One of the NFL’s steadiest franchises over the past four decades always needs some immediate help though the Draft and a few more guys with solid potential pro careers.
The Rooney family is in it’s third generation of leadership and there is no indication that management styles are changing any time soon. Expect a thoughtful, conservative approach next week, and some solid young talent to add to the team’s roster.
Round 1, Pick 28 RONNIE HARRISON SS ALABAMA 6’2/217 I realize they recently signed Morgan Burnett, but in today’s NFL you can never have too many good DB on your roster. And Harrison may be just too good to pass up. Some folks think he can be the next Landon Collins at the pro level. He has the size to also play an in-the-box hybrid position for them. At his size, his Combine 40-time of 4.55 is impressive. He already comes into the League with better ball skills than COLLINS had as a rookie. He’s a hard hitting 2 year starter who had 74 tackles in 2017, along with 4 PBU and 3 INT. Always around the ball, but has positional discipline. Should be a very productive NFL player and a starter early in his career.
Round 2, Pick 60 AUSTIN CORBETT OG NEVADA 6’043/306 A small conference OT, who projects to an eventual starting slot on the interior OL. POUNCEY and FOSTER are both on the wrong side of 30. My guess would be CORBETT backs up all along the OL as a Rookie, but the first man to go down with an injury may have a very hard time getting his job back from Corbett. Could play OT in a pinch but as he showed during Senior Bowl week, he is best inside where average foot quickness is not exposed as often. Similar in many ways to former Nevada OL Joel Bitonio, a starting OG for the Browns. Former walk-on who shows above average athleticism overall. Has long arms (33 1/8″) and nice hand length (10 1/2″). Physical player who just looks the part of a Steelers’ player to me.
Round 3, Pick 92 MIKE WHITE QB WESTERN KENTUCKY 6’045/224 Big Ben has hinted several times in recent years that he is wearing out. And I don’t really believe that any key players in the front office, or on the coaching staff think Landry Jones is really an NFL caliber starting QB. What really impressed a lot of scouts about WHITE was that WKU went through an offensive system change under new coach after JEFF BROHN moved on. to Purdue. But WHITE barely missed a beat throwing for his second 4,000 yard season. His 26TD/8INT ratio was also consistent with his previous season. He had to really carry the load with a very anemic running game at WKU last season. Had an adequate 55 mph throwing velocity at the Combine. His 9 1/2″ hands are more than adequate for a cold-weather city like Pittsburgh. He opened some eyes with a solid week in Mobile, including a very impressive game day performance. He’s no sure thing but gives them a second option to develop along with Joshua Dobbs.
Round 5, Pick 148 AKRUM WADLEY RB IOWA 5’097/194 Despite all the magical talent of Mr. Bell the wear and tear of today’s NFL requires a RB stable from week to week. WADLEY is a bit too small to carry a big work load, but he is multi-dimensional with very good receiving skills. He has excellent foot speed despite that 4.57/40 he ran at the Combine. Once he gets out in the open he is a serious threat to run away from defenders. Excellent acceleration and burst. He has had some fumbling issues as a Hawkeye, maybe due in part to only 8 1/4″ hands. This is a good pick to add some depth and versatility to the RB stable.
Round 5, Pick 165 POONA FORD DT TEXAS 5’11/309 Amazingly several NFL teams have him off their Big Board because of his short stature. But all the guy does is make plays. Was Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Yes he has limitations, but his strength and effort cover up a lot of warts. Blocked 3 kicks in his career despite lack of height. In part that might have something to do with 33 1/2″ arms which seem like a contradiction at his height. He’s limited to playing inside but is strong, explosive and tough to take on because he’s so low to the ground. Was at the Shrine Game and looked solid all week. Also got the call-up to the Senior Bowl the following week. Nice depth addition to a talented, but thin DL group.
Round 7, Pick 220 MARQUIS HAYNES OB/ER OLE MISS 6’024/233 He’s not a great all-around performer, but his best skill is rushing the passer. And in today’s pass-happy NFL that is a highly sought after skill. He might be able to play a bit as a standup 3-4 OLB, but he seems to get lost and tangled up trying to run backwards in coverage. His 10″ hands and 33 1/4″ arms are nice tools in his pass-rush arsenal. He had 7.5 sacks and 5 QBH last season for the land-sharks. As long as he can carve out a niche on Special Teams cover units, that and his edge-rush skills should keep him around the League for a while.
Round 7, Pick 246 WILL CLAPP OC LSU 6’044/311 I don’t like CLAPP as much as some personnel people, so if he is available this late it’s a solid value grab. He’s a solid player with good size and decent strength. He can move a bit in a small area. Has played OG and OC at LSU, which makes him another versatile back-up candidate. He’s a 3-year starter. His 5.43/40-time is far from impressive, but he does have some explosion off the snap. Has some potential value for a 7th rounder.
Can’t fix everything with one Draft, but I like the versatility and productivity of this group. They seem like Steelers guys to me.