Sometimes when mock drafts drop, you just have to scratch your head and wonder what the heck was the thinking behind some of the decisions made in the mock draft itself.
That was the case with the latest four-round mock draft from the Bleacher Report scouting staff, which had some absolutely puzzling decisions for the Pittsburgh Steelers overall.
Right away, Bleacher Report’s scouting staff got off to a rough start as the four-round mock has the Steelers selecting Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning at No. 20 overall, passing on the likes of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett – who falls to the second round — after Liberty’s Malik Willis (No. 2 overall, Lions) and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder (No. 9, Seahawks) come off the board.
Of course, the Steelers’ brass of GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t attend Northern Iowa’s Pro Day, so you call all but officially rule Penning out as a first-round option. It’s not fair to expect national media like Bleacher Report’s scouting department to know that, but it’s an important note for future mock drafts overall.
A Week at the Senior Bowl with Trevor Penning pic.twitter.com/rGsjEUskR3
— Cory (@realcorykinnan) February 4, 2022
In regards to Penning though, B/R’s Brandon Thorn believe he’d be a great fit for the Steelers and the city overall.
“Penning’s nasty demeanor and competitive toughness fit the gritty, blue-collar city of Pittsburgh to a tee while providing an upgrade at a critical position,” Thorn writes. “The Steelers could put Penning at either tackle spot and it would be an improvement.
“Not only would Penning be a tone-setting presence, but his ideal size (6’7″, 325 lbs), above-average play-speed and football character bode well for him to make the necessary progress to his unrefined technique. Penning was able to get by playing with adequate leverage and hand usage at Northern Iowa. For him to reach his considerable ceiling as a high-end starter, he will need to clean that area of his game up. The Steelers can afford to give him the runway to do that while bringing a much-needed talent to a mediocre offensive line room.”
Derion Kendrick PICK pic.twitter.com/J2yBtIykCL
— Barstool UGA National Champions🏆 (@ugabarstool) September 19, 2021
Following the selection of Penning at No. 20 overall, things get much weirder for the Steelers in the mock overall, as the B/R scouting department has the Steelers selecting Georgia cornerback Derion Kendrick at No. 52 overall. While the Steelers were heavily in attendance for Georgia’s Pro Day in early March, Kendrick had a disastrous showing after a rough combine overall.
Definitely trending in the wrong direction.
Only two pro bowl cornerbacks ever had a #RAS less than 2.00, Brent Grimes and Malcolm Butler.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 20, 2022
It’s hard to believe the Steelers would have any true interest in a cornerback with those athletic numbers overall. Here’s what B/R’s scouting staff had to say about Kendrick the prospect, comparing him to Stephon Gilmore overall.
“Kendrick is a versatile cornerback who is able to make plays in both zone and man coverage. In man, he plays with great leverage and positioning. He’s able to quickly and fluidly get in and out of breaks,” Bleacher Report writes. “Kendrick struggles with receivers who immediately threaten him with speed, causing him to panic and play outside of his skill set. Though his leverage helps his play, there are times where receivers easily run right past him. In zone coverage, he plays with good vision and anticipation, but he can get overwhelmed with multiple threats at times.”
All Kendrick did in college though was make plays and look much, much better overall than the testing numbers he recorded at the Combine and his Pro Day. That’s a big gamble to take though, especially in the second round.