The first two days of the 2022 NFL Draft are already in the books. Saturday is the longest day and though it may feel like the most inconsequential, there’s plenty of opportunities to grab draft gems. Here are some names to watch for the Steelers, who hold fourth, sixth, and two seventh round picks.
Chris Oladokun/QB South Dakota State: Taking two quarterbacks would be a bold and unusual move but not unprecedented. Pittsburgh will enter camp with four QBs on their roster and currently only have three. The Steelers showed lots of pre-draft interest in him, including a pre-draft visit. He’s athletic with a decent arm but has had trouble finding a home, playing for two high schools and three colleges (USF, Samford, SDSU).
Hassan Haskins/RB Michigan: Haskins has size, power, and Wolverine pedigree the Steelers covet. Pittsburgh reportedly had a Pro Day dinner with Haskins. For my money, he’s the best pass protecting back in this class, shows lateral quickness, and should be a capable special teamer, too. Fourth round may feel a touch high for him but I don’t know if he’ll last to the sixth.
Pierre Strong/RB South Dakota State: Second Jackrabbit on the list. Rare for Pittsburgh to draft FCS-level runners, it hasn’t happened since the 80s, but Strong is a well-built and explosive runner with great production and ran well against FBS clubs, helping his team upset Colorado State in convincing fashion to open the 2021 season. Pittsburgh had scouts and personnel at his Pro Day.
Leddie Brown/RB West Virginia: Adding one more true running back to the list. Brown has size, production, and plays in the Power 5, all the things the team looks for. Steelers’ assistant coach Blaine Stewart worked Brown out at his Mountaineers’ Pro Day. He also catches the ball well and lacks any semblance of speed so there’s every reason to believe the Steelers want to draft him.
Connor Heyward/H-Back Michigan State: The easiest name to put on this list. Younger brother of Cam Heyward, Connor is a jack-of-all-trades without a defined role in the NFL. But he’s a good athlete for his frame with natural hands and a big catch radius who should excel on special teams. This probably wouldn’t come until one of the team’s seventh round picks, they have two of them, but the Steelers’ love drafting bloodlines.
Rasheed Walker/OT Penn State: Hard to find offensive linemen who fit well on Day Three given the team’s seeming lack of interest. Walker is a big and long tackle who plays with a mean streak. His 2021 season wasn’t quite the year he expected to have and he’s position-limited but he’s a project who could sit for a season.
Jamaree Salyer/OG Georgia: Mostly a left tackle in college, he played some guard and could kick inside there at the next level. Again, Pittsburgh with a presence at his Pro Day and he’d be solid value in the fourth round.
Jeffrey Gunter/EDGE Coastal Carolina: Gunter is a good-sized EDGE rusher who doesn’t come from the Power 5 but put up good production. As a senior, he posted 8.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks. He took the ball away with nine forced fumbles throughout his career. The Steelers’ Dan Rooney Jr. attended his Pro Day so there’s at least some interest there. Pittsburgh could use another EDGE rusher.
Mark Robinson/LB Ole Miss: Simple dot-connecting here. Robinson was brought in for a pre-draft visit. Borderline draftable player but he’s new to the linebacker position after playing RB early in his career both at Presbyterian and briefly at Ole Miss after transferring. Could be a last-round flier. The ILB room may look a lot emptier this time next year.
Baylon Spector/LB Clemson: Throwing out one name we haven’t discussed much. Spector brings some size, good athleticism, and production with nearly 200 career tackles, 21.5 of them for losses. Brian Flores attended his Tigers’ Pro Day and you’d think the team will come out of the draft with at least one Clemson product.
Damarri Mathis/CB Pitt: Undersized but ultra-athletic, he projects as a solid nickel corner in the NFL. A local product the team should know well, too. He picked off a pair of passes for the Panthers in 2021. I could see him be taken as high as the team’s fourth round pick.
Coby Bryant/CB Cincinnati: Another potential fourth round option. Bryant was overshadowed by Top Five pick Sauce Gardner but Bryant’s intercepted six passes the last two years for the Bearcats. He’s not a top-level athlete but plays with good technique and is battle-tested. Teams didn’t often target Gardner.
Josh Jobe & Jayln Armour-Davis/CBs Alabama: Lumping the two together. Couple of Bama corners the team took a look at during the Pro Day with DBs coach Grady Brown attending. Jobe is comfortable in press-man but struggles more in off. Armour-Davis was a one-year factor with three interceptions in 2021.
Joey Blount/S Virginia: Blount is an athletic, downhill safety and leader on that Cavs’ defense. Injuries are the biggest concern here and perhaps the biggest reason why he didn’t draw much pre-draft buzz. But Pittsburgh also brought him in for a visit after a sterling Pro Day workout. Sixth round might be the sweet spot for him.
Scott Nelson/S Wisconsin: Overlooked and underrated safety, Nelson has size and top-end testing, two things the Steelers love. Pittsburgh held a virtual visit with him in the pre-draft process. His production is a little on the lighter side but he’s an option in the 6th/7th round.