Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board Series! Over the next few days I’ll be creating big boards for each round of the NFL Draft the Steelers have a pick in. I’ll then discuss these players, among other draft notes, on my podcast. You can find the Simon Shortt Podcast on Apple and Spotify. With that, let’s get to the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board!
We are now in the final round of the NFL Draft and the Steelers have two picks. Because of this, I will have 20 names on this board instead of 10.
Just like the sixth round finding players who participated in an All-Star Game is very important to determining the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board. There is less of a track record of late round picks being seen at Pro Days by positional coaches. Therefore All Star games are where Pittsburgh gets an eye on these guys.
And since the Steelers have two picks in the seventh round, I figured I’d put 20 names in here.
With that said let’s check out the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board Round 7!
Offense – Skill Positions
- 1. Emeka Emezie WR, N.C. State – a big, physical receiver who wins with toughness and the ability to go get the ball. Same toughness and effort makes him a strong blocker. At the Shrine Bowl and Kevin Colbert was at his Pro Day
- 2. Lucas Krull TE, Pitt – an average all around tight end, but with the frame and willingness to work to get stronger, could become a useful blocker. Willingness to get to the second level and block also bodes well for potential Special Teams value. Was at the Shrine Bowl, is in the Steelers’ backyard, and Pittsburgh brass was at his Pro Day
- 3. Connor Heyward FB/HB, Michigan State – had to do it. Conner Heyward is a popular pick because of who his brother is sure, but also look at him on the field. Started as a ball carrier and was productive in short-yardage situations. Then became a tight end and was one of Michigan State’s best pass catchers. Versatile offensive weapon with core special teamer written all over him. Was at the Senior Bowl
- 4. Tre Turner WR, Virginia Tech – a consistent and productive receiver, Turner has good size and athleticism. Can be effective from any position at the LOS, and any part of the field making catches. Good downfield target and strong blocker. Was at the Senior Bowl and took part in Liberty’s Pro Day where Steelers brass was in attendance
- 5. Dontario Drummond WR, Ole Miss – good size and speed with experience playing multiple spots and nice YAC ability. Coming from the Ole Miss offense wasn’t asked to do a lot of pro concepts so he’ll have to continue to develop his route running. However if Pittsburgh is going to continue to run an RPO system, it might make him a good fit. Was at the Senior Bowl and had Pittsburgh brass at his Pro Day
- 6. Samori Toure WR, Nebraska – a long receiver that is a true deep threat because of his speed. Willing to go over the middle to make tough catches as well. Still fairly raw as a player despite being a little older, but can bring a deep play element to Pittsburgh they are missing. Was at the Shrine Bowl
- 7. Jalen Nailor WR, Michigan State – Nailor is another deep threat, but one that does so with a full route tree. His quickness and route running could make him an excellent backup X receiver. Toughness can bother him a bit because of his smaller frame however, but he’s willing to compete nonetheless. Underclassman so not at an All-Star Game
- 8. Jerreth Sterns WR, Western Kentucky – an interesting combination of a savvy route runner that works primarily out of the slot, Sterns comes from the Air Raid system at W. Kentucky. Willing to fight over the middle and make contested catches. Was at the Shrine Bowl and Brandon Hunt was at his Pro Day
- 9. Braylon Sanders WR, Ole Miss – another Ole Miss Product who was at the Senior Bowl, Sanders was the downfield threat of the Ole Miss offense. Not a nuanced route tree or even elite speed, but fast enough to get downfield in a hurry, and an incredible amount of athleticism to track the ball and adjust to it
Offense – Linemen
- 10. Obinna Eze OT, TCU – a project tackles with size and a tough demeanor, Eze has some tools to him. Good length and knows how to use it. Not a great athlete but an asset in the running game with his size and physicality. Was at the Shrine Bowl
- 11. Luke Tenuta OT, Virginia Tech – another project tackle, Tenuta is a good mover in space and plays with decent technique for his size. Started games at both tackle spots in college and looked comfortable. Good coaching should make a nice player out of Tenuta. Was at the Shrine Bowl
Defense – Linemen
- 12. Jayden Peevy DL, Texas A&M – a guy with a lot of skill and strength, but lacks athleticism. Has incredible size (6’5, 308 lbs, 35 and 1/2″ arms) which helps him be a strong run defender. When he can get a good first step his strength gets him into the backfield, but often doesn’t get the first step and doesn’t have the other athletic traits to makeup for it. Was at the NFLPA Bowl and DL Coach Karl Dunbar attended his Pro Day
- 13. Marquan McCall DL, Kentucky – a true nose tackle from Kentucky, McCall was once playing at nearly 380 pounds. Down to 342 for pre-draft workouts he’ll likely land somewhere in-between. A true run-down plugger he is hard to move off of the LOS. Could definitely be an option to help last year’s porous run defense. McCall was at the Shrine Bowl and Brandon Hunt was at his Pro Day
- 14. Eyioma Uwazurike DL, Iowa State – again, ideal size here for a Pittsburgh defensive lineman (6’5, 316lbs, 35″ arms), Uwazurike also has a good bit of quickness which gives him potential as a disruptor behind the LOS. More work with NFL coaching and weight training could make him a nice rotational player. Was at the Shrine Bowl
- 15. Ali Fayad EDGE, Western Michigan – MAC DPOY last year with 17.5 TFLS and 13 sacks. Fayad is a productive edge rusher who can play the run and get to the QB with his strength and pass rush abilities. Not a great mover but certainly can win matchups or set the edge. Was at the Shrine Bowl
- 16. Eric Johnson DL, Missouri State – another big defensive lineman with good size and power. Johnson uses his hands well when he gets a hold of someone, but struggles with timing that usage. Despite being an FCS player Johnson has gotten on radars. He was at the Senior Bowl, NFLPA Bowl, and got a pre draft visit with multiple teams including Pittsburgh
- 17. Tyree Johnson EDGE, Texas A&M – Johnson is a productive edge rusher who had 8.5 sacks this year and was a Second Team AP All-American. At 6’4, 250 pounds he’s been effective setting the edge against the run, and has developed into a nice pass rusher with room to grow. He was at the Shrine Bowl
Defense – Linebackers
- 18. Damone Clark LB, LSU – Damone Clark was a Day 2 talent Pittsburgh showed a lot of interest in. Unfortunately Clark had to undergo spinal fusion surgery that will keep him out his rookie year. Clark had a great year at LSU and carried the mantle of linebacker well for them. If he’s still there this late, I believe Pittsburgh thinks about taking a chance on him bouncing back in year two. Clark was at the Senior Bowl and Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were at his Pro Day
- 19. Josh Ross LB, Michigan – Pittsburgh loves their Michigan men. Josh Ross is the class “hearts and smarts”, good character, leader of teammates kind of guy the Steelers like finding Day 3. Ross projects mostly as a core special teamer on the field, but Pittsburgh has interest in the person. He was at the NFLPA Bowl, and had dinner with Mike Tomlin after his Pro Day
- 20. Baylon Spector LB, Clemson – similar profile to Ross. Smart and productive two-year starter in college at linebacker, but lacks the elite traits to start defensively in the NFL. However he has all the traits you want as a special teamer, and that is why he’ll end up on an NFL team. Was at the Shrine Bowl
Notables Left Off
Some other players I considered were Isaiah Pola-Mao, Jequez Ezzard, Justin Skalski, Nolan Turner, Joey Blount, Mark Robinson, and Kurt Hinish. Of this list Ezzard, Skalski and Turner were the only ones to participate in All-Star games, but they are projected to go undrafted.
Thank you all so much for following along and checking out my Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board Series! Be sure to come back for all your Steelers draft analysis.
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