Mock Draft 1.0: A Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers


It goes without saying that the 2019 season was an interesting one for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After an 0-2 start and the loss of Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh showed quickly they had no intentions of mailing in the season. On Sept. 16, they acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins for first, third, and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft.

Along with rookie linebacker Devin Bush, and the dynamic duo off the edge of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh’s defense was among the best in the NFL. However, the once high-powered offense struggled to hold its end of the bargain.


Rotating between Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at quarterback, the Steelers finished 27th in points scored and limped down the stretch, losing their final three games and missing the playoffs.

With Ben Roethlisberger making great strides in his rehab, 2020 is full of high hopes for the Steelers, and adding offensive talent to complement the two-time Super Bowl champion is a must.


Here is what the Steelers should do when they are on the clock in April:

Round 2, Pick 49: RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State:

This, to me, would be one of the picks of the draft if the Steelers took Dobbins. His ability as a dual-threat running back would be the perfect complement to this Pittsburgh offense.

While James Conner earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2018, he was underwhelming in 2019 and dealt with injuries throughout the season. While


Dobbins was outstanding throughout his college career with the Buckeyes. He ran for over 2,000 yards in 2019 to go with 21 touchdowns, and two more touchdowns through the air. He is quick, he is shifty, and

James Conner was underwhelming and dealt with injuries throughout the season while rookie Benny Snell Jr. played well as the feature back. If I’m Pittsburgh, I trade James Conner for additional capital and bring in Dobbins.

Round 4, Pick 114: EDGE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State:

Willekes was a force off the edge throughout his career at Michigan State. His 10.5 sacks were good for fifth in the Big Ten, and he’s racked up 19 sacks over the last two seasons.

Bud Dupree’s future in Pittsburgh is up in the air, and Cameron Heyward, while still very productive, isn’t getting younger. So, drafting a young edge rusher to groom could be a solid path to take.

Round 4, Pick 125: TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri:

The Steelers’ depth at tight end is a cause for concern going into the 2020 offseason. Vance McDonald took a step back last season, and the acquisition of Nick Vannett didn’t exactly pay off, so expect him to sign elsewhere in free agency.

Okwuegbunam had a solid 2019 season with six touchdowns and averaging nearly 12 yards a catch. He impressed at the combine as well, running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash. He would be a great second option to McDonald and provide much-needed depth to the Steelers’ tight end room.

Round 6, Pick 178: OT Terence Steele, Texas Tech:

Steele is more than likely going to be used at right tackle. According to several draft profiles (and through watching a little bit of his tape), he has solid pass protecting skills that the Steelers can continue to improve having him behind Matt Feiler on the depth chart.

Feiler is currently a restricted free agent, but I expect the Steelers to give him a new deal after he played in all of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps last season. If this is the route they go, Steele could grow as a blocker while learning behind both Feiler and left tackle Al Villanueva.

Round 7, Pick 209: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas:

This wide receiver draft class is possibly the deepest in history, which means there will be plenty of guys who are mid-round talents that will slip into later rounds; enter Devin Duvernay.

He more than doubled his reception total from 2018, going from 41 to 106 in 2019. The Steelers receiving core proved to be resilient through the chaos that was the 2019 season. While JuJu Smith-Schuster dealt with injuries, Diontae Johnson led all rookies in receptions, and James Washington really came out of his shell in the second half of the season.

Besides those three, though, the Steelers don’t really have any other reliable options. Deon Cain was signed from the Colts’ practice squad, Johnny Holton is used for his speed but doesn’t have too much in his repertoire. Duvernay could be that guy to solidify the fourth spot on the depth chart, and perhaps even climb to three or two in the coming years.


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