Steelers Host Four For Pre-Draft Visits

In addition to TCU OL Steve Avila, the Pittsburgh Steelers are also hosting South Carolina CB Darius Rush, Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez and Georgia Tech DE Keion White for a visit today, according to Dale Lolley of

Outside of Gonzalez, who isn’t likely to be around when the Steelers select at No. 17 overall, all the visitors project more as Day 2 selections than first-round picks. While White, who began his career at Old Dominion before transferring to Georgia Tech, has gotten some first-round buzz, taking him at No. 17 would likely be a reach. He could be fit for the Steelers at No. 32 or if he slips, No. 49 overall.

White was given a mid-Day One/Early Day Two grade by Michael Rochman in his draft profile.

“Keion White is a common Jekyl & Hyde prospect that has plenty of reasons to buy-in and opt-out for his success at the next level. Overall, I think there is enough high quality play that given a proper defensive coach, he should be able to reach a higher level of consistency and become a quality contributor in the NFL. While he has an impressive blend for size to athleticism, I do think the overall ceiling may not be as high as touted, so I expect his draft range not to reach that of a Travon Walker like some in draft media have pitched.”

White had 7.5 sacks for the Yellow Jackets and his 6’5, 285-pound frame is intriguing to play on Pittsburgh’s defensive line. He has 11 sacks in his collegiate career to go with 120 total tackles and 33.5 tackles for a loss. Gonzalez is an athletic freak, registering a 9.95 RAS score, who had four interceptions and seven passes defended in his lone year at Oregon after transferring from Colorado. It’s unlikely that Gonzalez falls to No. 17, but if he does I think the Steelers would sprint their card up to the podium to select him.

Rush, who has been somewhat overshadowed by his South Carolina teammate and fellow cornerback Cam Smith during the pre-draft process, quietly put up a very productive season with two interceptions and seven passes defended for the Gamecocks. He could be a really good option for Pittsburgh in either the second or third round.

Jonathan Heitritter talked to Rush at the Senior Bowl, who described what it was like meeting Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

“Honestly, it’s still eye-opening because it’s like I see you on TV and now I’m shaking your hand and you’re standing two inches away from me,” Rush said. “So, it is a little eye-opening and it’s just a great experience.”

It’s good to see the Steelers bringing in players beyond just their first-round targets. The information-gathering part of the process is important not just now but down the line. We’ll see if any of these four end up as Steelers after the draft concludes later this month.

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