NFL Draft

Pavelle: Steelers’ Mock Draft (Version 3.0)

Hello. My name is Scott Pavelle and I am a mock draft simulator addict.

I know the flaws in those games as well as anyone. No one is getting fooled. It isn’t just distorted needs. Scheme and character fit both matter even more than need, and the simulators don’t even begin to address either one. But you know what? I’m sure the people with opioid problems could tell you more about that evil than you’d ever want to know. That doesn’t cure the disorder.

Anyway, I was playing with The Draft Network simulator the other day and started to run into a series of results that would make me a very, very happy man if they actually happened on draft day. They also involve a few players that deserve more attention than we’ve been giving them. So I decided to share an example today with an explanation of why I’d be excited.

ROUND 1, PICK #24 – RB Travis Etienne, Clemson

Yes, I would pick Najee Harris over Etienne if given a choice. But he almost never falls to #24 anymore on this simulator, and he didn’t this time. And yes, I’ve come around on Javonte Williams because I think he can be a smash-mouth back with special feet, and I love that image of my Pittsburgh Steelers: A body-punching, grind-it-out, hard-yardage, run-when-you-know-it’s-coming offense that no one looks forward to playing. But you know what? Travis Etienne gets a bum rap around here. It isn’t just that he is well-suited to both the modern game and Matt Canada’s history with college offenses. Etienne also weighs in at 215 lbs., which is three lbs. heavier than Williams (212 at his pro day), and he carries a lot of that weight in his immensely powerful lower body. Go back and reread Dave Bryan’s contextualization article to see how often Etienne’s lightning bolt runs began with a bit of broken tackle thunder. He has home run speed, make no mistake, but this is not a “speed back.” He is a complete player who’s also very fast.

Loving, and even preferring Najee Harris or Javonte Williams is no excuse to denigrate Travis Etienne. Adding him to the roster will solve a lot of problems.

ROUND 2, PICK #55 – EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas

This is my favorite pick of the draft, and the one I feel the Steelers are most guaranteed to make if the player is there. Why? Consider:

  • Colbert & Co. love their pass rushers, but the team has only two it can rely on. Ossai fills that hole. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. love pure athletes on his defense. They do not come any more SPARQy. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. love high-effort, hair-on-fire motors. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. love guys with a hard-working, team-oriented work ethic. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. love guys who love the game of football. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. love guys who are eager to play special teams if it will earn them extra snaps. Check.
  • Colbert & Co. are willing to tolerate raw technique if the rest of the clay fits those descriptions above. Check.

Joseph Ossai fits the Steelers’ prototype so well that seeing his name at #24 overall wouldn’t surprise me if news came out that T.J. Watt was leaving football to join a wine growing cult in the south of France. He would be an epic steal at #55.

So how can I do anything but laugh in scorn at seeing him fall into the back half of Round 2? It’s because Joseph Ossai may fit the Pittsburgh Steelers to perfection, but that won’t be true for a lot of other teams. He doesn’t have the size to be a 4-3 DE, and he isn’t even close to “pro ready.” Calling him raw is an insult to sushi. Ossai won in college by out-athleting the competition, and by putting in so much nonstop effort that he eventually found a crack. Tackles who know what they were doing all but erased him from the tape outside of those effort plays. Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins dominated Ossai all game long to the point that it got a little ugly – until Ossai flashed on a final, game-winning sack where he buzzed past Jenkins on a pure speed rush from a Wide-9 angle. Put the chips on the line and he has that kind of ace in the hole.

Bottom line: NFL offensive linemen will neutralize this kid without much effort until he learns the professional pass rush game. There won’t be a lot of rookie production, and that could drop him down in a class that has a big cluster of fringe-first-round talent that includes other miracle athletes like Penn State’s Jayson Oweh. So Ossai at #55 would be a dream come true, but it’s more than just a fantasy.

The choice was extra-tough because Creed Humphrey was on the board, too. He is my #1 center of the draft (Dickerson being hurt), he set records as the most athletic center ever measured, and I believe that center is the team’s single biggest need. I went with Ossai regardless. The talent is that special.

Here is the Big Board writeup:

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, 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 his 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 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.

Digression: Steeler draftniks have focused on the appeal of a high quality Buck ILB starter who could work with Devin Bush to create a dominating midfield team. I like that idea, and pat myself on the back every so often for being one of the early adopters, but Colbert & Tomlin have not been as interested in ILB’s over the years. They prefer — clearly — to invest hard and heavily into pass rushing OLB’s instead. Thus, it makes sense to believe they would favor a bargain edge rusher in Round 2 over a bargain at any other defensive position, despite the known question marks at ILB and corner.

The wild card is that glaring hole that’s begging for a starting center, where Round 2 is the obvious sweet spot. Going offense in Round 1 tipped the scale toward defense in Round 2 for this mock. But that leads directly to…

ROUND 3, PICK #87 – OC Josh Myers, Ohio St.

Quinn Meinerz was on the board, too, and I have to admit that he sits a little higher on my personal cheat sheet than Myers. So were a slew of desirable CB’s including Paulson Adebo, Shaun Wade, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Tyson Campbell, and a few good slot players; also there were ILB’s Baron Browning and Dylan Moses. I would be happy to see any of those prospects wearing the black & gold, and I believe that most or all of them also have a higher Big Board grade than Myers. So why did I pick the 3:01 player instead of a 2:12 or 2:24?

Need. Pure and simple. That is why I so desperately want the team to sign a superior free agent.

I have Quinn Meinerz graded a little higher than Myers because I believe he is likely to be a better player from Year 3 or 4 on. And, to be honest, because I love the story of the self-created center from the miniature school. When in doubt, root for the story. But Kevin Colbert does not share my sense of romance, and for the first time I can remember he is entering the draft with a genuine hole at a key position. The Steelers will need their rookie center to start sooner rather than later. Myers can do that. Meinerz probably cannot. So yes, this is a “reach” that violates my BPA philosophy. That is the price you pay for leaving a hole in the lineup.

Ouch. Waaah. Whine. Grump.

That said, I don’t have Myers very far behind any of those other prospects because he’s so fundamentally solid. Picking a 3:01 player at 3:23 is still a very good value. He has no real holes, and even the likes of Gil Brandt project him as a likely starter for the next decade or so. I cannot see Josh Myers filling the enormous shoes of Webster, Dawson, or Pouncey, but there is no one in the class I’d prefer as a rookie starter now that Humphrey and Landon Dickerson are off the board. Nor, really, anyone I would trust to start in Year 1.

Solid, safe, and reliable. A long single into the gap, that may be stretched to a double since I’ve seen him projected in Round 2 for a lot of recent mocks. Here is the Big Board writeup:

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 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 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.”

If both Myers and Meinerz were gone, I would have been happy to select one of those corners or ILB’s. Offense may be the bigger need, and the distribution of talent is going to skew toward that side of the ball in Round 1, but I foresee a heavy emphasis on defenders in both the second and third.

ROUND 4a, PICK #128 – OT Stone Forsythe, Florida

Oh, the pain of a 40-pick gap. Every one of those corners and ILB’s that I lusted for got snatched off the board in half that time. But the draft offers depth in the form of slightly lesser players well into Round 4. Things are emptying out rapidly, but I have several names that I think could be bargains:

  • OT Adrian Ealy
  • WR Dez Fitzpatrick
  • OT Stone Forsythe
  • OT Walker Little
  • CB Israel Mukuamu
  • WR Dazz Newsome
  • CB Robert Rochell
  • WR Anthony Schwartz
  • WR Seth Williams
  • DB Trill Williams

There are several defensive linemen I would consider as well, but that is way down on my list of priorities this year.

By the way, this is a case where I think the TDN board has things a little bass-ackwards. The prospects I expect to fall are OT Spencer Brown, because coming from tiny Northern Iowa is going to matter a lot in this Year of COVID, and OT Jackson Carman, because of the large chance he’ll be forced to move inside to guard. But this is the board and so I’m going to play it – with one exception: Walker Little. He would definitely be my pick from that list, but there are other reasons to go in a different direction. First, I think the TDN board will be updated to put him out of reach once the Stanford Pro Day results get fully incorporated. Second, Pittsburgh did not have a heavy presence at that Pro Day to the best of our knowledge. Third, Gil Brandt had Little as his #73 player, his hunches tend to be pretty reliable, and that supports the idea that this prospect will get selected well before pick #124.  And fourth, because we’ve discussed Walker Little in more detail on these pages.

I do not think we’ve discussed Stone Forsythe enough, and I’ll be damned if I ignore OT depth in favor of yet another [bleepety bleep bleep!] Day 2 pick at WR. Here is the Big Board writeup:

OT Stone Forsythe, Florida. (RS Senior). 6’8”, 307 lbs. with proportionately long 34⅜” arms and 10” hands. The 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 OTs in general, with particularly good movement skills for a man his size.

Forsythe isn’t the people-mover that most of Steeler Nation would prefer. He’s closer to the Villanueva/Okorafor prototype than he is to Zach Banner. But it’s Round-Bloody-4, and he will provide both depth and genuine competition moving forward.

ROUND 4b, PICK #140 – CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan

You young whippersnappers out there (who may now refer to me as an old fogie, since fair is fair), may not remember the ulcers and trauma that followed the departure of Ike Taylor. The Steelers went for years without anything close to acceptable play on the outside, and it cost us winnable games. Often.

I have no sympathy for the oft-repeated whine about Colbert and the F.O. having a Persian flaw when it comes to picking defensive backs. “They suck so bad that they shouldn’t even try! Har, har, har.” Oh yeah? Why don’t you try? I certainly have, and over the years my personal hit rate on corners isn’t any better than the pros. There are tons of corner prospects that I simply adored, who flamed out (or never flamed on) when they hit the NFL. Corners are like QBs; they’re hard to pick even in Round 1, and once you get outside of Round 1 the odds start to plummet. But it’s not like there’s any choice in the matter! We can’t har, har, har our way out of the need to stock that pipeline along with all the others. And we cannot deny that the Steelers’ free agency losses include not one, but two of last year’s starters.

Justin Layne was a decent bet back in 2019, even if he hasn’t panned out yet. Hopes have dimmed, but they’re still there. And I’m as excited by James Pierre as anyone. We could use some lightning-flash luck at the position for once! But those young players are still longshots, and even my guy Cam Sutton hasn’t been tested to the level he will be from this year forward. Pittsburgh must fill the CB pipeline with at least one likely prospect from this year’s class, and all my favorites went off the board in that great purge before and after I went with Josh Myers instead.

But there is a little cluster hereabouts that wouldn’t make me sad to see in the black and gold. My last mock featured Kary Vincent, e.g., and I like him just as much now as I did back then. He is available once again but I want to avoid picking the same player. Then there’s Camryn Bynum, a very appealing just-show-me-the-film-Ma’am prospect who deserves more recognition than he’s been getting. But Alex Kozora highlighted him in an earlier draft, and he is a so-so athlete despite what you see on film. Then there’s Robert Rochell, who presents the opposite problem: Great athlete, but film that makes me wrinkle up a bit. I worry about small school players who only dominate on the plays that matter most. If you don’t beat pound on the chumps in between those big moments, what will you do against actual stars? So I’m going to go with the player who just got profiled on the site last weekend.

Here is the updated Big Board entry, which shows that Thomas is one of those “everyone’s favorite sleeper” prospects, and thus a bit of a steal for a Round 4 compensatory pick:

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, 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 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 in my honest opinion. 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.

DIGRESSION #2: I think we need to have a discussion about what the Steelers want and need at corner because it may be in flux. Regular readers have seen the fogies and film watcher contingents spend a lot of air time writing off the “Seattle-type corner”, and how they do not fit the Steelers system because we require a more varied and multipurpose skill set. I’m not so sure that continues to be true.

The nub of the matter is that Pete Carroll created the Legion Of Boom defense by devising a way to get new levels of production out of long, tall, corners with COD (change of direction) issues. That prototype has always been vulnerable to quick-cutting WR’s on routes such as slants and crossers. 1970’s defenses eliminated those by having ILB’s and box safeties who would behead any foolish lightweight that tried to dart over the middle. Rules to prevent that excessive violence helped to spawn the West Coast offense, and now such routes are a staple for almost every team. That led to smaller corners, who could then get beat over the top; which led to more zone defenses being installed by masters such as Dick LeBeau; which led to offensive adjustments of a new kind; etc.

It all gets very complicated, but Carroll’s innovation – which still works – relies on a good pass rush, a superior box safety, and a world class talent at free safety. He proved that high quality players at those traditionally discounted positions could effectively cover for long, tall, fast corners with iffy COD; and that such specialized CB’s would cause a spiraling benefit, by pushing the offense to challenge the middle of the field where Seattle had its best athletes. It is a predictable defense, which is anathema to LeBeau and his philosophical heirs like Keith Butler, but one that is hard to beat when the right players combine to do their jobs well.

Who has the best pass rush in the league? Pittsburgh. Where does Terrell Edmunds excel? Playing the multipurpose box safety role. Who do we have at free safety? None other than Minkah Fitzpatrick. And who has a couple of long, fast corners on the roster that are working to overcome their COD limitations? You guessed it. This team has the ability to play a defense that will hide the shortcomings of Justin Layne, and the paper shortcomings of James Pierre.

I’m calling my shot. If the Steelers do not get a corner in the first three rounds, or pick another in this mold, we’re going to see Keith Butler using a lot more Cover 3 in 2021 than we’ve seen in the past. It may even become a main theme of the defense if Joe Haden or Cam Sutton gets hurt. Yes, the predictability will rub Coach Butts raw, and it would also go against Mike Tomlin’s deep attachment to the Tampa-2 scheme. But when you’ve got red paint, you paint the barn red, and the Steelers have got the ingredients to thrive on a Cover-3 system.

ROUND 6, PICK #216 – WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford

For whatever reason the TDN board seems to have a lot of decent WR talent falling to this point. Fehoko, Cornell Powell, and Tamorrion Terry are all there to be picked, and they all have a genuine chance to succeed in the NFL. That’s more than most Round 6 picks can boast. I believe Fehoko has the highest upside of the three, so that is who I am picking. Fehoko has the natural talent to be a genuine WR1. Will he get there? The Steelers had luck with one Round 6 player of this kind. Maybe lightning will strike all over again, this time for someone with team captain character.

Why a WR? It is because I do not believe that Kevin Colbert has the constitutional ability to go through a full draft without adding to the WR room. I respect the man, so I am going to follow his lead. And I may as well do so with a Stanford-smart, super-athletic talent who may be falling due to injuries and COVID issues beyond his control. Being a team captain helps too.

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 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.

ROUND 7a, PICK #245 – TE Luke Farrell, Ohio State

Yes, I’ve picked him before. Yes, I’m going to pick him again. The fit is too good and I want a blocking TE too much. Live with it. You can also substitute TE Shaun Beyer, who is yet another surprisingly good Iowa TE with the established ability to block. His pro day numbers put him in the Top 25% as a pure TE athlete with particularly good agility. Farrell measured as a Top 15% athlete who was good across the board. I’m happy with either one.

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. On the other hand, 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.”

ROUND 7b, PICK #254 – TAKE YOUR PICK BETWEEN (i) Edge/ILB Chris Rumph II from Duke OR ELSE (ii) QB Feleipe Franks, from Arkansas by way of Florida

Would you believe I actually spent real time agonizing over this final choice? Addictions can be ugly. So let’s change things up and ask you to decide for me. Here are the sales pitches for each young man:

Chris Rumph II is a badly undersized pass rusher known for his football IQ and high end technique. It’s been said that “He plays like a tenth-degree black belt with his hands”, and it only takes a little bit of a squint to see  Lance Zierlein’s scouting profile endorses a Round 2-3 grade. That said, I (and apparently the TDN crowd) believe Rumph’s size issues are too severe for him to succeed in the NFL even as a designated pass rush specialist — and especially in a scheme like Pittsburgh’s that does not use those specialists. Our OLB’s must be solid against the run or they do not see the field.

Looking back, Chris Rumph’s scouting reports remind me a lot of what we saw with Haason Reddick a few years ago, with Reddick’s A+ athleticism reduced to only a B on the NFL grading scale. Everyone projected Reddick’s best fit as a superbly athletic ILB with absurd blitzing ability, but in the end, that did not work. The transition was just too hard for him to manage. Reddick has managed to carve out a specialist’s role; though not at a level that will ever make Cardinals fans happy about the Round 1 cost. His value has been more along the lines of an early 3rd.

Chris Rumph has the same physical profile. He’s built like an ideal Buck ILB rather than a pass rusher. I would pick him on the same theory used to pick Reddick: that he could be converted into a version of Vince Williams with adequate coverage skills and A++ blitzing ability. That’s a big transition, as we’ve seen, but he’s supposed to be an exceptionally smart young man with a coach’s-son football IQ. If anyone could make the move, it’s someone like that, and if he succeeds the Steelers would be riding high on the bargain for years. But make no mistake about his odds being anything less than long.

QB Feleipe Franks is the forgotten man, and for the life of me I just cannot figure out why. He stands at 6’7”, 234 lbs. and has absolutely elite physical traits across the board. Elite arm talent for strength, touch, and accuracy alike, 4.55 running speed he can actually use to turn broken plays into first downs; and even good statistics like his almost-70% completion rate in 2021. He’s even a multiyear starter against top competition, and has shown continued growth across that period. His curve began with a promising but very raw start at Florida, went up significantly in his second year there, and then seemed poised to shoot up a third time when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Feleipe Franks? Meet Lou Gehrig. Franks’ backup was a kid named Kyle Trask, who put up astonishing numbers in 2019 and then almost won the Heisman in 2020. College results straight out of a video game [shaking my head].

Franks had graduated in 2019, so he transferred to Arkansas for his RS Senior year in 2020. He arrived to moderate fanfare, but became an immediate team leader, earned a captain’s spot, and then played very well against SEC competition — ultimately ending with that aforementioned 68.5% completion rate. Growth curve up, yet again. So why do all these simulators have him down with a fringe-draftable grade?

I did some research and learned that his issues all come down to processing speed. Every film watcher I’ve spoken with, and every scouting report I’ve read, agrees that Franks has two bad habits. First, he tends to stare down his receivers, which clues in the safeties, and turns some pretty nice throws into shockers that simply shouldn’t be made because he’d only accounted for the corner. And second, he waits too long at times, which lets the pass rush close in and leads to some poor and distorted throws from the collapsing pocket. Those are real problems, and they will be fatal in the NFL. But here’s the thing: they both come from failing to read the field fast enough! That means there’s a silver bullet cure if he simply continues the curve and speeds up his processing time.

Paxton Lynch had an almost identical profile when he got picked in Round 1 just five years ago. How does Franks get saddled with Round 7, especially when he’s never shown the kind of work ethic problems that crippled Lynch’s ability to grow? It makes no sense! I am probably missing something. Lord knows, I do that with depressing regularity. So look at it like this. We all liked the Dwayne Haskins signing because it was a low-risk, high-reward bet on someone who has the native talent to be a franchise QB. This is the end of Round 7. Feleipe Franks is a low-risk, high-reward bet with talent that might be even better.

Let me know your answer in the comments. Should Pittsburgh spend its Mr. Irrelevant pick on a high-potential utility tool who’d have to succeed at a transition where many others have failed? Or on a high-potential QB with odds that are just as long, no special teams ability as his floor, but the elusive god ring of “Franchise Quarterback” if things work out? Just don’t say it’s an “easy call,” because it isn’t. Idle, yes. Fruitless, yes. A waste of time that would be better spent on one of my wife’s Honey-Do projects? Unquestionably. But not easy.

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