If you love mock drafts, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has a seven-round edition for you to sink your teeth into. If you hate mock drafts, well, you know what you were clicking on.
And in Reuter’s most recent mock of all picks, 1-262, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers making a Round 1 move. Here, he has the team moving up from #20 to #12 in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings to select Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. Explaining the trade and the pick, he writes:
“The Steelers jump ahead of potential quarterback-takers Houston, Philadelphia and New Orleans to lasso Corral. They send the Vikings the 20th overall pick, as well as 2023 first- and fourth-rounders, to move up eight spots, as GM Kevin Colbert sets the team up for future success before he departs. Most evaluate Corral based on the offense he ran at Ole Miss, but he’s not limited to the types of throws he was asked to make in that system. His quick release, mobility and toughness give him a chance to excel in a revamped offense brought to bear by Steelers coordinator Matt Canada in 2022.”
As Reuter notes, Corral played in a fairly restrictive offense under HC Lane Kiffin but excelled in it. Despite playing through two injured ankles last year, he still posted a 20 touchdown season and cut down on his mistakes, throwing only five interceptions. His numbers prior to the injury look even more impressive, tossing 15 touchdowns to just one pick. Trading up for Corral would also make one lead singer very happy.
With Pittsburgh only trading 2023 capital, they retained the rest of their 2022 selections. At #52, Reuter has the team nabbing Auburn CB Roger McCreary. Undersized with poor length, McCreary was still one of the SEC’s best man-cover corners the past two seasons, and plays bigger than his size would indicate. He is a classic case study of testing versus the tape.
At #84 in Round 3, the Steelers grab Clemson WR Justyn Ross. He burst on to scene as a freshman and sophomore before a rare spinal injury required surgery and knocked him out of the entire 2020 season. He returned in 2021 with less production, though he didn’t have Trevor Lawrence throwing to him anymore either. Pittsburgh personally worked him out at his Pro Day, and as we recently wrote, the Steelers’ team neurosurgeon is the doctor who performed Ross’ surgery. So if there’s a team comfortable with him medically, it’s Pittsburgh.
Round 4 has Pittsburgh going back to the Auburn secondary with safety Smoke Monday. Easily carrying one of the best names in the draft (birth name Quindarious, if you’re wondering), he ran a 4.52 40 at 6016, 207 pounds at this year’s Combine. Our Tom Mead praised Monday for his physicality in the run game but dinged him for a lack of range and stiffness, giving him a late Day 3 grade.
Round 6 offers a familiar name in Michigan State H-Back Connor Heyward. The younger brother of Cam Heyward, Connor is a jack of all trades who transitioned from running back to tight end/fullback his final year with the Spartans. He’s a fluid catcher and able to make grabs outside his frame while also showing adequate speed in the open field. But he lacks size, length, and a true role, and will have to thrive on special teams.
Finally, with the team’s pair of seventh-round picks, Reuter mocks them Southern Utah OT Braxton Jones and Boston College center Alec Lindstrom. A couple of linemen to round things out. Jones is a big, long tackle at 6’5″, 310 with 35 3/8-inch vines for arms. He is lankier and coming from the FCS level, so he’ll likely need time to get into a NFL weight room and fill out his frame. Lindstrom is more day one ready, and one of four draftable Boston College big uglies, joining Zion Johnson, Tyler Vrabel, and Ben Petrula. A two-year center at guard, he missed our “what they look for” study by just one pound.
In all, Reuter’s mock comes down to how you feel about a guy like Corral. But overall, he didn’t do a bad job and certainly much better than the hodge-podge of picks thrown together by CBS yesterday. Here’s a recap of Reuter’s selections.
Round 1 – Matt Corral/QB Ole Miss (trade)
Round 2 – Roger McCreary/CB Auburn
Round 3 – Justyn Ross/WR Clemson
Round 4 – Smoke Monday/S Auburn
Round 6 – Connor Heyward/H-Back Michigan State
Round 7 – Braxton Jones/OT Southern Utah
Round 7 – Alec Lindstrom/C Boston College