Armchair GM

2019 Steelers 7 Round Mock Draft 2.0 – Dare to Dream Edition

February 8, 2019
18 minutes read
2019 Steelers 7 Round Mock Draft 2.0 – Dare to Dream Edition

In the Dare to Dream edition we’re imagining the Steelers will make some roster moves and will get good value out of them. First is Antonio Brown garnering a 1st Rd pick. The second is the Steelers transition tagging Le’Veon Bell so they can leverage a 2019 3rd Round pick out of the deal. Finally, I have the Steelers trading Marcus Gilbert to free up cap space and get a 6th Round pick in exchange. Those picks are coded ‘AB’, LvB’ and ‘MG’, below.

After the Combine there’ll be another mock coming out that’s more down to earth but for now, let’s Dare to Dream. (Cue the cheezy ‘Dare to Dream’ music)

Rd. 1 – Inside LinebackerDevin White – LSU – 6’-0” – 235# – 40/4.56 – Jon Bostic has done a very good job with the Steelers but the team needs a game changer in the middle. Devin White is a tackling machine with great sideline to sideline speed. Extremely busy on the field. Good at diagnosing plays and moving toward the action. Can bring it on inside blitzes. Great timing to shoot the gap on run plays. White has the ability to play both Sam or WILL.

Clear leader and play caller for the front seven. Good in pass coverage and is an every down Linebacker. Looks to strip the ball when making tackles. Understands the ILBs contain responsibilities and knows when he has to stay at home to stop the run. A little undersized but is still stout at the point of attack. Knows how to get off blocks. 133 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception and 3 pass deflections in 2017. 115 tackles with 12.0 run stuffs, 3.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries and 5 pass deflections in 2018.

Rd 1 (AB) – Cornerback – Trayvon Mullen – Clemson – 6’-2” – 190# – 4.48/40 – The Steelers need a dependable starter opposite of Joe Haden and it looks like they’ve given up on Artie Burns. The Cornerback free agent market is thin in 2019.

Mullen is a very good man cover corner. He doesn’t back down from getting right on top of a wide receiver and can stay with them deep down the field, usually being in a position to challenge the pass. Has very good ability to track the ball without losing the receiver. Good vision and diagnosis of screens and RPOs. Not a crazy risk taker or ball hawk type. Plays a very even and dependable game. His interviews show a mature player who trusts his coaches and will work the game plan. Almost always draws the opposition’s best receiver. When he doesn’t cover the best, he covers the biggest and/or most problematic match up.

Tall and a little thin but has the frame to carry a little more weight without losing speed. Not a thumper, more of a sure, wrap up tackler. Could be a very good option for bigger NFL receivers. Mullen doesn’t look like he’ll have a big learning curve adjusting to the NFL. Has the game to be a first year starter. Had 40 tackles, 3 ints and 3 passes broken up in 2017. QBs were throwing away from him in 2018 where he had 25 tackles, 3.0 for a loss, 1.0 sack and 3 pass deflections.

Rd 2 – WR/KR – Parris Campbell – Ohio State – 6’-0” – 205# – 4.39/40 –

Parris Campbell has very good speed. His hands seem solid. He’s mostly untested in combat catches because he consistently gets good separation. Runs good not great routes. Needs very little room to break off a big run after the catch. Can find the soft spot in coverage. Willing blocker who engages his assignment enough to take them out of the play.

Campbell has also been a standout on kick returns, averaging a very impressive 30.4 yards per on his career In his Junior year he had 40 receptions for 584 yards at 14.6 ypr and 3 TDS. Campbell had a break out season his Senior year, posting  90 catches for 1063 yards at a 11.8 yard average with 12 TDs. Also used in the running game on end arounds and jet sweeps. He had 23 runs for 210 yards at a 9.1 yard average and 2 TDs for his career.

Rd 3Edge/OLB – Chase Winovich – Michigan – 6’-3” – 255# – 4.75/40 – Very high motor edge defender. Winovich played with his hand in the dirt for the Wolverines but he is better fit at Outside Linebacker in the NFL. Comfortable playing both sides of the field but is more natural for the weak-side. Bud Dupree has raised his game to point where he is an average OLB but average doesn’t cut it. Winovich could push him and may be able push him all the way out of the starting lineup.

Disruptive at the line of scrimmage. Never gives up on a play. Shows good drive power. Doesn’t have a lot of pass rush moves at this point. Tends to rely on speed and athleticism, which will be harder to do at the next level. Untested in pass coverage but is a former TE. He should be able to handle Running Backs and Tight Ends. Should see the field right away as a pass rush specialist. With some work on his coverage skills, he could develop into a starter. In 2017 Winovich had 73 tackles, 19.0 for a  loss, 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He had 52 tackles for 13.0 for loss with 4.0 sacks, 1 pass deflection and 1 fumble recovery in 2018.

 Rd. 3 (LvB) Edge Rusher/ Defensive EndJoe Jackson – Miami – 6′-5″ – 250# – 4.65/40 – L.T. Walton will almost certainly be gone in free agency. Tyson Alualu has been a capable sub but the D-Line needs augmenting. This pick also mitigates Bud Dupree’s improving but still lacking sack game and Stephon Tuitt’s injury woes.

Jackson had a better 2017 than 18 and so he has dropped down on most rankings. Still his 2018 wasn’t bad and he could be a steal. Tall edge rusher with good combination of speed and power. Flashes disruptive hands and a spin move but still needs work on technique. Will need some time to develop but has great athleticism. Should see playing time in his first year as a sub and situational pass rusher. Can set an edge against the run and stack and shed blockers. Speed and feistiness makes him difficult to block one on one. Disruptive player who usually impacts plays even if he doesn’t make the tackle or sack. Has speed to get around the outside of a single OT.

59 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks,  2 pass deflections and 1 forced in 2017.  While Jackson’s tackle output dropped in 2018 to 47, his tackles for loss with 14 and sacks 9 improved. Jackson also added one interception, 4  passes deflections and a forced fumble.

Rd 4 – Running Back – Darrell Henderson – Memphis – 5’-9” – 200# – 4.43/40 –Change of pace back and offensive weapon. Henderson is undersized which will make him drop in the Draft. For his size, though, he is very stout. A blazing fast runner who needs very little daylight to make something happen. He’s patient and allows plays to develop. Good contact balance and not taken down easily with arm tackles. There’s not much film on him blocking but when called upon his build and low center of gravity gave him decent pop. A good receiver who lined up sometimes in the slot. Catches the ball well on the run. Also caught passes out of the backfield where he made things happen on swings and outlets.

Deceptively shifty. Seems to know just how much of a feint he needs to get some  space and when he gets it, he’s gone. There’s lots of plays showing Henderson running for great stretches and very few of them showing him getting chased down from behind. Could be the perfect foil to the hard running James Conner and the Christian McCaffrey-like (we hope) Jaylen Samuels. Henderson ran 130 times for 1154 yards at a 8.9 yard per carry average and 9 touchdowns in 2017. He added 24 catches for 226 yards at 9.4 ypc and 2 TDs. In 2018 he had 214 carries for 1909 yards at 8.9 yard average and 22 TDs. With all the running he was doing there was a dip in his receiving with 19 receptions for 295 at a very good 15.5 yard average and 3 TDs.

Rd 5 – Traded to the Raiders for Ryan Switzer

Rd 6 – (from Raiders) – Tight End – Jace Sternberger – Texas A&M – 6’4″ – 250# – 4.65/40 – Thanks to the Raiders, the Steelers will be at the front of the 6th Rd. Xavier Grimble is a waste of a roster spot and Jesse James is a free agent. I don’t know about you but I’m not sold on Vance McDonald as the full time starter.  With Antonio Brown gone Ben needs more offensive weapons. Sternberger is a fluid receiver who runs very good routes. He’s got good hands and the speed to rip it up the seam. Very good concentration on combat catches.

Sternberger is also a good blocker. Not dominating but he has good pop and accelerates into his blocks. Zeros in on his assignment and will stay with them, taking them out of the play. Very good at blocking on the run. Can get a chip and then go on to block at the next level. Good in pass protection with a good kick slide and solid base. Capable of playing wing or inline.

Sternberger spent his early college career transferring out of Kansas and then going to a juco for a season before signing on with Texas A&M to work for Jimbo Fisher. In 2018 he had 48 tackles for 832 yards at a 17.3 yard average and 10 touchdowns.

Rd 6 – (MG) – Free Safey – Delvon Randall – Temple – 6’-1” – 215# – 4.56/40 – Delvon Randall was a very productive Safety for The Owls. A three year starter, Randall began at Strong Safety. In his Senior year he moved to Free Safety and became the QB of the secondary. A sure tackler, with good range and instincts, he was also counted on to do slot coverage duties. Diagnoses plays quickly and is always moving toward the action. Also a standout on special teams.

In 2017 at Strong Safety, Randall had 80 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, 1.0 sack and 4 interceptions. When he switched to Free Safety in 2018 his stats actually went up. 85 tackles, 2.0 for a loss, 4 interceptions with one pick six, 6 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles.

Rd 6 – Place Kicker – Matt Gay – Utah – 6’-1” – 220# – OR Cole Tracy – LSU – 5-11” – 188# – Whichever is available. Chris Boswell has gone south. You never know why this happens to kickers but once it does they rarely can get it back. The Steelers can’t have a kicker who not only struggles to make extra points but will also choke any time he’s called on to make a game winning kick.

Matt Gay, a former soccer playing walk-on, has been perfect on 83 extra points in his career. He’s 54 for 63 on field goals for 85.7% with 7 field goals over 50 yards. Most mockers favor Tracy over Gay but I get a Sebastian Janikowski vibe from this guy. He’s a big guy with a big leg. 2017 Lou Groza award winner.

Cole Tracy was perfect on 38 extra points and was 25 of 29 on field goal attempts for an 86.2% average in 2018 for LSU. His longest kick was 54 yards. In 2017, in Division II, at Assumption college, Tracy connected on 27-of-29 field goals and made all 67 of his extra-points.

Rd 7 – (from Tampa) – Wide Receiver – Terry Godwin II – Georgia – 5’-11” – 185# – 4.42/40 – The Steelers needed another receiver even before all the Antonio Brown drama. Justin Hunter is a game day no show and Darrius Heyward-Bey has been forgotten in the passing game.

Godwin really raised his stock in the East-West Shrine Game. He runs good routes, has excellent hands and has the speed to stretch the field. If he gets a step it’s going to be hard for any cornerback to catch up with him. Given his size, he’s a decent, willing blocker with good hand placement and a solid base. He could be a great fit for the Slot.

Gowwin was a four year starter. He had 38 catches for 639 yards at a 16.8            6 yard average and six touchdowns in 2017. In his senior year he had a lingering calf injury. QB Jake Fromm also spread the ball around more. This resulted in a dip in his numbers. He had 23 catches for 385 yards for 16.7 ypc and 3 touchdowns.

That’s the Dare to Dream addition. As you can see this mock attempted to fill all the positions of need. The Steelers will also have to use some of their cap space to add some veterans.

The Combine starts Feb. 26th and that is when the Steelers are supposed to open up bidding for Antonio Brown. So, the next mock should be a little more in focused. What are your thoughts on this draft? Do you think the Steelers can get some impact players? Who are your dream players?

Go Steelers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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