.
3:12 CB Aaron Robinson, UCF by way of Alabama (RS Senior). 5’11½”, 190 lbs. with 30¼” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG] Originally recruited to Alabama, where he earned limited snaps as a freshman, he transferred back to his home state in search of more playing time. Has nice quick feet and nervy reaction time, but falls a bit because he has cover-safety COD skills that will limit him to being a puzzle piece in sub packages. Daniel Jeremiah had him at #39 in his initial Top 50, calling him an immediate starter as a Nickel CB in the slot. Owen Straley’s gif-supported March scouting report has him more around player 100, describing a player who is bigger, faster, and just as physical as Mike Hilton, but too stiff to handle all of Hilton’s man-coverage duties from the slot. Blazed out a 4.39 dash with good explosive numbers in the jumps.
3:12 CB Benjamin St. Juste, MInnesota by way of Michigan. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 200 lbs. with 32” arms. [MTG AT SENIOR BOWL] Could he be a long, athletic Canadian CB to pair with last year’s Canadian WR? He certainly looked good at the Senior Bowl, but the general consensus seems to be that he fits the peculiar Seahawks-style Cover-3 system perfectly, but will struggle with COD skills when asked to play a system like Pittsburgh’s. Owen Straley’s gif-supported March scouting report concludes with a Round 3 grade based on the belief that he is a better version of Justin Layne, and the team’s move toward Cover 1 and 3 shells. This goes to an intriguing March interview with TDN.
3:12 DB Shaun Wade, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’1”, 194 lbs. with long 33½” arms. Turns 23 as a rookie. [EARLY APRIL UPDATE: Shaun Wade played through a turf toe injury for most of 2020]. 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. Wade is highlighted in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade.
3:23 STEELERS ROUND 3 PICK (# 87 OVERALL)
3:24 C/G Trey Hill, Georgia. (Junior). 6’3½”, 319 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and 9⅜” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY] 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, which forced him to play in pain all season. Questions exist about the extent to which those knee issues held him back in 2020, since he clearly played higher than he’d done in 2019. Indeed, lack of knee bend and poor pad level were repeated themes in Lance Zierlein’s highly critical NFL.com scouting profile. 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.
3:24 QB Davis Mills, Stanford. (Senior). 6’3¾”, 217 lbs. with 9½” hands. The descriptions all sound like a potential starting QB with his stock dragged down by only 11 games as a starter in college. Very good size, excellent brain and leadership traits, excellent short and intermediate accuracy with an arm that dips to merely acceptable on deep balls, though he can drop 50-yard dimes every now and then. Little in the way of athletic traits beyond that. He will win with pocket passing or not at all, which means at least a 2-4 year apprenticeship period to master the pro game sufficiently. Josh Carney’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with an “early Day 3” grade based on worries about Mills’ significant lack of experience, with upbeat notes about his arm strength, accuracy, pocket presence, and other admirable tools. This goes to a wonderful TDN article laying out the basic problem: great tools + 11 games = major unknowns.
3:24 TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame. (RS Sophomore). 6’4”, 248 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG] 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. If you think Matt Canada will change that, push his grade up a few notches. Carter’s game is built on some really admirable agility and vision, good but not game changing speed, very good contact balance, and the kind of wriggly, competitive attitude that lets him fall forward most of the time. Also has good hands out of the backfield, and is 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 Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma. (Senior). 5’11⅝”, 231 lbs. [227 at the Senior Bowl, and reportedly 246 playing weight] 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.” On film he’s shown 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. The pro day testing numbers were bottom 20% for everything but agility. 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. It isn’t certain because well and great are not the same thing. 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”, 212 lbs. Will be 21 on draft day. 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. The gadget player of the gods, with some punt return ability on top, WR2 written all over him, and WR1 potential if things go exactly right, and who knows what else? Teams really did have him take RB snaps at the pro day. An absolutely perfect fit for the sort of motion-heavy, formation-shifting game that Matt Canada was known for in college. 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. Ran okay at his pro day (sources vary from around 4.45 to around 4.52), but he tested surprisingly low-to-average in every other movement skill. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported January scouting report ends with a Day 3 grade based on some “general consistency/ball security issues” with a note that they ought to be fixable. This goes to a March interview with TDN.
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.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported April scouting report ends with a Round 3-4 grade as a legitimate OLB3 for the rotation.
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. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report uses the word “solid” over and over en route to ending with a Round 3 grade. 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 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 college Quarterback who moved across the line to become a highly athletic QB for the defense. Successfully! 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 FS/DB Richie Grant, UCF (RS Senior). 5’11⅝”, 197 lbs. with 32⅝” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG] 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 DB James Wiggins, Cincinnati. (RS Senior). 5’11½”, 190 lbs. An A+ athlete who plays that hybrid role between an undersized box Safety and a full sized Nickel Corner, Wiggins projects as a sub package football specialist who might have a hard time finding snaps in the base defense when only four DB’s are on the field. Should be a special teams demon. Think of the Mike Hilton role with a bigger and maybe even more athletic player, but without the proven NFL instincts. He missed 2019 with a torn ACL but looked good in both 2018 and the 2020 Covid season. Here is Devin Jackson’s gif-supported February scouting report, which ends in a late-3rd grade. This goes to a January scouting profile from PFN, which questions his ability to stay healthy.
3:24 DB Robert Rochell, Cen. Arkansas. (RS Senior). 5’11⅞”, 198 lbs. with long 32⅜” arms. A freak athlete in the Top 5% of all Corners, who Alex Kozora described as a potential Pittsburgh sleeper in mid-March. Rochell had a tremendous 2019 season but seemed to plateau as a Corner during 2020 despite the lower level of competition. Plays a tough guy, press man style of coverage but was grabby even for college and had difficulty with the higher level of competition at the Senior Bowl. His physical traits allow for a projection to Safety if Corner does not work out. Alex’s follow-up gif-supported scouting report raised concerns about some stiffness (is he more of a straight line athlete despite the test results?) and especially a tendency for the motor to run hot & cold. Small school players should dominate, and Rochell certainly did; but much more so in the big moments than the play-to-play grind. Here is a pump-you-up video scouting profile from back in September.
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. Josh Carney’s gif-supported April scouting report describes an ideal target for one of Pittsburgh’s Round 4 selections who “plays bigger than his height and weight,” and brings serious kick and punt return ability to supplement his appeal as a developmental CB. He tested as a Top-11% athlete with good scores across the board. The NFL.com scouting profile by Lance Zierlein says “His best fit could be as a future starting nickel back for a zone-heavy cover unit,” and compares his general game to Kendall Fuller (who I always liked). Other reviewers see him as more of an undersized press- or off-man player with the ability to play in zone, which adds up to some appealing clay imho. The March PFN scouting profile loves his burst, agility, and ball skills but worries about his limited size and moderate tackling. This Giants-oriented January scouting profile is consistent with the others, ending with an early Day 3 grade as a developmental CB. Ditto for this Packers-oriented March scouting profile, and this Chiefs-oriented April scouting profile, which focuses more on the purely athletic upside.
4:01 OT Josh Ball, Marshall by way of Fla. St. (Senior). 6’7⅜”, 308 lbs. with astonishing 35” arms and 10” hands. A fringe-1st talent held back by significant off-field smoke that reeks of, “there is more to this story than we know, and those details will make all the difference.” Ball was producing at a star level for FSU when a school panel suspended him on a dating violence complaint. There were no criminal charges filed, but it effectively forced him to leave the school. Then he transferred to Marshall and looked every bit as dominant. So the talent is there, and worthy of a Round 1-2 grade. But. Teams need to decide if he is a talented kid who got ground up in a cause célèbre, or a disaster waiting to implode when the professional money and fame arrive. Ball’s situation is highlighted in this article on the most difficult prospects to grade. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile, which concludes that, “From a football-only standpoint, Ball could become an early swing tackle as he acclimates to a jump in competition, but could become a future starter at left tackle.”
4:01 OT Tommy Doyle, Miami (OH). (RS Senior). 6’8”, 320 lbs. with very long 35” arms and an elite, Top 1% athletic profile. A goliath human being from a school that’s treated the Steelers well, Doyle is one of those sleeper prospects that received some Round 2-3 buzz before opting out and disappearing off the radar in 2020. He’s got the assets, no doubt about that, especially when it comes to the parts that relate to pure size, strength, and length. But he hasn’t proven it against prime competition and the lack of recent film is likely to hurt. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported late February scouting report is a fascinating read, in part because it identifies balance issues as Doyle’s biggest challenge, but also mentions that he was an elite hockey player; a sport where balance is all important. So he should have the native talent to fix his flaws.
4:01 T/G Jaylon Moore, W. Mich. (RS Senior). 6’4⅛”, 311 lbs. with shorter 33⅜” arms and big 11” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY] The college successor at LT for Chuks Okorafor, Moore is something of his protege. The two have stayed in contact over the years with Chuks passing on what he learned in the pros. He stood out at the Senior Bowl for his ability to move future NFL players off the line of scrimmage to where they did not want to go, but Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report suggests that this really isn’t his strength. His college film shows and easy moving, light-footed, athletic pass protector who’d fit better on the blind side than he would in a more strength-oriented position. In other words, you have a conflict: the lack of length and Senior Bowl practices suggest a move to Guard, but the film suggests a slightly undersized but very athletic Tackle.
4:01 G Deonte Brown, Alabama. (RS Senior). 6’3¼”, 344 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and almost dainty 9⅛” hands (down from 364 lbs. at the Senior Bowl). A Grendel-sized human being who routinely faces other monsters and moves them where he wants them to go. Backward? Bah. Weight is the issue. His feet are nifty enough when he’s down in the 330’s, but the Senior Bowl and tape show vulnerability to quickness when he loses discipline and rises to the 360’s. Much better suited to an old-fashioned power game. Could go in Round 2 if a team has just the right scheme and opening, but easier to project as a Round 3 or 4 pick. Discounted here for the lack of position flexibility at a position where Pittsburgh has its starters in place. This goes to Alex Kozora’s gif-supported January scouting profile.
4:01 G/C David Moore, Grambling. (RS Senior). 6’1½”, 330 lbs. (350 at the Senior Bowl) with 34⅛” arms, small 9⅛” hands a big 82⅝” wingspan (huge chest and shoulders). Take the build of Jerome Bettis, add 3”, and then pack on 100 lbs. of muscle. Sideways. You end up with a beast of an offensive Guard who walked through his lower-level competition with the sort of violent domination that makes for the Hysterical Highlight Tape From Hell. The only thing he’s missing, physically, is the length to win when it comes to hand fighting. Moves pretty well too for someone built like an ice chest. He can be caught lunging, and needs to adapt to the higher level of competition, but he nevertheless projects like a nice Day 3 prospect with a good chance at building a solid career. A tremendous week at the Senior Bowl included proof that he’s comfortable playing at Center too, though he’s never done it in any other game. Tom Mead’s early April, gif-supported scouting report ends in a Round 3-4 grade.
4:01 RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis. (RS Sophomore). 5’9⅜”, 201 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG]. The film shows a change-of-pace target to dream about if you’re ready to write off Anthony McFarland. Your author is not, and thus applies a discount to the Round 3 grade in Alex Kozora’s admiring, gif-supported scouting report from late January, which describes Gainwell as an extremely fast, one-cut-and-go terror who particularly fits what is expected from Matt Canada’s incoming offense. Extra points for having such a great name for the position. His disappointing test results put him in the middle of the RB pack athletically, with surprisingly poor agility grades, but that may be due to misguided efforts to add 10-15 lbs. of less productive weight in order to get over 200.
4:01 RB Kylin Hill, Miss. St. (Senior). 5’10⅜”, 214 lbs. Short, wide, strong, and either shifty or punishing as called for. There is a lot to like, including an established willingness to put his nose in the fan against blitzers. What’s lacking is either breakaway speed, the power to move a pile on his own, and the pure size to get quicker by losing weight. How much can he improve in the pros? Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report adds some concern about whether he will be able to stay healthy since he combines moderate size with such a physical approach to the game.
4:01 WR Dyami Brown, UNC. (Junior). 6’1”, 195 lbs. A Round 2 prospect in the mold of Diontae Johnson, with excellent but not cosmic speed, great hands (with focus drops), and above all the ability to separate in space and do something with the ball when he has it. Severely discounted for this Board. One of those guys with an extra gear he can summon at the very end to separate when the ball is in the air. Plays tough and enjoys the physicality of the game despite his average size. Brown and his teammate Dazz Newsome made for a deadly duo in 2020.
4:01 WR Nico Collins, Michigan. (Senior). 6’4¼”, 215 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG] Opted out in 2020, but with Michigan’s QB situation that may have been a good idea. Collins is long, tall, big, and seriously fast. One of the best vertical threats in the draft, combined with all the basic assets you want to become a WR who can play any position. Severely discounted for this Board. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report describes one of those basketball players on the football field who does not create a lot of separation, but regularly turns 50/50 balls into 80/20’s in his favor.
4:01 WR D’Wayne Eskridge, W. Mich. (RS Senior). 5’9⅛”, 188 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] Turns 24 as a rookie. A killer return man with the ability to succeed as a WR too. The analogies to Antonio Brown will flow hot and heavy since they went to regional rivals (Western MI instead of Central), and have similar size, physical skill set, overall role, etc. AB went in Round 6 for the same sort of small school uncertainties that will most likely hurt Eskridge’s stock. We know how that turned out, so don’t write the young man off. He simply could not be covered at the Senior Bowl. Here is a good, late January point-by-point scouting profile that loves everything but his lack of size and only-average hands. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a comparison to Golden Tate.
4:01 WR/RB Demetric Felton, UCLA. (RS Junior). 5’8½”, 189 lbs. A hybrid offensive weapon you can shift at will from slot receiver to scat back. He probably leans more toward the WR side just because of his limited mass, but it is close enough to make him more unique than a “mere” slot receiver. Played as a base WR in 2019, and a base RB in 2020, but was really both in both years. Killed it at the Senior Bowl. This is a full, retail-value grade based on the common expectation that Matt Canada’s incoming offense would get particularly good mileage from a RB/WR hybrid with exceptional fit as a gadget guy.
4:01 WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC. (Junior). 6’1”, 195 lbs. Will turn 22 during his rookie season. Severely discounted from a natural early-2nd grade, St. Brown is yet another quality receiver in a solid class, He wins with agility, hands, and route running, but at the core this is a tough guy who plays that way. Extremely hard to cover in man-to-man because that physicality combines with the sharp and sudden cuts to put CB’s in a Catch-22. The downside is only-adequate speed. Juju Smith-Schuster also came out of USC and readers should expect to see a lot of comparisons between the two, with JJSS being bigger and ARSB being more developed. This goes to Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported February scouting report. Here is a late January scouting profile from a Patriots POV that ends with a solid Round 2 grade.
4:01 WR Michael Strachan, Charleston. (RS Junior). 6’5⅜”, 226 lbs. with long 34¼” arms. Poster Steelerfan2695 gets credit for the find. Strachan, originally from the Bahamas, is found on ‘some things can’t be taught’ shelf. He brings real boom potential along with the obvious bust concerns for a raw player from a small program. Long, tall, has a world of catch radius, and legit track athlete speed, he had a good 2018 (his first year of organized ball), and a very good 2019. There was no 2020 thanks to Covid-19. Came it at #100 on Gil Brandt’s initial big board, and put up testing results good enough to earn a Top 8% athletic rank among all WR’s.
4:01 WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma St. (Senior). 5’11⅜”, 194 lbs. Another James Washington who is so good that it hurts to apply the severe discount needed for a Steelers-specific board. He doesn’t boast A-1 speed or A-1 quickness, but is so smart, tough, and good at winning 50/50 balls that you’d be hungry to get him if Pittsburgh did not already have the original.
4:01 DL Marvin Wilson, Fla. St. (Senior). 6’3⅞”, 303 lbs. The film shows a study in amazing physical tools held back by a series of technical errors that limit his production to flashes instead of consistent domination. Exactly the sort of player who might be irresistible if he falls into true bargain territory. The testing shows a more moderate athlete, which takes a lot of shine off his stock. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report argues that his college coaches did him a disservice by moving him all around the DL, and ends with this conclusion: “Let him play inside at the 0/1/3 tech where he is a more effective pass rusher and put him in a two gap scheme to stack and shed blocks to make plays in his gaps and I think you’ll have and effective defensive tackle.”
4:01 EDGE Carlos “Boogie” Basham, Jr., Wake Forest. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 281 lbs. Will turn 24 as a rookie. A true 4-3 DE, and a pretty good one. Could easily go in Round 2 for the right team, but doesn’t seem to fit what Pittsburgh looks for. He’d get an even steeper discount if not for his active hands, football IQ, and nativestrength, as described in Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report and Lance Zierlein’s upbeat NFL.com scouting profile.
4:01 EDGE Brenton Cox Jr., Florida by way of Georgia. (RS Sophomore). 6’3”, 250 lbs. This is a grade that’s all but impossible for outsiders to set. Cox was a 5-star recruit for Georgia, and the athleticism is real. In 2020 he displayed a big chunk of the key (physical) assets you look for in a 3-4 OLB: ability to play in space, burst off the edge, speed to power, etc. But he did it for Florida because he’d been mysteriously dismissed by Georgia. There was an April, 2019 arrest for marijuana possession but it is hard to see that as enough to cause the divorce. Something else is going on. That something matters. And we do not know what it is. The teams will, and that will determine his true draft position.
4:01 EDGE/ILB Patrick Johnson, Tulane. (Senior). 6’6”, 240 lbs. with short 32” arms and overall athletic talent in the top 10% – all of which is very interesting for a prospect who’d been listed at 6’3”, 255 lbs. and had a reputation for being more of a middling athlete. An intriguing prospect to watch as the process moves forward, because he profiles on paper as both an Edge Rusher and an OLB; and that is not just projection, because his college team used him in exactly that kind of hybrid role, and it is supported by his testing numbers. That versatility earns him a higher grade on this board than you’ll see with others. Could he really be that elusive “higher end Vince Williams”? Plays with very good strength and discipline, but not a lot of flash for someone who’s well known for a non-stop motor. What he lacks is bend, pure and simple. Johnson wins his pass rushes on effort, strength, and general COD ability, but he doesn’t have that magic bullet in his arsenal. This gif-loaded January scouting report from a Raiders POV looks at Johnson as a pure Edge talent, admiring his speed, speed-to-power pop, and chances of getting better when he adds some moves. This Giants-oriented scouting profile also sees him as an edge prospect, and ends in a Day 3 grade. Here’s the verdict from Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile: “more likely a hard-hat rusher than a highly productive sack master on the next level, [h]e should come into the league as a solid backup at 3-4 outside linebacker with the potential to become a rotational defender or eventual starter down the line.” Tom Mead’s gif-supported April scouting report sees him as a solid journeyman who’d provide good depth and special teams player, but may be a better fit as OLB4 than OLB3 or a potential starter.
4:01 EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo. (Senior). 6’2¼”, 249 lbs. with 33⅜” arms. A high motor, successful athlete from a smaller school who possesses a pretty good toolkit. He has some burst, if not a lot, can bend the corner, and has experience playing as a 3-4 OLB from a 2-point stance. Needs to add some strength to hold the edge on running plays. One of those never-stops players who will succeed through persistence as often as he will with an initial win. PFN’s Senior Bowl scouting profile highlights Koonce’s combination of arm length and bend, though he impressed as an average athlete overall. This brief February scouting profile is a study in how to say “average” in many different ways. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile translates to a very solid Day 2 grade based on great assets offset by issues that ought to be solvable with the help of NFL position and strength coaches.
4:01 ILB Merlin Robertson, Ariz. St. (Junior). 6’3”, 251 lbs. A top notch athlete with all the size you want to play Buck ILB, combined with really good coverage skills and even some success as a pass rusher. There is a lot of boom potential, but he will need some good coaching to match the NFL ability with an NFL understanding of all that needs to be done.
4:01 ILB Charles Snowden, Virginia. (Senior). 6’6¼”, 232 lbs. with long 34” arms. Stop, go back, and read those measurements again. That’s the main part of the story here. He’s enormously long and uses it well in place of NFL-level strength. Time in the weight room could make him absurdly good at run support duties, but will extra mass combine with his height to cause COD problems against shiftier players? It gets into speculation. The bottom line is that we are talking the truest sort of boom or bust prospect, with “unique, field-tilting athlete” upside, and “square peg in a round hole” bust potential. It won’t help that he broke an ankle in late November and may be limited or unavailable for the full Combine/Pro Day workout. Here is a February scouting profile from a Chiefs POV. I recommend this combination article/interview/scouting profile from February as insight into his background and perspective. This good PFN scouting profile from late January catches the question marks well. This Senior Bowl article from an Eagles POV has brief profiles on three ILB’s, including Snowden. Here are a newspaper article/interview from January, and a more draftnick-oriented Senior Bowl interview.
4:01 DB Joshua Bledsoe, Missouri (Senior). 5’11”, 201 lbs. A good Nickel SAF/CB hybrid with the chops to play in the slot and cover all but the shiftiest WR’s. There is a lot of value there, particularly if the team loses both Sean Davis and Mike Hilton. There is no question at all about his potential to contribute on special teams. This goes to Tom Mead’s early February, gif-supported scouting report. This goes to a detailed, gif-supported interview with a Colts site where the interviewer got to ask questions about specific plays. Definitely worth a read. This goes to the first article in a series that will follow Bledsoe’s draft journey.
4:01 FS Andre Cisco, Syracuse (Junior). 6’½”, 210 lbs. (average of conflicting numbers from different sources). 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. 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.
4:01 CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon (Senior). 5’10¼”, 199 lbs. with 30⅝” arms. A solid, all around football player who happens to play or the Corner side of the CB/S hybrid types. Here is a nice March interview with TDN.
4:01 CB Israel Mukuamu, S. Car. (Junior). 6’4⅛”, 212 lbs. with 33” arms. Length, physicality, and experience make him a hot prospect as a pure boundary Corner, but he can be burned by pure speed, superior quickness, and sharp route running. Ideal for a Seattle Cover-3 system, but does he fit all the other things that Pittsburgh likes to do? And if the team is moving to the specific style of defense that would suit him, would he be materially better at it than Justin Layne or James Pierre, who have a similar profile?
4:01 CB Kary Vincent Jr., LSU (Senior). 5’10”, 190 lbs. with 30¼” arms. Opted out of 2020, which is going to make him an object of much dispute in the draft community because proving a more advanced technique could have shot him toward Round 1 consideration. Or not. Vincent has world class speed and NFL quickness to match. That’s rare. He is a little on the small side, and it shows in his tackling, but he has everything else you look for in the Sutton type of slot Corner, and the combination of just enough size with exceptional speed suggests a potential to play on the boundary too. It’s just that he’s never shown all that in college, and thanks to Covid he never will. Owen Straley’s gif-supported January scouting report catches the essence quite well, especially if you take some time to go through the discussion in the comments. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees a player with tremendous upside and a real need for good coaching to get there, but also notes that Vincent has played at both slot CB and FS, and has a reputation for being both smart and hardworking.
4:01 DB Trill Williams, Syracuse. (Junior). 6’2”, 198 lbs. Will be a 21 year old rookie. Known as a versatile, SPARQ-y prospect with freakish athletic tools such as a 4.42 dash, a nose for the ball, and the talent to shift from Safety, to slot, to outside CB. Huge upside if things turn out well. What Williams needs is help with his technique as you get him further away from the central part of that range, and consistency with his tackling. Good burst to play zone, but does he have the smooth COD skills to play outside a Seattle Cover-3 scheme that protects its Corners? The testing raises very good reasons to doubt it, since he measures much more like a Safety than a CB. Here is a January scouting profile from a site that covers his college. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported March scouting report could hardly be more upbeat about the pure athletic upside, and ends with a fringe-3rd grade based on concerns about the need to work on technique and tackling, but no worries at all that he might be limited to particular defensive schemes. This March scouting profile from a Packers POV also has an excited tone: “While he does project as an outside corner at the next level, he played the slot and rotated over to safety in certain packages.”
4:16 OT/G Brady Christensen, BYU. (RS Junior). 6’6”, 300 lbs. with short 32¼” arms and 10¼” hands. A frustrating evaluation because he has a lot of talents that are best suited to the spread offense that he played in college, leaving questions about the rest of his game. How do you project someone who’s never played in a 3-point stance to the NFL, especially as a potential Tackle? He has great in-system experience and seems to be technically sound with decent run blocking power, but he does get beaten by pass rushers who are just better athletes. Josh Carney’s gif-supported mid-February scouting report ends with a mid-Day 3 grade based on doubts about his athletic ceiling, which would limit him to a backup role, and may even require him to move inside to Guard.
4:16 OT Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma. (RS Junior). 6’6½”, 326 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 10” hands. He’s very big, exceptionally long, plenty strong, and can land a good jolt with his punch, but he isn’t that great an athlete. The sort of player who presents a very tough puzzle for pass rushers, but who’s beatable once they figure him out. NFL edge rushers will figure out anyone, so the question becomes whether NFL coaching can help him to fix the flaws and let the assets continue. Has no experience at Guard, but does show power as a run blocker so that’s hard to rule out. Tom Mead’s gif-supported January scouting report does a good job of showing how many of Ealy’s issues arise from playing high, which basically awards a big advantage to any opponent who plays with better leverage. That is a problem that some men this size can fix, and others never solve. There’s the uncertainty in a nutshell.
4:16 G Ben Cleveland, Georgia. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 354 lbs. with 33” arms and 9¾” hands. From a secretly taped session of OL Anonymous: “Hi everyone. My name is [BC] and I am a Guard; just a Guard and only a Guard, but what’s wrong with that?” You want this young man on your side for any fight in a phone booth because he’s very big, triggers well, stays low, and is country strong. This January scouting report from SI says, “He’s almost become a mythical mountain man of sorts [with] rumors of strength coaches at Georgia having to stop him at 45 reps on the 225-pound bench press.” Craig Wolfley strong! Just don’t move the fight beyond the phone booth, or leave him one-on-one against DT’s with extra agility.
4:16 G Sadarius Hutcherson, S. Car. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 320 lbs. with 32⅜” arms. A college Tackle who needs to move inside, Hutcherson has the size, strength, and straight line speed you want but is held back by all the technical issues that either cause or result from being off balance. Those can be hard to fix, but he has clear starter potential if he manages to do it.
4:16 C Drew Dalman, Stanford. (RS Junior). 6’3⅜”, 299 lbs. with 32” arms and big 10½” hands. Dalman, the son of former 49er OL Chris Dalman, is described in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile as a mid-round Center who plays with “grit, consistency, and technique” but suffers from a “lack of NFL size [and] strength.” Zierlein projects him as a pure zone-scheme Center, but putting up Top 3% athletic numbers with elite scores in every area but weight could cause a lot of people to reexamine that supposed limitation.
4:16 C Michael Menet, Penn. St. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 306 lbs. with T-rex (31½”) arms and 10” hands. An extremely smart and experienced college Center who plays with good fundamentals and a nasty streak, but seems to lack that special something you look for in a future star. High and solid floor, moderate ceiling. This full length TDN scouting profile is a study in “yes, but” balance. Menet holds his own in the run game, but doesn’t get movement; pulls with proper technique, but is not that mobile or athletic in space; plays with a good base, but can get beaten by genuinely superior size or athleticism; etc. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile more or less agrees: a technically sound player with a high floor, but a limited ceiling due to “stubby arms” and assorted athletic limitations.
4:16 QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M. (Senior). 6’2½”, 205 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG] Mond is a little tough to judge because he’s a multiyear starter who some people touted as a Round 1 talent, and who then disappointed often enough to earn whiplash rejections. The truth is no doubt buried in the middle, especially since he played with some pretty weak OL’s. The assets include an NFL arm, solid leadership presence, and superior but not special athletic talent. He also throws very well on the run – a skill that snarky people may attribute to sheer desperation. But above all he is as streaky as they come. One series he looks like prime Aaron Rodgers, and the next like a blundering incompetent. How the heck do you grade that? This goes to Devin Jackson’s gif-supported February scouting report.
4:16 QB Jamie Newman, Georgia by way of Wake Forest. (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 235 lbs. Will be 24 on draft day. [VIRTUAL MTG] Opted out for 2020 and struggled at the Senior Bowl. Newman has a lot of fans in the draftnik community, in part because his intangibles suggest the Right Stuff for finding his way onto a roster by hook or by crook. But in what role? His 2019 throwing mechanics were better than the mess of 2018, but still needed a huge amount of work. The results were erratic at best, and well below the NFL line. Have they improved? There’s no way to know. But beyond that he is a complete package, with tremendous size and running ability that’s been compared to Cam Newton, plus all those intangibles. A player likely to rise or fall pretty notably as the process moves forward. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report found that his deep throws were, oddly enough, more accurate than what should have been the layups; but the real issues lay in processing time when his first read wasn’t open.
4:16 TE Hunter Long, Boston Coll. (RS Junior). 6’5⅛”, 254 lbs. He can catch; he can run; he can block; and he’s smart. But he isn’t a mismatch athlete, nor even close. The sort of player who could vault into Day 2 consideration if he shocked the world by killing the Combine, and won’t get out of Round 5-6 no matter what. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported January scouting report ends in a Mid-Day-3 grade based on the overall lack of agility and athleticism. Loosely translated, decent floor and a well rounded skill set for college, but held back by what seems to be a solid, TE2-at-best ceiling.
4:16 TE Tre’ McKitty, Georgia. (Senior). 6’4⅛”, 247 lbs. with huge 11” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY] A good Move TE with tremendous hands, who may be an even better pro because he’s shown the willingness to block. But he is a little undersized to be a blocker in the NFL, he’s never shined at that job, and thus one has to doubt whether willingness alone is going to be enough. Here is a brief scouting profile from November. This goes to Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report, which admires the speed to power ability but not much of anything else.
4:16 TE Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss. (RS Senor). 6’3⅞”, 247 lbs. [MTG AT SENIOR BOWL] Came into the Senior Bowl almost 20 pounds bigger than expected, but that does not change his status as an oversized WR who lacks the blocking ability to be considered a full Tight End of the sort that Pittsburgh wants and expects. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report only confirms that all too familiar verdict.
4:16 RB Chuba Hubbard, Okla. St. (RS Junior). 6’0”, 210 lbs. Put the young man on a team that relies on outside zone plays, and then get out of the way. His game is all about the vision, explosion, discipline, and slashing attacks that system calls for. But is that the right fit for what Pittsburgh could use, especially when it’s kind to call his blocking skills poor, and1 he is not much better than that as a receiver? Ran for more yards than any other player in 2019, but fell back a bit in the 2020 Covid season. Tom Mead’s gif-supported, early February scouting report ends in a Round 4-5 grade based on concerns about his lack of breakaway speed to take advantage of the holes his vision lets him find.
4:16 RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana. (Senior). 5’10¼”, 215 lbs. A very interesting, all around talent with good size, good vision, good quickness, good contact balance, decent speed, and excellent skills as a receiver. With everything you look for in measured amounts, he looks like an excellent Day 3 prospect if Conner leaves and the team wants someone who leans less heavily on either the thunder or the lightning side than Snell and McFarland, respectively. Tom Mead’s gif-supported January scouting report essentially ends on ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ note, with a few bonus points for attitude toward the game.
4:16 WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss. (Junior). 5’9½”, 178 lbs. [MTG AT PRO DAY] Projects as a good, tough slot receiver who will kill teams all day long underneath with his quickness and RAC ability, but also has the speed to go deep if the opponent treats him as nothing more than that. Translation: please Lord, do not let him anywhere near Tom Brady. He put up some eye popping numbers at his pro day, including a legit 4.35 dash. Here is a late December scouting profile from PFN. He came in at #46 on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list from January, but is discounted here due to Pittsburgh having Diontae Johnson.
4:16 WR Dazz Newsome, UNC. (Senior). 5’11”, 190 lbs. Diontae Johnson may actually be a fair pro comp, and that’s encouraging if you want this kind of profile. Newsome has the speed to get open deep, and is tremendously elusive with the ball in his hands, but his best talent is creating separation in space with the hands to make difficult catches and the toughness to compete with bigger men in every way. Like Johnson, he can be bullied by pure size – but only if you can catch him. Newsome and his teammate Dyami Brown made for a deadly duo in 2020. Will probably get drafted before Pittsburgh is ready to draft another WR. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade.
4:16 WR Whop Philyor, Indiana. (Senior). 5’11”, 185 lbs. Will turn 23 next July. What can you say? He’s a fine, athletic receiver with a full toolkit and excellent college production, but no spectacular assets to make him stand out against all the other fine talent he’s competing with. He’d rank higher for another team, or in a different year. Here is a gif-supported scouting report from back in November.
4:16 WR Anthony Schwartz, Auburn. (Junior). 6’0”, 186 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG][COLBERT, TOMLIN & HILLIARD AT PRO DAY] A gold-medalist sprinter in international competition, “The Flash” ran 4.26 dash with splits to match, so yes: the speed is real. Schwartz also plays bigger than his measurements, which makes him a prospect who can literally score from anywhere on the field if the defense leaves him a crack. The questions go to his iffy COD (the 3-cone was actually poor at 7.13) and iffy route running skills. All of which adds up to a simple pair of questions: can he get free of physical NFL CB’s, and can he survive as anything but an outside, deep threat who lives in fear of defenders waiting to snap his slender frame in two? Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report adds “plus hands” to the assets, but ends with a Round 4 grade due to the one trick pony concerns.
4:16 WR Marquez “Speedy” Stevenson, Houston. (RS Senior). 5’10”, 182 lbs. Turns 23 just before the draft. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported April scouting report shows one of those players who doesn’t just measure fast, but has the sort of next-level speed that makes everyone else look slow. He does not just take the top off a defense. He cuts right through them by outrunning what would have been a good tackling angle for anyone else. The gifs have a Tyreek Hill quality, at least against college athletes. Solid COD ability, with kick return prowess to match the physical skills. The drawbacks are what you’d expect: lack of size that can get him physicality dominated, little evidence that he can reliably win on combat catches, and nothing like developed route running skills. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes a prospect with some amazing traits, but who will fail in the NFL if he cannot find and accept the coaching to become a WR as well as just an athlete.
4:16 WR Sage Surratt, Wake Forest. (RS Junior). 6’2½”, 215 lbs. Opted out in 2020. Great athletes come in different styles, such as sudden versus smooth. Sage Surratt is the latter. He has every measurable characteristic you could ask for – size, strength, good but not special speed, leaping ability, hands, body control, etc. – but he does them in a glide rather than cutting a sharp angle. He has the great body control and box-out ability you’d expect from an accomplished basketball player. A notable intellect caps it off (he chose Wake Forest over Harvard because it served his athletic interests as well as his educational goals). Josh Carney’s gif-supported March scouting report describes him as an extremely physical, “bully ball” possession receiver who “could be a really solid No. 2-3.”
4:16 WR Tamorrion Terry, Fla. St. (RS Junior). 6’2¾”, 207 lbs. with 33⅜” arms. [Tomlin & Colbert at Pro Day] Turns 23 just before draft day. You can’t teach size and speed, and those are where Terry wins. A big play receiver on a team with iffy QB play, Terry requires a lot of projection because he’s never actually produced. Josh Carney’s gif-supported March scouting report points to his ability to break plays open in space as the primary asset, with intriguing notes about some lack of suddenness in his route running despite fine COD skills as a runner. These may be reflected in his good, 4.44 dash with a weaker 32½” vertical jump and barely adequate agility times. The awful QB play he endured should also be noted, since it suggests there might be hidden riches underneath what he put on film. In other words, Terry is a pure upside bet with very good assets, offset by occasional head-shakers. At the risk of oversimplifying, he’s the type who makes amazing, acrobatic catches one moment, drops easy catches the next, but was death incarnate in the RAC department against college defenders.
4:16 WR Marlon Williams, UCF. (Senior). 6’0”, 222 lbs. A “big slot” with the speed, toughness, hands, body control, and RAC ability to make a difference. Experience as both a kick and punt returner is a bonus, and hints at better COD skills than he usually gets credit for. Discounted a little less than others since his skill set would neatly replace a lot of what Juju Smith-Schuster has brought for the past few years.
4:16 WR Seth Williams, Auburn. (Junior). 6’3”, 211 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9⅞” hands. [COLBERT, TOMLIN & HILLIARD AT PRO DAY] A fine mix of two powerful modern positions: the “big slot” and the “RAC possession” receiver, Williams profiles like a more limited JJSS. He’s got the size, strength, hands, toughness, and more measurable speed, but his agility grade came in at “poor”. Here is a nice point-by-point scouting profile from early February, which ends in a Round 3 grade despite panning his ability to separate and/or play anything but the big-slot position. This March scouting profile ends with a Round 2-3 grade after complaining about “very inconsistent hands in general.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a similar grade, concluding, “there are knocks to Williams’ overall game as a technician and separator, but he has the athletic traits, size, and physical demeanor you can’t teach.” He came in at #95 on Gil Brandt’s initial big board, though Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile complains about “lack of urgency” outside of the red zone.
4:16 EDGE/ILB Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 261 lbs. [SEVERAL MTGS] Used in college as a rushing LB with good coverage skills and better run stuffing ability, Hayes would fit that same role in Pittsburgh as a utility OLB3 with a chance to play Buck ILB as well if he drops a few pounds from his built up frame. He is a former 5-star H.S. athlete whose brilliant athletic skills have flashed on the field, but who’s never broken out to dominate the opposition. The character, leadership, and brains stretch any measuring chart, and guarantee he’d be an asset to the team and the community no matter what. This gif-supported early February scouting report from a 49er POV notes that he can play (pass rush) “both inside and out.” This January PFN scouting profile suggests it is a case of being able to get skinny around a corner, but not really bend at an NFL level, and being both fast and strong without having frightening power. Good in everything but missing that something special? Or just needing to learn the tricks of his trade? Here is a Senior Bowl era scouting profile from a Chiefs POV. This 49er’s-centric scouting profile has several gifs from the Senior Bowl practices. This Giants-oriented scouting profile lauds his heavy hands in both rush and running situations. Here is Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report.
4:16 S Tyree Gillespie, Missouri. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 207 lbs. An all around football player at the Safety position, with great (4.38) straight line speed but only average athleticism for all the other tasks his position requires. Plays a tough and physical game in the box, with good tackling skills but only-good hitting power. Is adequate playing deep because he plays smart, but can be beaten by pure speed. He also needs to be more consistent, especially at the next level where he’ll be dealing with better athletes. Should be a special teams demon. On paper he sounds like a young Dangerfield, and he could be even better if his football IQ develops. Here is a January scouting profile from PFN. This goes to a gif-supported January scouting report. Here is a Colts-oriented, gif-supported interview from February.
4:16 SS Talanoa Hufanga, USC (Junior). 6’1”, 215 lbs. A Strong Safety with that mysterious ability to flash off the screen out of nowhere and blow something up. He would benefit from wrapping up more and blowing up fewer, and could definitely improve some in the pass defense arena, but he ranks as high as you’re ever going to see on the “potential playmaker in the middle rounds” scale. Would have probably benefited from another year in college to hone his technical skills. This video-supported February scouting report from a Giants POV describes him as a smart, starter quality box Safety who may struggle when asked to stretch out of that mold. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report worries that he would be a box Safety with no ability in man coverage.
4:16 FS Caden Sterns, Texas (Junior). 6’0”, 210 lbs. A solid Free Safety prospect that excels in the secondary but gets weaker when asked to play in the box. Not ineffective, just not as good. A fine natural athlete who is considered an underperformer compared to the buzz he came into college with. Testing and interviews could both cause his prospects to either sink or sail. He came in as Bucky Brooks’ #3 Safety prospect in February. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile likes the physical assets but sees a variety of issues with instincts, tackling angles, and other ‘upstairs’ concerns. This Cowboys-oriented January scouting profile/interview with the Texas product ends in a Round 4 grade, as a traits-heavy developmental product who needs to work on his instincts and angles.
4:16 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.
4:16 CB Rodarius Williams, Okla. St. (RS Senior). 5’11¾”, 189 lbs. with 31½” arms. Will turn 25 during his rookie season, which earns a full round discount for the youth-loving Steelers. A 4-year starter with very good length, and also technique – at least for what he’s been asked to do, which is primarily off and zone coverage. His college defense also trained him to have a horror of getting beat deep, which makes him vulnerable in the short passing game. But was it just the defense, or also some hard to see issue with his physical talents? Owen Straley’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 3-4 grade based on the film.
4:23 STEELERS ROUND 4a PICK (# 128 OVERALL)
4:35 STEELERS ROUND 4b PICK (# 140 OVERALL) (COMPENSATORY)
5:01 T/G Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 312 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 9¾” hands. A player in the Matt Feiler mold, Van Lanen’s main assets seem to be country strength, solid technique as both a run and pass blocker, and a really nasty attitude toward those who get in his way. What he lacks is the weird combination of exceptional feet, length, and wingspan required to be an NFL-level blindside protector. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile doubts he can play Tackle at all, and projects him as a pure Guard. Tested as an above average but not special athlete.
5:01 G Jack Anderson, Texas Tech. (Senior). 6’4¾”, 309 lbs. With shorter 31⅝” arms. A pure Guard from a spread offense, which means he’s used to pass blocking but needs training on how to get low and dig people out. Exceptional strength, grit, and a finisher’s mentality helped to make up for his limitations in college. In the pros? We’ll see.
5:01 TE Nick Eubanks, Michigan. (RS Senior). 6’3”, 245 lbs. Will be 24 on draft day. He looks the part and has the mismatch athleticism you look for, but the blocking just isn’t there yet, and may never get there because of his size. He’s also a little older because he could never quite break through during the normal 4-year career. A good bet from the SPARQ perspective, but the film is lacking.
5:01 TE Quintin Morris, Bowling Green. (RS Senor). 6’2¼”, 243 lbs. with big 10⅜” hands. A WR until 2019, Morris has a reputation for advanced route running and superior athleticism. The blocking is… well, let’s be kind and call it a work in progress. This January DraftWire interview came out after he accepted a Senior Bowl invitation. The Steelers will like his fascination with basketball. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade based on the belief that horrible QB play may have hidden a lot of Morris’ potential, though he does leaven that optimism by describing the blocking as “Eric Ebron-level” despite some reasonable effort.
5:01 RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon St. (Junior). 5’9”, 215 lbs. [VIRTUAL MTG] A nice, productive, solidly built back with one cut, breakaway speed. The issues presented in Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report come down to a lack of make-you-miss wiggle and, more importantly, poor contact balance. RB’s should not go down on first contact, and Jefferson has a habit of doing just that. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile essentially describes a tough, mid-round prospect whose talents did not fit his college’s outsize zone running scheme.
5:01 WR Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell, Louisville. (Junior). 5’9”, 165 lbs. “Hi, I’m Tutu and I’m faster than you.” And he is. Guaranteed. That’s a powerful trick, and he has enough of it to be #31 on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 board from January. Other pundits have him much lower, but for us it is enough to say that Ray Ray McCloud already fills that niche in Pittsburgh, and he is 190 lbs. instead of 165. Here is Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report, which ends in a Round 3-4 grade.
5:01 WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford. (Junior). 6’4”, 227 lbs. Long, tall, and physical, with a top 10% overall athletic score headlined by extremely good straight line speed. He measured between 4.37 and 4.44 at his pro day, depending on who you ask. A good deep and red zone threat who’s obviously got a fine IQ on top if he went to Stanford. Projects as a fine special teamer too. The biggest complaint in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is that he doesn’t consistently play as fast and as quick as he measures. Josh Carney’s gif-supported April scouting report identified inconsistent hands (concentration drops) and unproven route running as the main issues, agreeing that the tape and the measurables do not match up.
5:01 WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville. (Senior). 6’2⅛”, 202 lbs. A possession receiver who runs savvy, deceptive routes and catches everything in his neighborhood. Had a tremendous Senior Bowl.
5:01 WR Cornell Powell, Clemson. (RS Senior). 6’0⅛”, 205 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and big 10” hands. As summarized in this Senior Bowl scouting profile from PFN, Powell is a James Washington type with very good but not startling speed, but he never quite “arrived” enough to earn a lot of attention on his own. Broke out into a favored target in his final year and looked extremely good at the Senior Bowl. Josh Carney’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade for a WR2/3 type with terrific contact balance and RAC potential, plus the team-first attitude and approach that Pittsburgh adores in its receivers.
5:01 WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa. (Senior). 6’½”, 181 lbs. Another fine athlete in a draft that is full of them, we’re finally getting down to the point where physical flaws begin to raise serious question marks. This prospect is plenty fast (4.43 with a record setting 10-yard split), smooth, and agile enough to play WR in the NFL, but he is so thin that CB’s can dominate him with a jam at the line. Will that limit him to the slot as a pro? Or can he learn to beat the jam? Extra points as a return man, gunner, and overall playmaker.
5:01 NT Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M (Junior). 6’4”, 315 lbs. A country strong run stuffer who can provide occasional pressure when he gets low enough to drive the Center back into the pocket, or to cut through an A-gap. He doesn’t have much sloppy weight but could use better aerobic training to avoid getting gassed too quickly.
5:01 DT Osa Odighizuwa, USC. (RS Junior). 6’2”, 282 lbs. with long 34⅛” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG] Roosevelt Nix was my favorite sleeper back in 2014. He dominated in college as a DT who won on pure burst, but just didn’t have the size to carry that game to the NFL. I thought he might convert to a Deeboesque OLB. Instead he ended up as a fullback and special teams ace. Osa Odighizuwa plays a similar game, with less achievement, at a higher level of competition, and with slightly more size. That quickness, burst, COD, and a nice spin move  made him look unstoppable during much of the Senior Bowl week – so he has that coveted pass rush upside – but he may well be stuck in Tweener Land since he doesn’t have much bend, and his athletic edge disappears when compared to 4-3 DE’s. Measured as a Top 25% athlete who’d be elite as a DT if not for the major size issues. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported April scouting report agrees on the Tweener fears, and ends in a Day 3 grade.
5:01 DL Tommy Togiai, Ohio St. (Junior). 6’1½”, 296 lbs. with very short 31¾” arms and small 8⅞” hands. Built like a shorter but wider version of the current Steeler prototype for a Defensive Tackle. He is a good, solid football player who excels as a run stuffer who can provide occasional pressure, but it would be amazing if he ever becomes a 3-down starter who can do all the Steelers ask for. This goes to a mid-March interview with TDN. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade after admiring the motor and run-stuffing ability, but worrying about the length and lack of pure explosion or athleticism. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in a mid-Day 3 grade after listing concerns that basically come down to lack of length.
5:01 EDGE/DT Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt. (Senior). 6’6”, 275 lbs. with exceptional 35⅝” arms. A potential Round 3 (or even 2) sleeper as a big, 4-3 DE; but is there any real chance he could succeed as a Pittsburgh OLB? His college team actually moved him inside to DT on sub package downs. The best player on an awful team, he wins with length, strength, and above all the constant motor you like to see. Still a bit raw in his technique.
5:01 EDGE Adetokunbo “Ade” Ogundeji, Notre Dame. (Senior). 6’4⅜”, 256 lbs. with incredible 35¼” arms. In college he was simply too big, strong, and long for most OT’s to handle. His game is all about explosive power and length, and those are powerful assets. But as a 3-4 OLB? It’s hard to see the fit. He projects better as 4-3 DE who might move inside on sub packages to be a pass rushing lineman. He spent some time at DT in the Senior Bowl, which seemed to confirm that, but he also scored a meeting with the Steelers, so maybe he’s less limited than the Internet suggests.
5:01 EDGE Janarius Robinson, Fla. St. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 266 lbs. with insanely long 35¼” arms. He’s built like a classic 4-3 DE, but has some experience playing from a 2-point stance (along with rushing on the inside). Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report sees lower body strength (an easy issue to fix in an NFL weight room) as a factor that significantly hindered his college game. The upper body strength and speed-to-power, he rates highly.. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees, but adds a disappointing and inconsistent motor as the other big concern, along with very poor hand usage that negates what ought to be a major asset. FWIW, the Depot scouting report blames the toxic FSU culture for at least some of the motore questions.
5:01 EDGE Elerson Smith, N. Iowa. (Senior). 6’6½”, 262 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 10½” hands. [MTG AT PRO DAY]. Extremely long, quite athletic, and fairly quick for a man his size, Elerson is held back by his need for at least a year of professional coaching and strength training to build his ability to set the edge against the run. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report also points to a lack of bend, though it does certify Smith’s burst and his ability to function as a 3-4 OLB in space. Dupree Lite? This goes to a decent New Year’s scouting profile.
5:01 ILB Monty Rice, Georgia. (Senior). 6’¼”, 238 lbs. with extremely short 30” arms. A solid Buck ILB prospect who’s got better coverage skills than Vince Williams, but lacks Williams’ violence at the point of attack, and the sudden burst to be a good blitzer. He’s also on the shorter side and has needed linemen to keep him clean for run support. Very good agility and nice speed once he gets going. This Senior Bowl article from an Eagles POV has brief profiles on three ILB’s, including Rice. This January scouting profile describes him as, “the emotional and vocal leader of the team,” and lauds how he grew into being a true 3-down ILB after being used as a pure run-stuffer in 2019. The 2020 film shows coverage ability as a positive asset. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting profile ends with a Day 3 grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile adds that Rice was a semi-finalist for the Butkus award, and played through a foot injury in 2020 that could either raise his stock by explaining the lack of burst, or sink it as a true medical red flag.
5:01 ILB Garret Wallow, TCU. (Senior). 6’1⅝”, 220 lbs. [MET WITH ILB COACH JERRY OLSAVSKY] A former Safety who matured into being an undersized ILB, Wallow brings a lot of range, attitude, and ferocity to the run support game, but lacks the size to be a pure Buck ILB like Vince Williams, and the versatility to be a true Mack ILB like Devin Bush. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile lists “work ethic, leadership and production” as the primary assets for this “team captain and undisputed leader of the defense,” but worries about his play strength, middle-of-the-road instincts, and tackling angles. Wallow has a high floor due to his special teams potential, however. Imagine a more Linebacker-ish Marcus Allen if you are desperate for a comp. Josh Carney’s gif-supported early February scouting report ends with a Round 4-5 grade based on concerns with Wallow’s coverage skills and overall fundamentals. He came in at #97 on Gil Brandt’s initial Big Board. Pro day measurements confirmed a Top 20% overall athlete held back by very substandard size but possessing elite COD ability.
5:01 S Tariq Thompson, San Diego St. (Senior). 6’0”, 200 lbs. An intriguing player because he’s an okay Cover 2 Safety, but much better than that in the Nickel DB role that’s been occupied by Mike Hilton. Definitely one to keep an eye on as more information becomes available.
5:01 CB Tre Brown, Oklahoma. (Senior). 5’9½”, 188 lbs. with short 30¼” arms. Plays a nervy, reactive, physical game to compensate, but it (a) gets over the line at times into being grabby, (b) can make him fall for double moves, and (c) cannot prevent him from being little-brothered by superior size and strength. Has kick return experience to support his stock. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a Day 3 grade as a CB limited to slot duties. Ran a superior 4.40 dash at his pro day, but the COD numbers were low-average.
5:01 CB Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon. (Senior). 5’10½”, 193 lbs. with 31” arms. An interesting problem because he looks like he ought to be a slot Corner, but has never done it and does not display the sort of hair trigger, nervy physicality that typifies the type. He also plays a very physical, press-oriented game that suggests a beat-you-up type of player, but he is a weak tackler who opponents have targeted in the run game. As Owen Straley’s late January, gif-supported scouting report points out, this adds up to a Steven Nelson type who excels at covering receivers of all shapes and sizes but has a “great CB2” ceiling. Press man is his best game, though he’s capable enough in all techniques, but “capable” just about covers it. Not a special teams ace, not a future star, not a versatile chess piece; just an outside Corner who succeeds at the main part of his job.
5:01 CB Nick McCloud, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’0”, 192 lbs. with 31⅜” arms. Transferred to Notre Dame for his final year of eligibility, and played well enough to get on everyone’s radar. An all around CB awaiting some focused attention from the film watchers.
5:01 CB Bryce Thompson, Tennessee. (Junior). 5’11”, 190 lbs. A fluid, fast enough cover corner with three years of good experience after playing offense all through H.S., a good football IQ, poor (bottom 31st percentile) testing, but decent burst on film. Thompson had some early round buzz in the 2020 preseason. There is an off-field red flag for a misdemeanor domestic assault charge that was later dropped, but nevertheless led to a three week suspension. A willing tackler despite his modest size. Tom Mead’s gif-supported April scouting report adds that he has experience at Safety too. The technique issues revolve around getting beat by sudden cuts or double moves, and then getting grabby even for college. That’s sometimes fixable for boundary CB’s, but not in the slot. Good ball skills.
5:01 CB Marco Wilson, Florida. (RS Junior). 6’0”, 190 lbs. The little brother of 2017 Round 2 bust Quincy Wilson, Marco started at Florida from day 1 as a true Freshman (2017), tore an ACL in 2018, and then came back as a starter in 2019 and 2020. He’s played both outside and in a Hiltonesque slot role. Excels as a blitzer and tackler, with great burst. No great shakes as true coverage Corner, however, particularly in press technique.
5:16 OT Landon Young, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’7”, 310 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10⅛” hands. Will turn 24 as a rookie. Your classic tough guy with questions about his ability to deal with quality rushers that know how to use his height and strength against him. Both of those assets are very impressive. He is a true mauler on run downs, and against any pass rusher foolish enough to let him get those hands in motion. The flaws show when he has to react to counter moves, whether left and right or up and down. Boom or bust, since those problems are fatal against quality NFL pass rushers, but can often be fixed by good coaching and a lot of hard work to learn how to play with discipline and balance in addition to size and ferocity. Put up Top 10% athletic numbers.
5:16 G Aaron Banks, Notre Dame. (Senior). 6’5⅜”, 338 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 10⅛” hands. A pure Guard who’s capable as both a run and pass blocker, with tremendous movement skills out in the open for a man that large. Very high floor, but with essentially no position versatility, and somewhat of a specialist who only suits a power running game. An undoubted starter and potential star in that role, but only in that role. That hurts him for a Steelers unit that has it’s starting Guards in place. Came in at #96 on Gil Brandt’s initial big board.
5:16 G Alaric Jackson, Iowa. (RS Senior). 6’5½”, 321 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 9½” hands.. A college Tackle who may need to move inside as a pro. His big assets are burst off the line and speed in the open field, but they are not much more than average and more of the straight line variety than the easy lateral movement you look for on the edge. He could also use a year of professional strength training to supplement all the standard improvements to be expected from top level coaching.
5:16 G Tommy Kraemer, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 320 lbs. with 33½” arms and 10⅝” hands. A pure Guard who wins in the phone booth basically every time, but looks progressively worse the further you move him away from the A gaps. Would be a much better fit for a team that runs a pure gap/power running game, which the Steelers do not.
5:16 C Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt. (RS Senior). 6’3¼”, 305 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and 10” hands. A technically accomplished Center with good, quick hands to get the advantage right away, and living proof that trying harder can yield results. Projects as a reliable, solid, just-a-Center who may surprise people by fighting his way to the top of the pile… just as he did as the most successful walk-on in college football. Superior technique consistently helps him to overcome his limitations in the areas of size. There are mobility questions too, though his startling 1.68 10-yard split and good jumps suggest that his athletic skills may be more uneven than missing. His overall grade was in the top 10%. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report includes some cold water for Morrisey’s many fans in the Burgh, pointing to issues on film that arise from those apparent athletic limitations.
5:16 TE Cary Angeline, NC State. (RS Senor). 6’7”, 250 lbs. The much abused Zach Gentry may actually be one of the better pro comps. Angeline has wonderful size and very good hands as a receiver, but I’ve yet to see a report that extols his blocking prowess and he isn’t built for the job.
5:16 TE Shaun Beyer, Iowa. (RS Senor). 6’4⅞”, 250 lbs. Want to get excited with no real evidence? Here’s the list of recent Iowa TE’s: George Kittle in 2017, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant in 2019, and now Shaun Beyer in 2021. Those are names to reckon with! Beyer does not hold up to that kind of hype, but he is a pretty sound prospect and has had the same training from the same coaches. He is supposed to be a good blocker, and an adequate receiver who may have been underutilized in his offense. Exactly the sort of prospect to pound the table for if he puts up an enormous SPARQ score. His pro day numbers helped in that regard, showing him to be a Top 25% athlete with particularly good agility. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report confirms his ability to block, with soft hands but not the special skills to be a major receiving weapon.
5:16 TE Luke Farrell, Ohio State. (RS Senior). 6’5½”, 251 lbs. with 33” arms and 9¼” hands. The man who did the dirty work as the blocking TE for a powerful offense, Farrell is running below the radar because his pass catching counterpart (Jeremy Rucker) got the glory; such as it was for a team that does not rely on it’s TE’s to make plays. OTOH, Ohio State simply does not recruit bad athletes, however, so there may be hidden upside here for this successful H.S. basketball player. With the blocking already up to par, he seems to fit what Pittsburgh needs. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Day 3 grade, saying, “Every team needs a Luke Farrell. A guy that can be a consistent blocker on the offense … [and will] make some plays in the passing game.”
5:16 TE Kylen Granson, SMU. (Senior). 6’2⅛”, 242 lbs. Another prospect who straddles the elusive line between oversized WR and undersized TE. Hard to see the fit, though he might be an extraordinary fullback/H-back if you read between the lines of Tom Mead’s gif-supported January scouting report. He does seem to love blocking even if he lacks the size to succeed in that capacity at an NFL level. This goes to a nice January Draft Wire interview that followed his decision to play in the Senior Bowl.
5:16 TE Tony Poljan, Virginia. (RS Senor). 6’7”, 265 lbs. Poljan follows in Gentry’s footsteps even down to being a recently converted QB. Nice hands. Acceptable speed if you give him time to build up, and do not ask for any direction changes. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported January scouting report actually praises his skill at pass blocking, but holds out little hope that his combination of height and rigid movement skills will ever allow him to be much of a help in the run game. His biggest flaw may be that distinctly limited athletic profile.
5:16 RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville. (RS Sophomore). 5’10⅛”, 206 lbs. Anthony McFarland with just as much breakaway burst but probably a little less power. Discounted because that guy is already on the team. Here is a March interview he did with TDN.
5:16 WR Jonathan Adams, Jr., Ark. St. (Senior). 6’2”, 210 lbs. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 4-5 grade after describing a small-school version of James Washington, who tends to win the combat catches but needs to because he doesn’t get as much separation as you’d like.
5:16 WR Frank Darby, Ariz. St. (RS Senior). 6’⅛”, 194 lbs. A James Washington type who is just a little lesser prospect across the board than the original JW was. Darby is a genuine tough guy, but smaller; has tremendous hands but not great hands; wins contested catches more often than not, but not a clear majority; etc. But you cannot go wrong with a physical, accomplished receiver who gets the job done. High floor. Start with this good looking PFN scouting profile from early February, which gives a good feeling for the young man as well as his game. (Academic problems have been an issue; leadership and work ethic have emphatically not). This Chiefs-oriented scouting profile from early February emphasizes Darby’s solidity, reliability, and fighting attitude.
5:16 WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois. (RS Senior). 6’⅞”, 218 lbs. with long 32⅜” arms. A top 11% athlete overall held back by poor agility. Runs and leaps like a deer. His 46½” vertical leap at his pro day made the news, but he’s actually jumped even higher in the past. He also has good hands and A1 body control for combat catches. But that’s about it. He is nothing even close to a developed product, just the kind of interesting clay you can really see the Steelers looking at for a Day 3 pick. Josh Carney’s gif-supported, early April scouting report names Imatorbhebhe as one of his favorite Day 3 sleepers, pointing out that he may been held back by poor QB play.
5:16 WR Cade Johnson, S. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 5’10⅜”, 186 lbs. with notably short 29” arms and average 9⅜” hands. A small school phenom who was too fast and elusive for that level of competition, Johnson proved he could play with the big boys too at the Senior Bowl. As this nice PFN scouting profile from late January points out, that ameliorates the concerns but does not erase them. Lack of size, lack of contact balance, and lower level of competition are what will cause him to fall. Has tremendous chops as an FCS return man too. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif- supported March scouting report ends with a Round 3-4 grade after describing Johnson as a slippery receiver/returner with a game similar to Tyler Lockett; more of a competitor to James Washington than Diontae Johnson.
5:16 WR Shi Smith, S. Car. (Senior). 5’10”, 186 lbs. Put up a ton of production in 2020, proving along the way that he possesses the toughness to compensate for his lack of heft, but is missing the physical strength. Very good speed, quickness, and body control, but somewhat questionable hands that produce both circus catches and inexplicable drops. Already adept at trying to beat man coverage off the line, but vulnerable whenever the CB manages to get in a strike. Can he play the X receiver position in the NFL, or will the lack of strength consign him to the slot? That question mark limits his stock. Profiles as a solid WR3/4 project with WR2 aspirations, who will also provide some benefit as a return man. This harsh, point-by-point February scouting profile particularly objects to the poor route running and erratic swings from highlight plays to head shakers. Tom Mead’s gif-supported February scouting profile ends in a Round 5-6 grade based on the lack of play strength in all facets.
5:16 NT Tyler Shelvin, LSU (RS Junior). 6’3”, 345 lbs. The player you want if you’re after someone who will either hold his ground or reset the line of scrimmage backward by a yard. An ideal 2-gapper ranked higher on many other boards, but discounted here because he won’t provide pass rush. That severely limits the number of snaps that might be available on the current Pittsburgh defense. Has suffered from weight issues, and could easily become a better player if professional discipline can change some habits and improve his conditioning.
5:16 NT Tedarrell Slaton, Florida (Senior). 6’5”, 358 lbs. A two-down NT who gets low and often plays two steps into the backfield, but offers little more than that. He carries his size very well and is pretty darned solid from top to bottom – surprising when you look at the numbers. Would rank higher if he offered either a decent pass rush or more lateral mobility.
5:16 DT Jaylen Twyman, Pitt (RS Junior). 6’1¾”, 301 lbs. with 32⅛” arms. Terrific motor combined with the ability to burst through the line and provide pressure up the middle, but a bit too small to hold up if asked to play immovable object as a Nose Tackle. He was on a lot of “potential round 1” lists going into 2020, but opted out due to Covid and has now dropped into draft obscurity a bit. Going into his pro day people worried about lack of size (he’d been listed at 270) and strength, but were excited about his burst and athleticism. Weighing in at 301 and putting up 40 bench press reps answered the old questions, but his pedestrian numbers in the burst and movement drills created new questions about lost athletic ability with the extra muscle mass. Jonathan Heitritter’s early April, gif-supported scouting report ends with a Round 4-5 grade as a 4-3 DT, noting that it would be lower for Pittsburgh due to lack of fit.
5:16 DT Milton Williams, La. Tech. (Junior). 6’3”, 284 lbs. with shorter 31½” arms. [DL COACH AT PRO DAY]. A draft sleeper who exploded onto the national stage in march with pro day numbers comparable to Larry Donald across the board. The late February PFN scouting profile, which predates the pro day, describes an up-and-coming small school star with real upside a team could harness. This Browns-oriented February scouting profile likewise sees a promising, small-school 5-tech who’d be a bargain in the back half of Day 3. This goes to a 14-minute YouTube video interview from a Seahawks draft site. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report suggests a tweener who could go as early as Round 3 to the perfect team, but who projects poorly to what Pittsburgh could use.
5:16 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, he could be a strong contender for one of Pittsburgh’s Round 4 selections (even with the misfortune of having grown up in Baltimore). A classic high floor, limited ceiling prospect of the sort who will win a lot of reps, but disappears (a total loss) when he can only achieve a tie.This solid looking scouting profile from January emphasizes his skill and discipline as a run defender, with solid if not special pass rushing skills. Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report ends in a “late Day 3” grade based on a series of concerns over everything but his speed-to-power ability. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is a little more positive, but agrees that Dimukeje is a straight line, power-only player with limited length.
5:16 EDGE Chris Rumph II, Duke. (RS Junior). 6’2⅞”, 244 lbs. (supposedly 230-235 during the season) with long 33¾” arms. The descriptions make you think fringe-1st, and that is exactly where Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends up – minus the “fringe”. But the size issues force a drop into the middle rounds even though he plays bigger than he measures. Especially for the Steelers, who’ve been known to ignore a lack of inches (see Deebo) but not a lack of mass. Rumph actually played in the 220’s for most of his career. That just won’t do, and one can only guess if he will keep his skills with an extra 20 pounds of mass on top. The admirable assets include fantastic hand fighting skills (“He plays like a tenth-degree black belt with his hands”), multiple pass rush moves, and superior bend, burst, motor, and functional strength for his size. Supposed to be an especially smart player too, which is to be expected since his father coaches the OLB’s for the Houston Texans. There is exactly one issue to be addressed: can he play big enough to succeed as well in the NFL as he has in college?
5:16 EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn. St. (RS Senior). 6’2¼”, 238 lbs. with fairly long 33” arms. Will be 23 on draft day. A true 3-4 OLB with the burst, bend, and violence to be a solid NFL pass rusher, combined with excellent tools in space. Needs to get better at setting the edge but that is almost predictable for an edge rusher with his size and length limitations. Those limitations were very apparent at the Senior Bowl, where OT’s had no trouble shoving him away on pass rush drills. He will absolutely require a redshirt year in the weight room. Not a fit for Pittsburgh as an OLB; but playing as a pass-rushing Buck ILB? It’s pure speculation based on the measurements, but that could be awesome if Toney has the native stuff to handle the change of position. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting report sees him as a pure backup with situational pass rush upside.
5:16 EDGE Rashad Weaver, Pitt. (RS Senior). 6’4⅜”, 259 lbs. with 33½” arms. Turns 24 as a rookie. Won in college with varied and sophisticated technique rather than dominant physical tools. Will it translate to the NFL where everyone has better technique but the athletes are a whole level better? Great motor and attitude add to the high floor. Tore an ACL in the 2019 preseason, but looked good in 2020; though it may have held him back from doing even better. Earns a moderate discount because he tends to play like a bigger man who’d fit better as a 4-3 DE, or possibly an undersized 3-4 DE with extra pass rush upside. PFN’s solid, pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile lists fast, heavy hands, great length, and explosive burst as Weaver’s primary assets. A fine combination! This simply great Post-Gazette article on Weaver’s rehab work gives genuine insight into the young man and his approach to his chosen profession. This later P.G. article quotes him saying that he has the versatility to play anywhere from standup OLB to DT. This Chiefs-oriented scouting profile from February ends with a Round 3 grade and a prototypical 4-3 DE conclusion. Ditto for this gif-supported scouting report from a Chiefs POV. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report ends in a mid-Day-3 grade.
5:16 ILB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 239 lbs. Will be 23 on draft day. An old fashioned, throwback linebacker in the same vein as Tyler Matakevich, except bigger, thumpier, more physical, and a scootch slowerl. He was the heart, soul, and tone setter of what may have been the best defense in 2020 college football. The purest sort of hard working football player, Fisher made big plays and TFL’s a trademark in college, but many (not all) pundits believe he lacks the pure athleticism to handle shifty NFL athletes in space. That limitation may end up ruling his NFL career just as it did for Matakevich. In a normal year his stock would have almost certainly gone up or down in response to Combine athletic testing. Now? Who knows. This Senior Bowl article from an Eagles POV has brief profiles on three ILB’s, including Fisher.
5:16 S Aashari Crosswell, Arizona St. (Junior). 6’0”, 196 lbs. A safety who excels at ball skills, playing in coverage and ball hawking on passing downs. Excellent ball skills, with coverage good enough to be a zone Corner but a bit too stiff to succeed in man. Gets people down but not a violent, impact tackler. Here is a nice preseason article from October to get some background.
5:16 S Divine Deablo, Va. Tech. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 226 lbs. with 32¾” arms. [VIRTUAL MTG] A long, tall Safety with three years of starting experience and intriguing assets for both speed and explosiveness, but held back by being a very linear athlete, as reflected in his short shuttle (4.40) and 3-cone (7.12) times. He would grade higher if he had the knack of being as intimidating as his size suggests he should be, but instead he’s just solid as a tackler. This goes to a combination scouting report and recorded interview from January. This Colts-oriented interview uses the idea that he is a “TE eraser” and someone who wants to be a Kam Chancellor type. Josh Carney’s gif-supported March scouting report sees more of a role player with special teams upside. Diablo said in an interview that most teams seem to view him as a hybrid box Safety/ILB type of player. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile would agree with that if you added “good” before the word “hybrid.”
5:16 S Damar Hamlin, Pitt (RS Senior). 6’⅞”, 200 lbs. with 32¼” arms. A Pittsburgh native to make the city proud, Hamlin projects as a solid, all-around Safety with the tools to be a higher end Jordan Dangerfield. Could stand to be a little bigger, tackle better, and improve his man-coverage skills, but that is why he is a Day 3 Safety prospect. Here is a late January PFN scouting profile. His high football IQ, leadership, and varied skill set earned a “mid Day 3” grade for Josh Carney’s gif-supported April scouting report.
5:16 S/CB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU (RS Sophomore). 5’8¼”, 176 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, and his size will be a major issue. Can you imagine this young man trying to cover JJSS or a TE in the slot? He’d look like a terrier taking on a full grown wolf. I’ll root for him, but I also recognize a stacked deck when I see it. 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. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported March scouting report may be the harshest critique out there, ending with a Round 5-6 grade because, “The combination of small and slow isn’t one that produces NFL success.” Ouch.
5:16 CB Olaijah Griffin, USC. (Junior). 6’0”, 180 lbs. A good part of Steelers Nation will object because his father is a rap producer, and there is a lingering stink from Lev Bell’s ventures in that direction, but Griffin is a pretty solid prospect for later in the draft. He’s described as a smart, physical press corner who plays with good discipline, tackles well, fights for the ball, and has plus athleticism. This goes to an upbeat 2019 article on Griffin’s comeback from a double shoulder surgery.
6:01 G/T Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame. (Senior). 6’4½”, 302 lbs. with 32” arms and 9¾” hands. [MTG AT SENIOR BOWL] A smart, effective, overachieving college Tackle who has some of the best hands in college football, both for punching and for gripping, but who seems to lack the pure agility to hold up against NFL pass rushers. That suggests a move inside, but he’s very small to be a Guard. Would rank much higher if he could somehow hang an extra 30 lbs. of muscle on his frame, but he hasn’t done it at Notre Dame and one has to question if he could in the pros. Looked like a real pro at the Senior Bowl.
6:01 C Drake Jackson, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’1⅞”, 293 lbs. with shorter 31⅛” arms and very small 8½” hands. Tom Mead’s gif-supported January scouting report agrees with almost everyone else: Jackson is a solid, sturdy Center who does that job at a solid, competent level, without any frills, and without regard to whether it is a running play or a pass. He snaps the ball, coordinates with his linemates, and gets the job done. Not the greatest athlete but good enough. Gets a slight discount for lacking the extra size and length to play Guard as well, and another for getting bullied during the Senior Bowl.
6:01 QB K.J. Costello, Miss. St. by way of Stanford. (RS Senior). 6’4½”, 225 lbs. A classic pocket passer with good mobility inside the pocket but no real ability to gain actual yardage with his feet. Really good arm talent, but questions exist about the Doh! moments when he’ll take totally uncalled for risks. Pretty decent ceiling but it is likely to take him 3-4 years of hard study before the football IQ gets good enough to offset his inability to create when things go wrong. He doesn’t seem to have that knack of making a bad play call right by out-athleting the opposing defense. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a fringe-draftable grade based on Costello’s immobility, elongated throwing motion (remember how Byron Letwich drove us all crazy?), and poor decision making. The latter actually got him benched in Mississippi after an opener where he set a college record for the highest passing total ever.
6:01 QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas. (Senior). 6’1½”, 222 lbs. On the one hand, he is as good a leader of college men as you’re ever going to see, which capital-m Matters for the QB position. Hard working, lead-by-example types tend to overachieve. Ehlinger also has NFL size, toughness, a lovely release, and pretty good accuracy within his range. What he hasn’t got is the arm to really stretch a field, and his accuracy dips sharply when those limits get reached. Yes, his range is better than a certain much loved cult hero with an avian nickname. But how much better? And is that enough to get over the line into “good enough for the NFL”?
6:01 RB Khalil Herbert, Va. Tech. (RS Senior). 5’9”, 204 lbs. A moderately sized one-cut runner who is far better suited for the outside zone attack than the sorts of scheme that Pittsburgh runs. Josh Carney’s gif-supported scouting report ends with a fringe-3rd grade for that ideal situation, but for this board he earns a big discount.
6:01 RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama. (Senior). 6’1”, 228 lbs. Buried behind Najee Harris but worth a look in his own right. Robinson is a north-south power runner, with a big, muscular frame and the speed to bounce the ball outside the tackles. Pretty explosive back when working in a straight line, but lacking in shiftiness. A hard player to judge because he was buried behind so much other talent and just didn’t get many snaps.
6:01 WR Tyler Vaughns, USC. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 190 lbs. He’s solid enough, with an all-around skill set that includes good height and hands, and very good route running. But what does he bring that’s special? The sort of prospect who might get to WR2 on a poor team, and may have a WR 4 floor for a team with good depth. On the Steelers? He will be lucky to make the roster.
6:01 WR Connor Wedington, Stanford. (RS Junior). 6’½”, 196 lbs. A Size L return specialist and team captain who doubles as a receiver when healthy. Injured in the opening game of 2018, which cost 9 games and hampered the final few. Injured returning the opening kickoff of 2019, but returned to play in 11, winning numerous honors. Played in three games in 2020 before a Covid diagnosis led to opting out. So, as summarized in the NFL.com scouting profile, pretty much everything is projection based on Top 15% athletic traits concentrated in elite agility with 4.47 speed. Needs to learn receiver skills beyond his native ability to be fast and shifty.
6:01 DT Quinton Bohanna, Kentucky. (Senior). 6’4”, 357 lbs. An enormous two-gapping, run stuffing NT with decent but not good burst off the ball.
6:01 DT Cory Durden, Fla. St. (RS Junior). 6’5”, 315 lbs. A one trick pony with a good trick: a dominant bull rush that’s gained him a lot of sacks, and helps him to hold up on running downs. Will benefit a lot from professional conditioning, which is what drops his stock.
6:01 DT LaBryan Ray, Alabama. (Senior). 6’5”, 302 lbs. A lesser version of Heyward and Tuitt who fights every bit as much and as hard in the run game, but lacks their pass rush upside. High floor, low ceiling, but with very good experience at a program that knows how to train IDL’s.
6:01 NT Jordan Williams, Clemson. (RS Junior). 6’4”, 310 lbs. A two-down NT who understands how to use his strength and leverage to clog the middle, including when he’s asked to cover two gaps. No real pass rush presence however.
6:01 EDGE William Bradley-King, Baylor by way of Ark. St. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 254 lbs. with 32¾” arms and 10¼” hands. A prospect who actually played 3-4 OLB in college! Hard to believe, right? But it’s true. Strong, smart, and technically sound but missing both chase-him-down speed, and that special pop of athleticism that seems to make the difference in NFL pass rushers. Here is a nice looking January scouting profile from PFN. Here are some nice quotes from a December interview. This brief February scouting profile agrees with Tom Mead’s gif-supported March scouting report that King is a straight power rusher with limited athleticism when measured on the lunatic scale of NFL Edge talent.
6:01 EDGE Wyatt Hubert, Kansas St. (RS Junior). 6’3”, 265 lbs. with short 31” arms. A future fan favorite guaranteed to be a special teams demon, with potential as a backup 3-4 OLB. His #1 asset is what Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes as a “wild man[‘s] white hot motor and play speed.” What he lacks are physical assets like length (bottom 4%) explosiveness (16th% broad jump), and straight line speed (4.93 dash). His mobility drills came in especially high, however (near the 80th percentile), and COD was mentioned as a weakness by Zierlein. Untapped potential?
6:01 ILB Derrick Barnes, Purdue. (Senior). 6’⅜”, 238 lbs. [Worked with Olsafsky at pro day] Honestly makes you think of a younger Vince Williams due to the combination of violent physical play, blitzing ability, attitude, and physical limitations (bottom 10% athletic profile) that will show up against NFL athletes who achieve a matchup in open space. Showed well in the Senior Bowl, especially in pass rush drills. Put up very good numbers at his pro day too. Here is Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported, late March scouting report.
6:01 ILB Tony Fields II, W. Va. (Senior). 6’1”, 222 lbs. with short 31¼” arms. A genuine football player, and thus a guy you root for hard, but where would he fit on the Steelers roster? Size and length really do matter, and his lack of either is already an issue in college. Opponents who can get a blocker on him can pretty much remove him from the play. If he succeeds it will be as a Mack, not a Buck, and there’s just no room in the room. OTOH, he projects as a fantastic special teams ace, so there is a decent floor to consider. Josh Carney’s gif-supported February scouting report ends with a Round 5ish grade based on the lack of size and the need for a few redshirt years to learn the game.
6:01 ILB Amen Obgungbemiga, Okla. St. (RS Senior). 6’1”, 235 lbs. A solid, all-around Linebacker who is solid in both run support and coverage. But does he have that special talent to be more than a backup? This old article from 2015 provides fantastic depth on his background as an immigrant from Nigeria to Texas, and then up to Canada while still a boy.
6:01 S Reed Blankenship, Middle Tenn. (Senior). 6’1”, 196 lbs. A solid Safety with acceptable athleticism, suitable to playing the backup role so long and capably occupied by Jordan Dangerfield. Probably will not be a starter, but has a high special teams and useful backup floor. Would rank higher if the production had come against a higher level of competition. Went into the 2020 season with enormous buzz as a potential draft sleeper, as shown by this exciting, gif-supported September scouting report from PFN and this gif-supported October scouting report. He played well in 2020, but not up to that standard.
6:01 S Richard LeCounte III, Georgia (Senior). 5’10½”, 196 lbs. with 31⅝” arms. 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. His beyond-miserable pro day testing (bottom 1% overall) drops his value significantly for the athlete-loving Steelers. 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.
6:01 CB/S Michael Carter II, Duke (Senior). 5’10”, 180 lbs. A Mike Hilton type with a little more size, but maybe even less in the way of coverage ability. The NFL.com scouting profile emphasizes toughness, attitude, and the other assets that led to being named a team captain.
6:01 CB D.J. Daniel, Georgia (Senior). 5’11¾”, 195 lbs. with very long 33” arms. A physical Corner whose main flaws on film seem to be a tendency to take the cheese, and then to get grabby when he gets caught by a double move. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting report is less glowing than most reviews, concluding that he “simply lacks the desired levels of recognition and anticipation to pounce on top of route breaks and contest more throws.” Sounds like a boom or bust project who needs good coaching more than anything else. Daniel bombed his athletic testing, coming in with a bottom 5% athletic score with particularly low numbers in the areas of speed and explosiveness.
6:16 T/G Carson Green, Texas A&M. (Senior). 6’6”, 319 lbs. with 34” arms and 10 ⅜” hands. [VIRTUAL MTG]. A nice Day 3 developmental prospect with 3-4 years of starting experience, Green has the prototypical build of a RT who might move into play Guard, but the film shows some key things that need to improve. This October scouting profile lauds his size, smarts, and hand fighting, but expresses concerns about a lack of country strength and what seems to be lazy feet more than slow feet. The NFL.com scouting profile sums him up this way: “[A] gritty baller… Green plays with enough athleticism and determination to get the job done but lacks desired NFL-caliber strength” and who has trouble with really twitched-up pass rushers.
6:16 T/G Brendan Jaimes (“HIGH-mus”), Neb. (Senior). 6’5½”, 300 lbs. with very short 32¾” arms and 10” hands. A Day 3 prospect with good enough balance and agility to be a swing Tackle that hopes to become a starter. Nice hand work even if his length is an issue, and he needs to add both strength and some sand in the pants.
6:16 C/G Brett Heggie, Florida. (RS Senior). 6’2¾”, 321 lbs. Credit to poster Chad Weiss for the find. Heggie is an experienced IOL who has started with equal success at both Guard and Center. As addressed in this glowing (some might say gushing) March scouting profile, his calling card is consistency. Chad adds that he’s quick out of his stance, fundamentally sound as a run blocker, and a good hand fighter in pass protection, with an obvious football IQ. The limitations are purely athletic, and show up when he has to pull or catch a defender in space. Can also give up penetration to very quick DT’s on passing downs.
6:16 QB Ian Book, Notre Dame. (Senior). 6’0”, 210 lbs. A lethal player of sandlot ball, and a proven winner, when Book has had trouble it’s been against defenses that force him to stay in the pocket, read the defense, and make the throws. The arm talent is plenty good enough but not great. Tends to be streaky. Baker Mayfield Lite?
6:16 QB Feleipe Franks, Arkansas. (RS Senior). 6’7”, 234 lbs. The developmental prospect who doesn’t get talked about enough, Franks has all the physical traits you want when it comes to height, weight, speed, arm, touch, accuracy, etc. He’s even got a rep for good leadership skills, a 70% completion rate, and the ability to run (4.55 dash) when a play breaks down. What he’s lacked in college is processing speed. Staring down targets, waiting too long, and then getting flustered as the pressure closes in make for serious problems. But if he could ‘get it’ mentally (a big if), Franks has the native talent to reach almost any heights.
6:16 TE John Bates, Boise St. (RS Senior). 6’5⅝”, 259 lbs. with shorter 32½” arms and 9⅜” hands. A prospect who is relatively balanced when it comes to pass catching and run blocking, but nothing to write home about in either facet. He has some sneaky speed and good, basic athleticism, but isn’t quick or special in any other measure. This goes to Tom Mead’s gif-supported April scouting report. The NFL.com scouting profile offers added hope by noting that he has the frame to add more strength and power.
6:16 TE/FB/H-Back Tory Carter, LSU. (Senior). 6’0”, 240 lbs. Included here because of a few perfect quotes from the NFL.com scouting profile. Start with, “Rabid competitor who treats every snap like a fist-fight.” Niiice. “He won’t provide much as a pass catcher, but offers additional roster value as a core special teamer.” Okay, fair enough. “This is the guy you want in the fox hole with you. Great teammate and loyal.” Aaaand yes; that will get you on the Steelers Big Board every time.
6:16 TE Miller Forristal, Alabama. (RS Senor). 6’5”, 244 lbs. Boom or bust due to medical concerns and poor (bottom 10%) athletic testing. Alabama used him with great success as a wham blocker (pulling across the formation to hit a would be tackler), which takes a nasty attitude and some sneaky athleticism to avoid getting juked into a whiff. He is also supposed to have very good hands, though he did not run a lot of routes in that offense. The biggest downside is a long, long series of injuries that held him to 14 games in 4 seasons. He’s a little more slender than you’d like in a TE, but the attitude makes up for the 10-20 pounds you’d ideally like to add. Also has a strong martial arts background, which may help with some hand fighting tricks and might explain some of his no holds barred approach to football.
6:16 TE Jack Stoll, Nebraska. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 260 lbs. Gets hit with the “tough guy blocker” label as if that was a bad thing, when it’s quite the opposite. Good, solid floor as a full- or H-back. It’s the ceiling where his questions lie. He is supposed to have very good hands, but also heavy feet that may restrict his ability to run routes. In the ideal world it would turn out to be Nebraska’s reluctance to use TE’s as receiving weapons, but that is wishful thinking at this point. Showing unexpected athleticism at the Combine would have really helped his stock.
6:16 RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo. (Junior). 5’6½”, 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 showed on film are elite by any standard: vision, elusiveness, agility, and contact balance being at the top. He looked like a true human pinball with the hands to be effective as an outlet receiver too. His pro day was frankly awful, from being 2½” shorter than the advertised 5’9”, to an array of other scores that put him in the 45th percentile overall. You cannot survive at 5’6” without extraordinary skills to counter that handicap, and he failed to show them. The scores were so universally low that some of it can be written off to a bad day, but still. 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.
6:16 RB/WR Pooka Williams Jr., Kansas. (Junior). 5’8½”, 175 lbs. Lightning fast and shifty as they come, but badly undersized for the NFL. Jonathan Heitreither’s gif-supported March scouting report notes that he has good contact balance for someone his size, but the lack of heft does show up even against college competition. A fine outlet receiver, the big question is whether he can learn that second position well enough to succeed as a Dexter McCluster type of multiposition and gadget player. A tale of extremes, as in 1st percentile weight, 0 percentile bench (4 reps), and 96th percentile dash (4.38).
6:16 WR Jalen Camp, Ga. Tech. (RS Senior). 6’1⅞”, 226 lbs. A distinctly average WR on film, Camp put up fabulous numbers at his pro day that land him in the top 3% of WR’s overall, including an unbelievable 30 bench press reps (the Combine record is 27). All very thrilling, but Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported scouting report contains plenty of cold water, ending in a late Day-3 grade based mostly on athletic potential.
6:16 WR Trevon Grimes, Florida. (Senior). 6’3⅞”, 217 lbs. [APPARENT MTG] A player who’s got the things that can’t be taught: size, weight, speed, and the sort of amazing athletic talent that will put up enormous SPARQ scores. What he hasn’t got is the production to match those talents. Worse yet, he failed to put up those numbers in a fantastically productive system led by QB Kyle Trask’s 2020 run at the Heisman. Answer the question, “Why not?”, and you could have the steal of the year; unless there is a real “because” that is going to follow him into the pros. Here is a nice Senior Bowl scouting profile from PFN.
6:16 DT Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas. 6’3”, 310 lbs. With short 32¼” arms. A good, multisport athlete with a rep for high character and some quickness on the inside. He projects as a potentially solid 1-gap penetrator, but the NFL.com scouting profile says was badly misused as a 2-gapping NT in college and simply couldn’t hold up. One year starter. Very impressive athletic numbers at his pro day put him in the top 1% athletic profile.
6:16 NT Jordon Scott, Oregon. (Senior). 6’1”, 322 lbs. Will be 21 on draft day. Custom built to be a two-down NT, with very little upside for any other role. But there is upside in that role, particularly because he got results in college despite real technique problems with failure to use his natural leverage. Could mature into a real run stuffing force if someone can help him to really learn his craft.
6:16 DT Darius Stills, W. Va. (Junior). 6’½”, 278 lbs. with 32¼” arms A situational inside pass rusher who should go in the middle rounds to a 4-3 team, he offers great burst off the line with a tremendous motor, but just does not fit what Pittsburgh could use. He would be an off the charts athlete for the position if he could put up the same numbers with an extra 25 lbs. of weight and 6” of length.
6:16 NT Khyiris Tonga, BYU. (Senior). 6’4”, 322 lbs. Shrink Big Dan McCullers by a few inches in height, and then add them back in width. In other words, he is a huge man who isn’t as stout as he should be due to leverage and quickness issues. Could be a dominant NT if coaching can fix those issues. Won’t if it can’t.
6:16 EDGE Cam Sample, Tulane. (Senior). 6’3”, 274 lbs. Built like a natural 4-3 DE, but with college experience ranging from Defensive Tackle to stand-up OLB. That sounds perfect, but reports say he is not SPARQ-y enough to carry that off in the NFL. For Pittsburgh he projects as a player who’d be limited to specialty snaps. Played well enough to earn the Defensive MVP award at the Senior Bowl.
6:16 ILB Tuf Borland, Ohio State. (RS Senior). 6’⅛”, 229 lbs. with short 31⅜” arms. A Day 3 pick with a potentially sneaky upside to go along with the all-star name. The film is just okay, which adds up to “not good” when you factor in the marginal size. But he was also a 3-year captain chosen to make Ohio State’s coin toss pick in the BCS championship game; he played through significant injuries for a lot of his college career, including a not-fully-recovered Achilles in 2018; and he’s consistently been the ILB3 behind high end NFL talent. 100% a “play through the echo of the whistle” type of guy. Here is a December scouting profile from PFN. His 4.99 dash is not the stuff of sideline-to-sideline dreams, lol.
6:16 ILB K.J. Britt, Auburn. (Senior). 6’½”, 235 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 9⅜” hands. Vince Williams 2.0. James Wilford’s gif-supported March scouting report describes Britt as a hard hitting, old school thumper between the Tackles who can be exposed when asked to play in space. This February scouting profile notes that he looked very good at the Senior Bowl.
6:16 ILB Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin. (Junior). 6’1”, 232 lbs. A smart, strong, impact ILB who may end up being an undersized 2-down player. There’s nothing wrong with his athleticism, it’s just open to question when you imagine the sort of special mismatch players and isolation schemes that NFL opponents will often bring to bear.
6:16 S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati. (Senior). 6’0”, 198 lbs. A smart team leader and communicator in the secondary who does everything okay, but lacks any standout traits to suggest he could be more than a backup in the NFL. The sort of player who will delight coaches with a decade of savvy depth and special teams, but incur fan level fury until he turns into a fond memory we suddenly miss. Here is a 20 minute video interview with a draftnik site from February.
6:16 S/ILB JaCoby Stevens, LSU. (Senior). 6’1”, 216 lbs. A hybrid between a large box Safety and a miniature ILB, he plays a smart, instinctive, and active game comparable to Marcus Allen (a 2018 5th round pick) and Antoine Brooks Jr. (2020 6th rounder). Almost sure to be a special teams ace and valuable core player, but where is the roster spot given who the Steelers already have? Devin Jackson’s gif-supported early March scouting report could see him going as early as Round 4 to the right team.
6:16 S/ILB Mark Webb, Georgia. (Senior). 6’2”, 207 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9⅝” hands. Another player who straddles the line between box Safety and ultra-small ILB, and may end up being the dreaded tweener instead of a desirable hybrid due to piss poor agility numbers that show up on the film. He’s supposed to be a football player, however, so he’s likely to put up a fight via the special teams route.
6:16 CB/S Tre Norwood, Oklahoma. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 192 lbs. with extremely short 29⅛” arms. A very hard player to grade. First he was known as a slick moving but badly undersized H.S. player who came to campus at 165 lbs. He got onto the field for 5 games anyway, and has now grown to a still-stringy 192. Then he shot onto the scene as a dual CB/Safety in 2018, but missed his would-be showcase year in 2019 due to a preseason, noncontact ACL tear. So 2020 was going to be big, and then… Covid. He played well anyway, but there were not many games. [Sigh]. Moves extremely well and has a nose for the football, but is severely short in the measurable length and bombed his athletic testing. Played both inside and outside in college, but projects best to the NFL in the slot. Here is a late January PFN scouting profile.
6:31 STEELERS ROUND 6 PICK (# 216 OVERALL) (SEE TRADES WITH TAMPA AND MIAMI)
7:01 OG Larry Borom, Missouri. (RS Junior). 6’5”, 322 lbs. A large and very powerful human being who carries his weight well enough to surprise everyone with a Top 15% athletic grade at his pro day. He won’t be able to keep playing Tackle like he did in college. Has Ramon Foster potential if moved inside, but that will require much better technique.
7:01 QB Shane Buechele, SMU. (Senior). 6’1”, 210 lbs. Did well in the wide open Air Raid college system due to excellent accuracy and timing, but likely to face many more problems at the pro level because he has below-average arm strength, limited size, and only average athletic traits.
7:01 TE Matt Bushman, BYU. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 240 lbs. 25 years old. He gets panned in most scouting profiles, including the one by Lance Zierlein at NFL.com, but Alex Kozora’s gif-supported April scouting report sees hope in his exceptional hands and production. Bushman lacks the athletic talent and size to either block or get separation, but he wins the combat catches and is hard to bring down.
7:01 RB Rakeem Boyd, Arkansas. (Senior). 5’11”, 213 lbs. A piece of the RB puzzle with intriguing film, who bombed the pro day testing at a catastrophic level that put him in the bottom 2% of the athletic pile. Runs good routes, has WR-level hands, and features good vision as a pure RB, but his overall elusiveness, straight line speed, and other assets are sub-par. He also has a history of getting banged up. And then there’s the testing…
7:01 RB Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati. (RS Senior). 5’11¼”, 230 lbs. Credit goes to posters “Silence Dogood” and Douglas Prostorog for this one. Doaks is definitely a sleeper with a sort of James Conner profile. On the large side, with nifty feet, good hands out of the backfield, and great contact balance that earns him a lot of extra yards. His stock is held back by durability concerns and (unlike Conner) a failure to ever stand out as an upcoming NFL man among the college-level boys. This goes to an upbeat scouting profile from February.
7:01 RB Jake Funk, Maryland. (RS Senior). 5’10¼”, 204 lbs. A real “what if” tale whose pair of ACL tears on the same knee deprived him of any ability to put up extended film. Flashed onto the scene when pro day testing put him in the top 3% as an athlete. The NFL.com scouting profile emphasizes exceptional special teams ability in addition to the as-yet-untapped physical potential.
7:01 WR Damonte Coxie, Memphis. (RS Senior). 6’3”, 195 lbs. A physical possession receiver with good height and length to match with his excellent hands, body control, and skill at boxing out. A fine blocker too, for a WR. What he lacks are the pure speed and quickness to get open all on his own against NFL competition. The sort of WR3/4 who will catch everything when he’s the open man in a scheme, but is capped because an NFL defense will probably be able to eliminate him at will. His pro day revealed a bottom 2% athlete overall, which really hurts his stock for a team with Pittsburgh’s WR room.
7:01 WR Jaelon Darden, N. Tex. (Senior). 5’9”, 170 lbs. This is an unfair grade for an all-teams board, but Pittsburgh already has Ray-Ray McCloud on the roster. That is Darden in a nutshell, albeit a little smaller. He’s a living super ball with tremendous and sudden acceleration that dominated in college but will face many new hurdles trying to do the same against superior NFL athletes who know how to use their size. Wes Cantliffe’s gif-supported March scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade, pointing to the eternal Tyreek Hill comparisons, but your author believes this is the wrong kind of boom-or-bust athlete for a team with Pittsburgh’s WR room.
7:01 WR Damon Hazelton, Missouri. (RS Senior). 6’2½”, 206 lbs. with 33⅜” arms. Turns 24 just before the draft. Plays a lot like a bigger James Washington, with iron grip hands and the ability to win at the point of contact on a regular basis due to his good but not great speed, combined with tremendous body control and boxing-out ability. Nice after the catch too. Lacks the physicality you’d expect, and has never been ‘the man’ at any of his three schools.
7:01 EDGE Earnest Brown IV, Northwestern. 6’5”, 270 lbs. with long 34½” arms. A pure 4-3 DE with some upside if he can add strength, slipperiness, and deeper technique to his middle of the road tape. Discounted for lack of fit to Pittsburgh’s hybrid 3-4 scheme.
7:01 EDGE Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State. 6’2½”, 253 lbs. A violent, physical, and explosive athlete with very little bend around the corner, he is discounted significantly for this board because he projects much better as a gap-shooting 4-3 Defensive End. Kelvin Bryant’s gif-supported April scouting report gives him a Round 4-5 grade when viewed through that lens.
7:01 EDGE Chris Garrett, Concordia. (Senior). 6’4”, 245 lbs. Credit to poster Steeler2695 for this deep sleeper. Concordia is a D-II school, so there was little in the way of competition to compare Garrett to. But what competition there was, he destroyed, annihilated, chewed on, stomped, and then left wriggling in the dust. A favorite sleeper going into 2020, Covid-19 robbed him of any chance to prove that he deserved the rising buzz. This extremely thorough February article and the various records he set are pretty much all there is to discover on the Internet.
7:01 EDGE Chauncey Golston, Iowa. (RS Senior). 6’4½”, 269 lbs. with long 34¾” arms and big 11” hands. Profiles perfectly as a run stuffing 4-3 DE who will help that kind of defense to keep its designated pass rushers fresh for the longer yardage downs. Tough, very strong, and possessing a high motor, he’s a likeable prospect. Just not so much for a 3-4 base team like Pittsburgh. This goes to a Senior Bowl scouting profile from PFN.
7:01 ILB Dimitri Moore, Vanderbilt. (RS Junior). 6’3”, 225 lbs. A quick, easy summary: Moore is a pure Mack ILB with average athleticism. Those are valuable athletes that can help every team in lots of small ways, but the Steelers rely on really special athleticism for the Mack position, and that devalues his prospects for this particular team.
7:01 S/ILB Jamien Sherwood, Auburn. (Senior). 6’1¾”, 216 lbs. with 34” arms. Another player designed for that modern “dimebacker” role that Marcus Allen and Antoine Brooks Jr. were drafted to fill: a big box Safety who is slower and less agile than you want for that role, but has better coverage chops than most ILB’s. There’s little doubt he will excel as a special teams player core locker room presence. A genuine football player, but a type the Steelers already have.
7:01 S/ILB Christian Uphoff, Ill. St. (Senior). 6’2½”, 213 lbs. A hybrid box Safety/ILB with a bit more boom-or-bust to the equation because he put up better film than the others ranked in this Day 3 tier, but did so against lesser competition. His stock went up with a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, which proved he belongs with the other future NFL talent.
7:01 CB Shakur Brown, Mich. St. (RS Junior). 5’9¾”, 185 lbs. Justin Layne’s college successor does not have the same length, but may have more versatility as an inside/outside cover man with good press coverage skills. The main concern is that he’s a one year wonder who only made it onto the field in 2019, and who played far better in 2020 than he did during the year before. If you go by 2020 he is a scrappy, physical player who can function in various roles, including run support despite his size. More tape would have really helped his stock, but… Covid. Good testing would have helped just as much, but… bottom 3% athletic profile. Here is an upbeat article with coach’s comments from after he declared in December.
7:16 QB Zac Thomas, App. St. (RS Senior). 6’1”, 210 lbs. The Duck Hodges comparisons will be hard to avoid in Pittsburgh, and they may even be fair. Thomas is a proven winner from a smaller program who possesses very good accuracy and touch, but does not have the arm to stretch an NFL defense deep. He also has surprisingly good mobility, but reports suggest that he lacks the ‘stuff’ (contact balance, athletic edge, what have you) to beat NFL defenders like he was able to do against college ones.
7:16 QB Brady White, Memphis. (RS Senior). 6’3”, 215 lbs. Will be a 25 year old rookie. Good size, a history of winning, and NFL-level touch on his passes combine to make him a very draftable prospect. The somewhat advanced age and distinctly limited arm strength should limit that stock to the end of Day 3.
7:16 FB Ben Mason, Michigan. (Senior). 6’3”, 246 lbs. with 32⅝” arms. Here by popular demand is the man who probably wears a neck roll behind his tux when he’s being the best man at someone’s wedding. He’s 6’3” now, will be compressed to 5’10” by the end of his career, and you can be the one to get in his way if you want to. All jokes aside, he’s got a very long way to go even as a fullback, and he lacks the receiving skill to make that more viable, but wherever he goes, he will be a fan- and team favorite for sheer toughness.
7:16  WR Rico Bussey, Hawaii. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 195 lbs. A big play threat with return chops, but there are way too many drops. Is it fixable?
7:16 S Paris Ford, Pitt. (RS Junior). 6’⅝”, 197 lbs. His football IQ may be a year or two away from NFL standards, and he disappointed hideously by running 4.83 and 4.90 dashes at his pro day. He was a successful multipurpose Safety in college, who thrived everywhere from in the box to single-high, but being that slow in the NFL is fatal. By comparison, the “too slow” Marcus Allen ran a 4.63 dash. Opted out in the latter part of the 2020 season. This late January scouting profile from a Chiefs POV loves his devil may care aggressiveness, and sees that same asset as his main weakness. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported March scouting report sums up the current issue: “Overall, I love Ford’s game. He’s a tone-setter and you can tell he plays with heart. If you’re just looking at tape I think he’s a day 2 player. [But omigod, a 4.9 dash and 28” vertical jump? Yikes].” Quote and lose translation, but you get the idea. Ford measured like a very slow and unathletic linebacker, or a fast offensive lineman. If you’re a Safety… ick.
7:16 CB Rachad Wildgoose Jr., Wisconsin. (Junior). 5’11¼”, 197 lbs. with short 31⅛” arms. Opted out of 2020 after getting injured for game two. Looked pretty good in game 1 against the extremely athletic but very raw Illinois WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, but how much can be drawn from that alone? Reports say he had a very boom-or-bust 2019 run, with moments of greatness cancelled by some that were truly awful. Early reports described him as highly athletic, but he tested as just average with the exception of quick acceleration. The NFL.com scouting profile sees a physical but below average zone CB.
7:18 STEELERS ROUND 7a PICK (# 245 OVERALL) (SEE TRADE WITH MIAMI)
7:27 STEELERS ROUND 7b PICK (# 254 OVERALL)
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 if they pick at any point before Pick # 25 overall but good value at any point thereafter. Getting that player in the late 2nd would start to look like 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).
GLOSSARY: I try to use “scouting report” for articles supported by video clips, and “profile” for analyses that include only words. All reported contacts with the Steelers are tagged with “MTG”. Names that are hyperlinked go to the Steelers Depot article on that player. There are no links to The Draft Network profiles because they’ve now been reduced to blurbs, but readers should note that I have read every single one of those and incorporated the opinions they contained into the overall grade. Props to TDN for the work they do.
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