Armchair GM

2019 Steelers In-Season Mock Draft – All Rounds with Video!

December 28, 2018
17 minutes read
2019 Steelers In-Season Mock Draft – All Rounds with Video!

The Steelers have a ton of unrestricted free agents in 2019. While some of them will re-sign, it’s almost certain others will leave for a bigger pay check and a chance to start elsewhere in the NFL. DL L.T. Walton, OG Ramon Foster, OLB Anthony Chickillo and TE Jesse James lead the list. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is also on that list. Heyward-Bey isn’t even an afterthought on offense, anymore and he is 31 years old. He and WR Justin Hunter are a waste of a roster spot. In the meantime, nobody has staked a claim to #3 Wide Receiver. Also on the offensive side of the ball, RB Stevan Ridley is very expendable and ‘Kicker’ Chris Boswell just needs to go.

On defense there is weakness at Cornerback and a lack of depth at deep Safety. 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 and coverage skills the team lost when Ryan Shazier got injured. #Shalieve!!! DE Stephon Tuitt seems like he’s more off the field with injury than he is on it. He hasn’t played a complete season since his rookie year in 2014.

I know everybody is going to want to go Cornerback in the first round but LSU’s Greedy Williams is really the only guy worth a first rounder. He’ll be gone in the first 10 picks. Washington’s Byron Murphy is very overrated and untested. His big plays seem more the result of luck than consistently good coverage and instincts. Georgia’s DeAndre Baker is a risk taker who might not have the skills to back it up at the next level. His film looks much like Artie Burns’. That should cause any Steeler fan anxiety.

The Steelers will still have to supplement the roster through free agency. The good news is they were gifted 14.5 million dollars by the Fake Rapper/Strip Club King to next year’s cap space. That money will come in handy signing veterans acquired via trades or free agency.

A number of holes could be plugged by a good draft. 

Rd. 1 – Inside LinebackerDevin White – LSU – 6’-0” – 235# – 4.56/40 – Jon Bostic has done a very good job with the Steelers but the team needs a game changer in the middle. And having Bostic as a backup is a very appealing proposition.

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. There is a small character knock against White who had couple incidents before he signed with LSU. Both happened when he was 17 (who didn’t do stupid stuff at 17?) and his record has been spotless since then.

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 2 – 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. 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. 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 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. 3 – Edge Rusher/ Defensive End/OLBJoe 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. If Jackson’s not here I’d go with Michigan’s Chase Winovich.

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 consistently impacts plays even if he doesn’t make the tackle or sack. Has speed to get around the outside of a single OT.

Is a more natural DE but could possibly be developed into an Outside Linebacker. Untested in pass coverage but shows good athleticism and played Tight End in High School. Can be used as both a stand up and three point rusher. 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  – Wide Receiver – K. J. Hill – Ohio State – 6’-0” – 195# – 4.47/40 – Parris Campbell may get all the press but the more I watched K.J. Hill, the more I liked him. He’s one of the more pro ready college receivers. He runs good, consistent  routes and seems to know the route tree. He can find the soft spot in coverage. He’s got great hands and was averaging over 8 yards after the catch at midseason according to Pro Football Focus. Hill always seemed to be where Dwayne Haskins thought he would be when he was going through his reads. All this adds up to being a strong candidate for the slot in his first year.

He’s also pretty fast. If Hill gets a step on a CB, which he can with his route running, they are going to have a hard time catching up to him. Had 56 receptions for 549 yards at 9.8 yards per rec. and 3 touchdowns in 2017 catching passes from the below average J.T. Barrett. In 2018 with Dwayne Haskins he had a bigger year hauling in 67 passes for 831 yards at a 12.4 yard average and 6 TDs. Also averaged 25.0  yards on kick returns in 2017, which was the only season he did it with any regularity.

Rd 5 – Traded to the Raiders for Ryan Switzer

Rd 6 – (from Raiders) – Running Back – Darrell Henderson – Memphis – 5’-9” – 200# – 4.45/40 –  Thanks to the Raiders this pick is almost a late fifth rounder. Stevan Ridley left all of his game back with the Patriots. It’s long past time for the Steelers to have three high functioning running backs on the roster.

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 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) – 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. Now Free Safety, former Conerback, Brian Allen, was a fool’s paradise from the very beginning. We need more depth and competition in the deep defensive backfield.

At Wisconsin, Dixon was moved all over the place, used as Free and Strong Safety as well as Dimebacker. 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. Good at diagnosing RPOs. He shows decent coverage skills when called on in the slot. 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. He had 43 tackles, 2.5 for a loss. 3 pass deflections and a forced fumble in 9 games in 2018. In 2017 he had 54 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks,  3 pass deflections, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble. 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.

So, this is the final in-season Mock Draft. What are your thoughts? Who are the players you like and what round do you think the Steelers should target them?

Go Steelers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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One Comment

  1. Mr. McBlitzface

    Nice mock. This year it’s hard to figure which way the Steelers will go. It all depends on how many holes they with free agency. I like Chase Winovich. I think he could be developed into a really good OLB.