Armchair GM

Steelers 2020 Mock Draft – 5.0 – Post Free Agency – All Rounds with Video!

April 8, 2020
13 minutes read
Steelers 2020 Mock Draft – 5.0 – Post Free Agency – All Rounds with Video!

Steelers Need to Upgrade the Offense in 2020 the Way They Upgraded Defense in 2019

The team’s offensive skill positions SUCKED in 2019. No RB made it to 500 yards. They were 29th ranked in rushing with an AWFUL 90.4 yards per game. No WR reached 750 yards and TE couldn’t even break 300. ALL the receivers struggled to get separation leading to coverage sacks. When they did get open they couldn’t catch. They were 4th ranked in most dropped passes. And a lot of those drops came in the first three series where you’re trying to establish your game plan. They had NO valid #1 at RB, TE or WR. It is impossible to game plan with a group that is that bad. All the 2019 offensive skill position players need a demotion and some shouldn’t even be in the league.

The Free Agency Effect

Coming into free agency the team needed to get faster and more dependable players at WR, RB and TE. Kevin Colbert has already taken care of Tight End, bringing in the talented pass catcher, Eric Ebron.

The Steelers partially addressed the departure of Javon Hargrave with the addition of DL Chris Wormley but he’s not a true Nose Tackle. He’s probably more like insurance should Stephon Tuitt get injured, again. The play of rookie, ILB Devin Bush, in 2019 made Mark Barron (and his salary) expendable in 2020. Vince Williams and Ulysees Gilbert will fight it out for that spot and whoever wins should be at least as good as Barron.

Here’s a list of the Free agents and cuts and how they effect the Draft.

Don’t Need to Add Player:

FA Loss: NT/DL Javon Hargrave  – Added DL/NT Chris Wormley – Roughly equal as DL. Slight Downgrade as NT

FA Loss: OG/Center B.J. Finney – Added OG/Center Stefen Wisniewski – Roughly Equal

FA Loss: TE Nick Vannett – Added TE Eric Ebron – Major Upgrade

FA “Loss”: CB Artie Burns – Have Cameron Sutton and Justin Layne. Burns hardly saw the field last year so the situation is the same.

Cut: ILB Mark Barron – have Vince Williams and Ulysees Gilbert – Roughly equal

Cut: OLB Anthony Chickillo – Have Tuzar Skipper and Ola Adenyai – Roughly equal

Released: FB/ST Rosey Nix – Added FB/ST Derek Watt – Major Upgrade

Retired: LG Ramon Foster – Have Matt Feiler – Slight Upgrade

Need to Add Player:

FA Loss: ILB/ST Tyler Matakevich – Need OLB depth and ST player.

FA Loss: FS Sean Davis – Need better FS/SS backup.

Cut: WR/ST Johnny Holton – Need to re-sign him. I know he sucks as a WR but he’s the best gunner the team has had in decades. He forced a ton a fair catches last year.

Taking free agency into account there are early round needs at Running Back and Wide Receiver and mid round needs at O-Line on Offense. On Defense the team needs a new Nose Tackle and depth at Inside Linebacker and Safety.

The 2020 Mock Draft 5.0

2nd Rd. – WR/KR/PR – Brandon Aiyuk – Arizona St. – 6’-1”, 208# – 4.50/40 – Aiyuk came from a junior college. Has only one year of starter production but that year was very good. Good route runner. Varies speed to catch DBs flatfooted. Plays faster than his recorded 40 time and is very fast when he opens it up. Was one of the top Combine performers in the 10 yard split (1.57) as well as the vertical (40.0”) and broad (10’-8”) jumps showing his explosiveness. Consistently gets good yardage after the catch. Can make really difficult catches but does have some concentration drops. He’s good now but could be great with a little development. This pick could also get rid of the useless Ryan Switzer. Aiyuk is a quality return man on both punts and kickoffs.

In 2019 Aiyuk had 65 catches for 1192 yards at 18.3 ypc and 8 TDs. On his career he had 29 kickoff returns for 785 yards at a 27.1 yard average and 25 punt returns for 293 yards for a very good 11.7 yard average and 1 TD. All this brought Aiyuk up to 13th in the nation in all purpose yards with 1,870.

3rd Rd  (Comp for LvB) – Running Back – Cam Akers – Florida St. – 5’- 10”, 217# – 4.47/40 – The Steelers need to add speed at all the skill positions. Akers is a fast and fluid Running Back. He has breakaway speed if he gets in the open field. Runs hard when tacklers close in on him. Very good receiving option coming out of the backfield. Showed good technique and pop when called upon to block. He’s a converted high school Quarterback and can run the Wildcat very effectively. Impressed everybody at the Combine while doing the on field drills.

Akers ran behind bad blocking most of his time with the Seminoles and had a down year as a sophomore. He bounced back as a Junior and put up his best season in 2019 with 231 carries for 1144 yards at 5.0 yards per and 14 TDs. He caught 30 passes for 225 yards, 7.5 yards per and 4 TDs. Akers showed his triple threat value by throwing 13 passes on his career for a 62.5% completion rate, 97 yards at 12.1 yards per attempt, zero interceptions for an impressive 164.4 QB rating.

4th Rd – Offensive Tackle/OG – Matt Peart – U Conn. – 6’-7”, 318# – 5.02/40 – Peart wowed people at the Combine making it to the Offensive Line top performer page in a number of drills. Though he’s not a finished product, Peart is already good and he’s very athletic. Looks solid in pass protection with a good base and nice hand use. His kick slide isn’t as smooth as it could be but it’s developing. Doesn’t’ get caught flatfooted by speed.

Was moved from Guard to Tackle, so he looks very comfortable pulling and trapping as well as blocking in space on screens. Needs to get lower and use more leg  drive when run blocking but he controls his assignment and moves them where he wants them to go. Will need to improve his play strength and he can with the Steelers great strength & conditioning program.  Peart should be a swing reserve in his first season with strong starter potential at Tackle or Guard in year two. He is #65 at Right Tackle in the video below.

4th Rd – NT/DL – Benito Jones – Mississippi – 6’-1”, 326# – 5.26/40 – This is a deep draft for Nose Tackle, otherwise, I wouldn’t project Jones being here in this round. Has some power and can cave in an O-line. He routinely draws double teams. Can stack and shed blockers. He shows good hand use and has a nice rip move. Can get some pressure on the QB with interior rushes. Shows good effort and always runs to the action when it moves away from him. Has starter potential at Nose Tackle and enough athleticism to sub across the D-line.

Four years in the starting lineup at Ole Miss. Jones had 34 tackles, 9.0 for a loss and 3.0 sacks in 2018. He put up 30 tackles, 10.0 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and 1 in 2019.

6th Rd – Free Safety/SS – J.R. Reed – Georgia – 6’-1”, 208# – 4.54/40 – The Steelers need better depth at both Safety positions. Reed is a swing Safety who may be able to do both jobs. He’s played Free Safety but in Georgia’s scheme they moved him from high Safety to the line of scrimmage, in run support, a good bit. Diagnoses and moves to the action very well. Sure tackler and consistently takes good angles. Not much film on him in pass coverage but according to his coaches he can cover TEs and bigger slot receivers. Ran faster than expected at the Combine and has good range at Deep Safety. Reed isn’t showy so he’s been dropping in Mocks but he’s a solid football player. He had 66 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, 2 pass deflections and 2 interceptions in 2018. In 2019 Reed had 54 tackles, 2.0 for a loss, 0.5 sacks, 7 pass deflections and 1 interception. Son of former NFL Wide Receiver, the talented Jake Reed.

7th Rd – Inside Linebacker/ST – Evan Weaver – California – 6’-2”, 237# – 4.74/40 – This guy needs to be a Steeler. What Weaver may lack in athleticism he makes up for with football I.Q., instincts and grit.

A tackling machine who put up crazy numbers. Quickly analyses and moves toward the action. Looks past blockers to make plays. Doesn’t take the bait on play action and will hang back until he knows where the play is going. Weaver is a prototypical MIKE. He figures to spend most of his time between the Tackles as a run stuffer but he should be able to man cover less athletic TEs and RBs. Reads the QBs eyes and plays the pass well in zone coverage. Play caller for front seven and team captain.  Will be a special teams hardass. Should be a solid reserve ILB and an upgrade over Tyler Matekevich with more speed, explosion and short area quickness.

Had 155 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections and 2 interceptions. In 2018. In his senior year Weaver had 181 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles. Yes, you read those tackle numbers, right.

That’s the Post Free Agency Mock. The ‘virtual’ Draft is on April 23rd to the 27th.

What do think of this Mock? Any prospects you like better? Do you think the positions targeted are the right ones?

Go Steelers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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