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2019 Steelers Not Really Too Early Mock Draft

October 18, 2018
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2019 Steelers Not Really Too Early Mock Draft

The Steelers have a ton of unrestricted free agents in 2019. While some of them will sign, it’s almost certain others will leave for a bigger pay check and a chance to start elsewhere in the NFL. L.T. Walton, Ramon Foster, Anthony Chickillo, L.J. Fort and Jesse James lead the list. The team will have to augment the team through the draft for some of the departures. Also there is weakness in the secondary and OLB Bud Dupree has shown marked improvement on the weakside but hasn’t cemented his starting job. Inside Linebacker, John Bostic, has been a pleasant surprise but he lacks the sideline to sideline game the team lost when Ryan Shazier got injured.

I was tempted to go for a Tight End in the first four rounds but I’m pretty sure Jesse James wants to stay. Vance McDonald has emerged as the starter and blocking standout, Jake McGee, was taking over Xavier Grimble’s spot before he was lost for the season to a torn ACL.

The Steelers will still have to supplement the roster through free agency but a number of holes could be plugged by a good draft.

Rd. 1 – Inside LinebackerDevin White – LSU – 6′-0″ – 235# – 40/4.56 – 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. Prototypical modern 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 pretty 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. Very similar physically and in playing style to Ryan Shazier.

Rd 2 – (proposed Le’Veon Bell trade) – Cornerback – Trayvon Mullen – Clemson – 6’-2” – 190# – 4.49/40 – Mullen isn’t on a lot of people’s radar yet but I like him better than a lot of the top prospects. The Steelers need a dependable outside CB and it looks like they’ve all but given up on Artie Burns. I could also see this pick or a 3rd rounder go in a trade for an established outside CB. 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.

Tall and a little thin but has the frame to carry a little more weight without losing speed. Not a thumper, more of a wrap up tackler. Could be a very good option for bigger NFL receivers. Should develop into a quality shut down Cornerback. Had 40 tackles, 3 ints and 3 passes broken up in 2017

Rd 2 – WR/KR – Parris Campbell – Ohio State – 6’-0” – 205# – 4.39/40 – Three  reasons for this pick. 1) Antonio Brown’s behavior is getting disturbing. 2) I know it’s early but so far James Washington hasn’t been lighting the league on fire. 3) You really need four good receivers in today’s NFL.

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 routes. Needs very little room to break off a big run after the catch. Willing blocker who engages his assignment enough to take them out of the play.

Campbell has been a standout on kick returns, averaging an impressive 30.4 yards pr on his career. Also used in the running game on end arounds and jet sweeps. In his Junior year he had 40 receptions for 584 yards at 14.6 ypr and 3 TDS. He added 10 runs for 132 yards at a 13.2 yard average and 1 TD. Campbell is having a break out season his Senior year. In seven games he already has 43 catches for 557 yards at a 13.0 yard average with 7 TDs.

Rd 3 – Running Back – David Montgomery – Iowa State – 5′-10″ – 219# – 4.53/40 – I also considered Miles Gaskin here but he’s undersized and gets knocked away like a gnat in the blocking game, otherwise, he and Montgomery are similar. Montgomery is an elusive runner whose toughness, sturdy build and low center of gravity also provides surprising power. Not juke crazy. Tends to see the opening, make the defender commit and cut for daylight. Could be a very good foil to James Conner. Very good improviser with good vision. Good use of stiff arm and hands to fend off tacklers.

Very willing blocker who shows some technique and pop. Good receiver out of the backfield. Catches the ball well on the run. Sells the block on outlet routes. Was used in some formations as a wide out. Former Eagle Scout and called a ‘culture changer’ as a positive. Fits the skill set of what the Steelers like in RBs. In 2017 Montgomery had 258 carries for 1146 yards, 4.4 yard average with 11 TDs. He added 36 receptions for 296 yards and an 8.2 yard average. Montgomery’s floor should be a high functioning rotational back like Mewelde Moore. His ceiling is a quality every down back.

Rd 4Edge/OLB/DE – Porter Gustin – USC – 6’-5” – 260# – 4.75/40 – Very high motor edge defender. Gustin has played Outside Linebacker but is really a OLB/Defensive End tweener. Comfortable playing both sides of the field but is a better fit for the strong-side.

Disruptive at the line of scrimmage. Never gives up on a play. Shows good drive power. Has good rip and swim moves and flashes a developing spin move. Shows ability to get off blocks in the run game. Almost always lined up as one of the front four pass rushers for USC so he’s mostly untested in pass coverage. Is a 2nd or 3rd Round talent but has had some injuries which should cause him to drop in the Draft. Great potential as a quality reserve LB and pass rush specialist. Could develop into a starter. While starting all 13 games in 2016, he had 68 tackles including a team high 13 tackles for loss plus 5.5 sacks and 4 deflections. In 2017 Gustin was having a big season before a broken ankle took him out for the year. In six games he had 28 tackles, 10.0 for a loss, 7.5 sacks 1 pass deflection and 1 fumble recovery.

Rd 5 – Traded to the Cowboys for Ryan Switzer

Rd 6 – (From Cowboys) – Safety – D’Cota Dixon – Wisconsin – 5′-10″ – 205# – 4.50/40 – The Steelers have realized Nat Berhe was a total dud as a Free Agent signing. We need more depth and competition in the deep defensive backfield. Dixon has played mostly Strong Safety but he has the range and the smarts to play Free Safety. Dixon is built like a mini-linebacker. He’s a very tough hitting, solid tackling Safety who has some experience playing Cornerback. He shows decent coverage skills, good timing and leaping ability to make deflections and nice makeup speed. If Dixon was a few inches taller he would be going much higher.

Dixon’s motor is always revving and he can come from a great distance to make the big hit. A three year starter for Wisconsin, Dixon had 54 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks,  3 pass deflections, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble in 2017 and 60 tackles 2.5 for loss 1.0 sack, 4 pass deflections, 4 interceptions and a forced fumble in 2016. Dixon should be a Special Teams monster. Academic All-Big Ten and three year Team Captain. A Badger to reunite with T.J. Watt.

Rd 6 – DT/DE/NT – Kingsley Keke – Texas A&M – 6′-4″ – 305# – L.T. Walton will almost certainly leave in Free Agency. Keke was used at both DT and DE. Has the skill set to sub across the D-Line Good at creating a pile up at the line of scrimmage. Can stack and shed blockers. Shows some ability to get to the passer and generate interior pass rush. Flashes good use of hands and shows some drive but needs to develop consistency. In his Junior year he had 54 tackles, 2.5 for a loss 1 sack, 2 pass deflections and 2 fumble recoveries.

Rd 7 – (from Tampa) OG/OT/C –  Zack Bailey – N. Carolina – 6′-6″ – 310# – In 2017 Bailey was starting Right Tackle. He started at Left Guard in 2016 and has played Center. Good pass blocker. Uses wing span and wide stance to make himself a big obstacle. Good kick slide. Knows how much hand checking you can get away with. Shows good movement and decent drive in run blocking. Used a good bit in pulling and surprisingly fast and agile, considering his size.

Well, that’s my first look at the Draft. What do you think? Any players you think the Steelers can’t live without?

Go Steelers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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