ESPN’s Todd McShay Pairs Steelers With New Name In Latest Mock Draft

Coming out of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, plenty of names are going to rise or fall, at least in the media’s eyes, over the next few weeks after their performances on the field inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

A lot of it is an overreaction, as that is not the way the men and women inside the NFL who make decisions for teams operate, but it is certainly fun to speculate.

For ESPN’s Todd McShay, that’s largely what he did on Tuesday in his latest mock draft, adding some new names to his first round after strong performances in Indianapolis.

One such name he added to the first round happened to be his selection for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 17 overall. That player?

Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes.

“Forbes is flying up my board just like he flew in the 40-yard dash on Friday night, posting a 4.35. He has great ball production, picking off 14 passes and breaking up 18 more over three seasons,” McShay writes regarding Forbes. “That fits with the Steelers, who led the league with 20 interceptions last season but could lose Cameron Sutton to free agency. Forbes also measured in at 6-1 and 166 pounds at the combine. Yes, 166 pounds. That might scare some teams off in Round 1, but they shouldn’t discount the high-level instincts and body control that we see on tape.”

Forbes certainly had an interesting week in Indianapolis at the Combine.

As McShay writes, Forbes checked in at 166 pounds, which is incredibly light for any player aiming to enter the NFL. Outside of his lightweight, Forbes came in at 6006 with 32 1/4-inch arms, which is pretty solid overall for his size. He also had a 79-inch wingspan, but has rather small hands at just 8 1/2 inches.

In testing, Forbes did clock that 4.35 40 that McShay pointed out, which was one of the fastest times for any cornerback in the Combine, and also added a 37.5-inch vertical, a 10’4″ broad jump and a 1.48 10-yard split. He did not participate in the 3-cone, short shuttle or bench press in Indy.

Forbes was a highly productive corner at Mississippi State for three years as he recorded 14 career interceptions, returning six for touchdowns, 142 total tackles, and 34 pass breakups. Forbes also had an incredible senior season, with included 39 tackles, 14 pass breakups, six interceptions, including three pick-sixes, and a blocked kick.

While the production was certainly there in college, the size concerns — at least from a weight perspective — are real with Forbes.

That didn’t seem to faze him at the Combine, but it is something teams are certainly going to question.

Tape is the be all, end all though, and Forbes’ tape is pretty darn solid. The 17th overall pick though might be a bit rich for the former Mississippi State standout.

Here’s what Steelers Depot’s own Chandler Stroud had to say about Forbes in his draft profile for the site:

“All in all, he’s a very productive player that’s going to make a lot of plays at the professional level. With an NCAA record of six interceptions returned for a touchdown, not only does he gather interceptions, but once he gets the ball, he has a nose for the end zone. I continue to think that he can improve all in all when it comes to man-to-man, but in zone, he has potentially elite traits. Great technique, bend, reaction time, and awareness to react to the throw of the football. He’s an above-average tackler for a corner and I tend to think that will continue to improve as his game grows. He can chase guys vertically running down the field, he jumps into those intermediate-level zones, and he jumps in front of the quick game slants, bubbles, drags, curls, etc. He’s a well-seasoned defensive back and Pittsburgh has a pretty significant need for the corner position.”

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