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All you need to know about the Steelers’ Day 2 draft picks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 7:20am
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Penn State TE Pat Freiermeuth in the second round and Kendrick Green in the third of the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is all the coverage on their Day 2 picks.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made two bold, and strong, statements in the 2021 NFL Draft by selecting TE Pat Freiermeuth in the second round and C Kendrick Green in the second round of the selection process. With the 55th and 87th picks on Day 2, the Steelers took Freiermeuth and Green without thinking about other prospects who might have been available when it was their turn to select, but this doesn’t seem to bother Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert.

Without looking ahead, the Steelers did something they needed to do in fortifying the offensive front on Day 2. Freiermeuth is known as a great two-way tight end, and Green is the type of physical center who can put the nasty back into the run game. This a running game which ranked dead last in both yards per game and yards per attempt. After addressing the offensive line, which they might continue do on Day 3 of the draft, the Steelers’ running game should be improved in 2021.

The addition of Najee Harris in the first round combined with Freiermeuth and Green, the Steelers have gone all offense on the first two days of the draft for the first time since 1995 when they took Mark Bruener, Kordell Stewart and Bredan Stai for the first three picks of the draft.

With that said, be sure to check out all of our coverage on the Day 2 selections here in this stream, and be sure to check back so you don’t miss a thing on all of our draft coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to press on throughout the 2021 NFL Draft.

2021 NFL Draft: BTSC Big Board, Top 50 heading into Day 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 7:00am
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the best of the rest heading into the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft

Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft is over, with the Steelers selecting Pat Freiermuth and Kendrick Green in the second and third rounds, respectively.

Here’s my Big Board breakdown of Freiermuth:

23. Pat Freiermuth — TE — Penn State
#87, Jr, 6’5”, 250 lbs
Consensus ranking: 39 (26, 47, 41, 39, 41)
2020 season stats: 23 receptions, 310 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD’s, (4 games)

Ryland B.: Freiermuth is probably the most complete tight end in this year’s class, having impressed as both a pass-catcher and a blocker. Sadly, we didn’t get to see much of him in 2020, as a shoulder injury prematurely ended his Junior season. He has good size for the position and is a plus athlete, although he is not as dynamic as Kyle Pitts. Freiermuth is one of the better blocking tight ends in this class, but that doesn’t make it a huge strength of his. The size and ability are there, and he’s fairly effective, but his technique and power can be a little lacking at times. The upside is there, though, and Freiermuth could be quite the blocker with some good coaching. As a receiver, he’s very good, with soft hands, good route-running ability, and physicality at the catch point. He’s tough to bring down after the catch as well. Kyle Pitts is the best tight end in the class, but Freiermuth’s game is more well-rounded and he still brings a lot of athletic upside.

And Kendrick Green:

132. Kendrick Green - G/C - Illinois
Jr, #53, 6’4”, 315 lbs
Consensus ranking: 250 (NA, 285, NA, 215, NA)
2020 season stats: (8 games, 3 @Center)

Ryland B.: Green is an interesting prospect coming out of Illinois. He has played at both guard and center during his time in college but is still fairly new to the position, having a background on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a powerful, explosive athlete with good mobility, but he’s still developmental all around. The ability is there but the technique is far from perfect, although considering how much has been thrown at Green during his time at Illinois, the best is yet to come. Overall, he’s quite the project, but with some good coaching he could be something special.

But there are still four more rounds to go, and a lot of impactful picks to be made. Below, I’ve listed the top 50 players still remaining heading into the next day of the draft. The rankings are based off of Andrew Wilbar’s top 300, with the analysis and stats being from the BTSC Big Board. I’ve also added some “draft notes” to go along with the prospect analysis with some more up to date opinions on how the draft is falling.

And as always, the consensus rankings are from big boards from CBS Sports, Drafttek, ESPN, Mock Draft Database, and Tankathon.

Let’s take a look at the best players remaining in this year’s draft:

30. Trey Smith — G — Tennessee
Sr, #73, 6’6”, 330 lbs
Consensus ranking: 47 (28, 39, 70, 48, 50)
2020 season stats: (10 games)

steelerfan11: Smith played left tackle in 2017 for the Volunteers before having issues with blood clots in his lungs in 2018. The former five-star recruit was able to get the issue resolved in time to play in 2019, but he moved inside to guard, which turned out to be the right move. Smith was much more dominant at guard and became one of the best run-blocking guards in the country while holding his own as a pass protector. In 2020, he was not quite as quick on his feet, and he struggled to win the battle for leverage. However, I like his game as a whole, and I believe he has a chance to be an absolutely dominant run-blocking guard.

41. Daviyon Nixon — DL — Iowa
#54, So, 6’3”, 305 lbs
Consensus ranking: 43 (NA, 27, 61, 42, 43)
2020 season stats: Tackles 45, TFL 13.5, Sacks 5.5, FF 1, (8 games)

Itz JustNoah: In a relatively weak class for defensive lineman, Nixon is a bright spot. He’s not completely pro ready but he shows plenty of potential. He has excellent hands and athletic ability. Despite having 5.5 sacks (which is not bad for an interior lineman) he didn’t overly impress me as a pass rusher but his power as a run stopper is incredible. He has the ideal size and physical tools to be a starting defensive tackle, he just has to learn proper technique as a pass rusher to be really successful. I don’t think he’s a first round talent yet, but if a team wants to take a chance on him the upside is high.

48. Jabril Cox — LB — LSU
#19, Sr, 6’4”, 231 lbs
Consensus ranking: 62 (85, 54, 39, 60, 71)
2020 season stats: Tackles 58, TFL 6.5, Sacks 1, FF 0, FR 1, Int 3, (11 games)

Ryland B.: Cox is quickly becoming one of my favorite linebackers in this draft. He’s built nearly the same as Jamin Davis, and similarly is an excellent athlete who is rock solid in coverage. He has the same big play gene as the Kentucky linebacker as well. But where Davis struggles in navigating traffic, Cox is a heat-seeking missile. He flies across the field and through contact to make tackles, and while he’s still developing as a run defender, he shows all of the required tools and effort. He’ll be excellent value in the second or third round.

Draft notes: Cox is my favorite linebacker remaining. And the Steelers love to draft linebackers. Cox could be an playmaking defender to pair next to Devin Bush in 2021, although it will be interesting to see how much farther he falls.

53. Amon-Ra St. Brown — WR — USC
#8, Jr., 6’1” 195 lbs
Consensus ranking: 62 (58, 68, NA, 61, 60)
2020 season stats: 41 receptions, 478 receiving yards, 7 receiving TD (6 games)

steelerfan11: St. Brown has the bloodlines and the talent that warrant a first round selection, and he has a skill set to complement that. He is very quick and clean in and out of his cuts, he runs decent routes, has good body control and sideline awareness, has solid speed, and displays reliable hands week in and week out. Former USC receiver Juju Smith-Schuster is a reasonable comparison here as well, but I honestly think St. Brown’s game is a little more complete and a little better in terms of overall upside. While he isn’t dominant in any one area, he is very good in almost every category. If he isn’t a WR1 for some team, he will most certainly be one of the best #2 receivers in the league. He is a high floor prospect with a reasonably high ceiling.

Draft notes: St. Brown is the type of receiver that the Steelers would be interested in. But the team doesn’t really need a receiver this year.

63. Shaun Wade — CB/S — Ohio State
#24, Jr, 6’1”, 195 lbs
Consensus ranking: 100 (144, 66, 108, 98, 86)
2020 season stats: Tackles 35, TFL 1, PD 1, Int 2, (8 games)

steelerfan11: Wade had a fantastic year in 2019 when Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette were manning the outside, but Wade struggled mightily when he was asked to be a boundary corner in 2020. Wade made a few decent plays, but he struggled for the most part. However, literally whenever Ohio State moved him to the slot for a few plays, he was his old self and was blanketing receivers. Ty Fryfogle of Indiana absolutely torched Wade all day when he was playing on the outside, but on the few occasions he was put in the slot, he did well against Whop Philyor and the other Indiana receivers. As a prospect, I like Wade’s athleticism and upside, and I think the 2020 season was just a fluke. Some think that he will move to safety, but I honestly think playing the nickel is what he does best. If he can be an inside-only corner for a team, he could be a potential pro-bowler down the line.

Draft notes: Cornerback is perhaps the biggest need that the Steelers haven’t addressed yet in this draft. Wade struggled last year but has first round caliber talent in the slot.

64. Trey Hill — C/G — Georgia
Jr, #55, 6’4”, 330 lbs
Consensus ranking: 113 (148, 123, NA, 88, 91)
2020 season stats: (8 games)

steelerfan11: If you ever read my comments about my hopes for the Steelers this offseason, Trey Hill has probably been mentioned at some point in time. Hill just turned 21 and still has a lot of room to grow as a prospect, but he could start from day one if the Steelers needed him to be. He gets good leverage, uses his hands well, and maintains a low pad level. He has excellent power and is an absolute mauler in the run game, and I believe his ability to get to the second level of the defense is way better than what your average scouting report on him will say. While he has sufficient mobility and has shown the ability to pull as either a center or guard, he isn’t super light on his feet. If he remains at center, he may want to drop a couple pounds, but I would love to see Hill next to Kevin Dotson on that offensive line. I believe that Hill is one of the most underrated players in this draft. If he is still there on day three, some team is getting an absolute steal.

Draft notes: It looks like the Steelers got their center in Kendrick Green. But if they see Green as a guard, Hill is the best remaining center.

66. Tylan Wallace — WR — Oklahoma State
#2, Sr., 6’0”, 190 lbs
Consensus ranking: 53 (62, 50, 60, 72, 67)
2020 season stats: 59 receptions, 922 receiving yards, 6 receiving TD (13 games)

Ryland B.: Tylan Wallace has been consistently productive as a three-year starter at Oklahoma State, racking up nearly 3,500 receiving yards in his career as a contested-catch specialist. Wallace doesn’t have great size or speed, and his lanky frame limits his agility and quickness. However, he’s a good football player, period. Wallace has really great hands and tracks the ball well, and despite not being the biggest guy, he wins a lot of jump balls. He’s a scrappy, physical receiver who is an excellent blocker and tough to bring down after the catch, fighting hard for yardage every time. He also sells out for the ball when it’s in the air, fighting through the defender and contorting his body to find a way to make the catch. Wallace was an excellent college receiver, but his athletic profile may hinder his transition to the NFL.

70. Dylan Moses — LB — Alabama
#32, Sr, 6’3”, 240 lbs
Consensus ranking: 59 (76, 48, 54, 62, 53)
2020 season stats: Tackles 80, TFL 22, Sacks 6.5, FF 1, FR 0, PD 4, Int 1, (13 games)

Necksnation: Once considered a potential top 10 pick, an underwhelming 2020 caused Moses to plummet on draft boards. He is an above average tackler who is very athletic, although it isn’t always evident in his film. Moses’ awareness is a reason for concern. In the film I watched, he was frequently getting fooled by read options, and it sometimes looked like he didn’t know where the ball was. His coverage skills could also use some work, as he only registered two interceptions and four pass breakups in his three seasons at Alabama. However, if he can return to his 2018 form, Moses has the potential to be a quality starter for an NFL team.

Draft notes: Another athletic linebacker who the Steelers could be interested in.

74. Cameron McGrone — LB — Michigan
#44, Jr, 6’1”, 236 lbs
Consensus ranking: 88 (121, 69, NA, 83, 79)
2020 season stats: Tackles 26, TFL 2, Sacks 4.5, FF 1, FR 0, PD 1, Int 0, (5 games)

steelerfan11: Familiar with Devin Bush? McGrone has a similar profile but has a smaller sample size. He has the same size, speed, and blitzing ability that made Bush a top ten pick, but we did not see it week in and week out. However, much of that may have been because of Michigan’s inconsistent play as a unit. When Aidan Hutchinson went down with a season ending injury, Michigan’s defensive line struggled to get consistent pressure, which made Josh Ross’ And McGrone’s job more difficult. McGrone had an injury of his own in 2020, but he displayed amazing toughness and played through it. He is excellent in man coverage, but his ability to play zone coverage is an unknown at this point because of how rarely Michigan employed zone philosophies. If he reaches his full potential, he’s Devin Bush 2.0, but the Steelers already have the real Devin Bush. I expect them to find someone who would be more of a complement to Bush’s skill set.

Draft notes: McGrone would give the Steelers two athletic Michigan linebackers at the center of their defense. There’s still a good chance the team picks a linebacker at some point, and McGrone is likely near the top of their list.

83. James Hudson — OT — Cincinnati
Jr, #55, 6’5”, 310 lbs
Consensus ranking: 111 (115, 180, 40, 110, NA)
2020 season stats: (10 games)

Ryland B.: Hudson is an athletic, raw prospect at offensive tackle coming out of Cincinnati. It’s easy to see why people like him so much on tape, as he’s big, powerful, and a fluid athlete. He plays with good aggressiveness and drive, and his mobility really shines on some reps. There are some pretty glaring issues though, as Hudson’s technique can be all over the place. Sometimes he plays too high, and he can sometimes reach too much instead of mirroring. He seems to be a bit grabby too. Hudson certainly has the potential to fix all of these issues and be a very good starter in the NFL, but don’t expect him to start day one.

Draft notes: The Steelers still need a tackle, and it’s a surprise that Hudson has fallen this far. He’d be a great option in the fourth round.

85. Kenneth Gainwell — RB — Memphis
#19, Sophomore, 5’11”, 191 lbs
2020 season stats: Opted out
2019 season stats: 1,459 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 6.3 YPC, 51 receptions, 610 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: A versatile athlete, Gainwell can play both out of the running back position and in the slot — and he was successful in both during his breakout 2019 season. Gainwell has good speed and is a shifty, elusive runner. He isn’t the biggest back out there, but is a surprisingly powerful rusher even though he might want to bulk up in the NFL. As a receiver, Gainwell has good hands and runs solid routes. His versatility and speed are great assets that will make him an exciting addition to any backfield in the next level, although scouts might want to take into account that he opted out of the 2021 season.

87. Elijah Mitchell — RB — Louisiana
#15, Senior, 5’11”, 218 lbs
2020 season stats: 878 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 6.2 YPC, 16 receptions, 153 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns

steelerfan11: Mitchell was part of a good backfield at Louisiana, but he was the best runner of the guys in that backfield. He displays good awareness as a runner, and his balance through contact is impressive as well. He also has good short area quickness and decent footwork. While he did not have a ton of production as a receiver, he has shown excellent hands, which he displayed at the Senior Bowl. He slimmed down to 201 pounds to run a fast 40 at his pro day (ran a 4.38), but I expect him to regain that weight and play around 220 pounds in the NFL, which was about what he played at in college. He is a big sleeper in this class and will provide excellent value to a team that waits until day three to select a running back.

88. Patrick Johnson — EDGE — Tulane
#7, Sr, 6’3”, 255 lbs
Consensus ranking: 229 (NA, 244, NA, 214, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 39, TFL 14.5, Sacks 10, PD 2, FF 2, FR 0 (11 games)

steelerfan11: Johnson is a versatile pass rusher who lined up all over the place for Tulane. While he did not always play against elite competition, he was successful in every aspect of his game for Tulane, whether it was rushing the passer, dropping into coverage, or stopping the run. He has tremendous hand usage and a good repertoire of pass-rushing moves, but his biggest strength may be his ability to process information quickly as a run defender. He plays bigger than his 240 pound frame suggests, and that is evident based on how well he sets the edge in the run game. Johnson will be able to step in immediately as a 3rd or 4th outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and could fight for a starting job on a team as early as year two.

Draft notes: The Steelers really need a third edge rusher, and Johnson is the best remaining.

89. Michael Carter — RB — North Carolina
#8, Senior, 5’8”, 199 lbs
2020 season stats: 1,245 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 8.0 YPC, 25 receptions, 267 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: Carter was sharing a backfield with the talented Javonte Williams in 2020, but still managed to set career-highs in nearly every statistical category, rushing for over 1,200 yards with a whopping 8 yards per carry. Carter is compactly built with a fast, explosive running style. His 40 time wasn’t great but turn on the tape and you’ll see a much faster player on game days. He’s a smooth runner with excellent footwork who navigates through traffic well, often out-maneuvering defensive backs once he gets to the second level of the defense. He’s not the greatest at getting through contact, but shows good effort and has solid balance. He wasn’t used as a pass-catcher a lot at North Carolina, but he can catch, and has the potential to be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield in the NFL.

Draft notes: Some have thrown around the idea of the Steelers drafting another running back to complement Najee Harris. Not saying this a good idea or the way the Steelers will go, but Carter would be a great second option.

90. Robert Rochell — CB — Central Arkansas
#9, Sr, 6’0”, 195 lbs
Consensus ranking: 149 (NA, 188, 82, 177, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 27, TFL 1, FF 1, FR 1, PD 3, Int 0, (7 games)

Ryland B.: The small school could be a concern, but I really liked what I saw of Rochell’s tape. He’s an athletic, physical corner who is well-suited for the outside. He has good ball skills, is good in press coverage and playing off, and is solid in run support. However, he’s not the most agile or the smoothest mover, despite his impressive athletic profile. Ultimately, Rochell is the stereotypical outside press/man corner, but he does have more upside and versatility than most.

92. Simi Fehoko — WR — Stanford
#13, Jr., 6’4”, 227 lbs
Consensus ranking: 423 (NA, 423, NA, NA, NA)
2020 season stats: 37 receptions, 574 receiving yards, 3 receptions TD (6 games)

steelerfan11: Have you ever heard of a guy named Chase Claypool? Fehoko isn’t quite as strong as Claypool, but there are some similarities. At 6’4 and over 225 pounds, he has the ability to win the contested catches in tight spaces. While a few drops do show up on tape, he generally displays strong hands needed to haul in the balls that are thrown into heavy traffic. I know that 40 times do not make or break a player, but that time is rather important when evaluating receivers and perimeter skill players. If there was a combine this year, his straight-line speed could probably get him in the 4.3s. He isn’t quite that fast when you see him on tape, but we said the same thing about Claypool after he ran his 4.42 last year. He also has some sneaky wiggle to his game. If he can clean up those occasional drops, he has a chance to be special.

93. Rhamondre Stevenson — RB — Oklahoma
#29, Senior, 6’0”, 246 lbs
2020 season stats: 665 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 6.6 YPC, 18 receptions, 211 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: I hadn’t seen much of Rhamondre Stevenson during his time in college, but when I turned on the tape my first thought was, Wow, he moves FAST for a big guy. For a nearly 250-pound running back, Stevenson looks like the fastest guy on the field at times (it’s worth noting he has recently lost around 20 lbs in preparation for the NFL). He’s big, powerful, and fairly fast and explosive, with more athletic potential than you’d expect out of a power back. He doesn’t have the same level of footwork or shiftiness as some of the smaller backs in this class, but again, for the big runner that Stevenson is, it’s pretty impressive. Stevenson is one of my favorite prospects I’ve seen so far in this draft process, but some off the field issues damper the hype a bit. A failed drug test at Oklahoma, as well as some academic issues earlier in his career, could be a red flag on his NFL resume. However, if Stevenson can prove that it won’t be an issue in the future, there’s a lot to be excited about concerning his NFL career.

94. Jaylen Twyman — DL — Pittsburgh
#97, Jr, 6’2”, 290 lbs
Consensus ranking: 79 (43, 103, 89, 77, 85)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 57, TFL 12, Sacks 11, (13 games)

Ryland B.: An undersized defensive lineman, Twyman still impressed with some incredible production at Pitt. He’s a twitchy athlete with good mobility, and a well-polished pass rusher. Twyman’s size and strength are probably the biggest concerns, as he wasn’t the greatest run defender and often struggled against double teams. Twyman ended up opting out of the 2020 season, which many viewed as a mistake as there were still a lot of questions regarding his play. However, it seems as if Twyman used his time off wisely, bulking up a gaining strength to put on a show at the Pitt pro day (40 reps on the bench!). Twyman’s limitations may hurt his NFL career, but I believe that if he is put in the right system and can continue to gain strength, he could be very successful on the next level.

98. Jordan Smith — EDGE — UAB
#22, Jr, 6’7”, 255 lbs
Consensus ranking: 136 (NA, 150, 133, 126, NA)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 53, TFL 17.5, Sacks 10, PD 1, FF 4, FR 0 (14 games)

Ryland B.: Smith is an interesting prospect simply due to his impressive length at 6’7”. He has a lean, athletic build for a pass-rusher, and while it helps with his agility and overall athleticism, he would still ideally bulk up some more in the NFL. Smith plays with great effort and has excellent physical traits, but his game is still very raw all around. Smith has impressed in coverage though, and could be a versatile 3-4 OLB on the next level. There are red flags though, as Smith was involved in a credit card fraud scheme during his freshman year at Florida. His lack of top competition at UAB may lower his draft stock as well.

99. Talanoa Hufanga — S — USC
#15, Jr, 6’1”, 215 lbs
Consensus ranking: 102 (NA, 74, NA, 130, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 62, Sacks 3, Int 4, PD 1, FF 2, FR 0, (6 games)

steelerfan11: A couple members of BTSC actually brought this guy to my attention, and his tape did not disappoint. When you throw out his testing numbers and look solely at the tape, you see a guy who looks like a young Troy Polomalu. His physical, downhill style of play is fun to watch, as he strikes fear into opposing ball carriers. He can also blitz, cover, and create turnovers all at high levels. This guy is a true playmaking strong safety, but he is not extremely fluid in coverage at this point. He is also not as fast as he looks. He ran a 4.61 at his pro day, but the rest of his testing was not terrible, recording a 36 inch vertical and 6.87 3-cone drill. If he falls to day three, some team may be getting a steal.

Draft notes: We’re at the point in the draft where the Steelers may want to invest in safety depth. Hufanga would be a great option here.

100. Quincy Roche — CB — Miami
#9, Sr, 6’3”, 245 lbs
Consensus ranking: 102 (91, 87, 163, 78, 91)
2019 season stats: Tackles 49, TFL 19, Sacks 13, PD , FF 1, FR 2 (13 games)

steelerfan11: Roche’s quickness off the edge and excellent hand usage give him the upper hand against tackles that only have average athleticism. He lacks the strength to bull rush and is forced to rely on his quickness to beat the tackle around the edge. That lack of strength also hurts him as a run defender, as many tackles were able to push him around at will. However, he is a smart football player that overcomes his lack of strength with good technique. Although he will get pushed around at times, he is still solid against the run. His ceiling is not quite as high as some of the other rush linebackers in this class, but if he can add some weight to his frame, he will provide a team with value on all three downs.

101. Tony Fields II - LB - West Virginia
#1, Sr, 6’1”, 220 lbs
Consensus ranking: 198 (NA, 231, 189, 174, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 88, TFL 4, Sacks 1, FF 0, FR 0, PD 3, Int 1, (9 games)

steelerfan11: Fields was one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects to watch this season. Every time I watched West Virginia, he flew to the ball and continually made plays for the Mountaineer defense. He displayed his speed at his pro day, running a 4.5 flat in the 40. The big concern with him is his size. He is undersized and does not have a gigantic frame to add a ton of extra weight. He is still somewhat inexperienced dropping into zone, but he has the range and awareness to cover tight ends, running backs, and even slot receivers. If he can add about 10 pounds and maintain his speed, I think Fields has a chance to become a starting MACK linebacker in the NFL.

102. Brevin Jordan - TE - Miami (FL)
#9, Jr, 6’3”, 245 lbs
Consensus ranking: 66 (47, 85, 71, 64, 65)
2020 season stats: 38 receptions, 576 receiving yards, 7 receiving TD’s, (8 games)

Ryland B.: Brevin Jordan is an elite athlete at the tight end position, with really good speed and excellent yards-after-catch ability. He’s a little more compactly built than some of the other TE’s in the class, but he still has decent size. As a pass-catcher he’s dynamic, probably only second to Kyle Pitts in receiving ability in this class. He has a good speed and agility combination for someone his size, and his hands are good and consistent for the most part, but he isn’t the greatest in 50/50 ball scenarios. I wouldn’t necessarily call blocking a strength, but he’s solid in that area and shows excellent effort. Overall, Jordan is a great receiving tight end who should be able to contribute right away to an NFL offense. I wouldn’t call him starter material just yet, but he has the work ethic and upside to be something special.

103. Jay Tufele - DL - USC
#78, Jr, 6’2”, 310 lbs
Consensus ranking: 69 (71, 43, 99, 68, 64)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 42, TFL 6.5, Sacks 4.5, FF 0, (13 games)

Ryland B.: Tufele can be a lot of fun to watch. He’s a great athlete, with some of the best burst I’ve seen from a lineman in this class. Tufele’s first step is insanely good, and overall he has excellent mobility and his explosiveness can lead to some highlight reel worthy hits. His rugby background certainly shows up on the football field. He has great size and plays powerfully as well. Tufele’s main problem is consistency, as he can play too high or disappear from plays sometimes. Deciding to opt out of the 2020 season might hurt his draft stock as the consistency questions were certainly not answered.

104. Chris Rumph III - EDGE - Duke
#96, Jr, 6’4”, 235 lbs
Consensus ranking: 107 (94, 120, 63, 150, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 53, TFL 12.5, Sacks 8, PD 1, FF1 , FR 1 (11 games)

steelerfan11: Rumph’s stock seems to be headed in the right direction. I am not the biggest fan of his, but he may be the beneficiary of what most people consider to be a poor class at outside linebacker. My biggest concern with Rumph is his size. I think that he can get stronger once he is in the NFL, but his frame is very small. This allowed opponents to have their way with him in the running game, as he was oftentimes unable to set the edge. He lined up all over the place for Duke and showed his versatility, but he will need to settle into one position in the NFL. He is best suited for a team that plays a lot of subpackage defense and moves their linebackers around.

105. Kary Vincent, Jr. - CB - LSU
#8, Sr, 5’10”, 189 lbs
Consensus ranking: 152 (136, 189, 158, 125, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 9, TFL , PD 1, Int 0, (4 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 59, TFL 2, PD 5, Int 0, (13 games)

steelerfan11: Vincent is a great athlete who has the chance to be an exceptional slot corner at the next level. He has very good speed, loose hips, and great ball skills. While Vincent has the tools to succeed in any coverage, he needs to get better at reading defenses and route combinations better. His size could also be an issue. It does not affect him much in coverage, but he is not a very good run defender, and he needs to become a better tackler. He struggled to wrap up bigger running backs and receivers. There is no denying that he has some things to work on, but the ceiling is very high.

Draft notes: Another popular slot corner option for the Steelers.

107. Tamorrion Terry - WR - Florida State
#5, Jr., 6’4”, 210 lbs
Consensus ranking: 107 (78, NA, 129, 116, NA)
2020 season stats: 23 receptions, 289 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (6 games)

steelerfan11: Terry has dropped significantly on big boards on national sites, but I am not totally sure why. Terry is not the most sure-handed receiver in the world, but I think a lot of his drops are because of poor concentration and adjusting to the football a bit late. I think he can and will improve in that area. Terry’s size and speed make him incredibly difficult to cover on the boundary one-on-one, and his ability to high-point the ball make him an excellent contested catch receiver. His length allows him to create separation vertically, and his agility and footwork make him dangerous after the catch as well. He is raw, but guys with this much size and speed are not usually available in the middle rounds. If he can solve some of the technical issues in his game, he has a chance to be special.

108. Daelin Hayes - EDGE - Notre Dame
#9, Sr, 6’3”, 266 lbs
Consensus ranking: 142 (NA, 163, 77, 185, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 17, TFL 6, Sacks 3, PD 0, FF 2, FR 1, Int 1 (12 games)

steelerfan11: Hayes is the 4-3 version of Joseph Ossai, except he does not have the high ceiling that Ossai has. He is a natural pass rusher and looks very fluid coming around the edge, but his athleticism is not eye-popping. He never eclipsed three sacks in one season at Notre Dame, but he had a good Senior Bowl week which was highlighted by a strip sack in 11-on-11 drills. He is a solid run-blocker and sets the edge well, but there are still questions as to whether he can be a three-down player in the NFL.

Draft notes: Hayes is someone who the Steelers have shown interest in throughout the draft process. He’s a viable option for the third edge rusher spot.

110. Keith Taylor, Jr. - CB - Washington
#8, Sr, 6’3”, 191 lbs
Consensus ranking: 191 (NA, 138, 247, 188, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 9, TFL 0, Sacks 0, FF 0, FR 0, PD 1, Int 0, (3 games)

Necksnation: The depth of this year’s cornerback class will likely push Taylor into Day 3, but there’s a lot to like about the former four-star recruit. He’s a good tackler, and can develop into a great run defender if he can get off blocks with more consistency. In coverage, he plays best in man, and is very good in press. Taylor ran a 4.41 40 yard dash at his pro day, but also only recorded a 33 inch vertical. If he develops, Taylor could be a solid outside corner at the next level.

113. Darius Stills - DL - West Virginia
#56, Sr, 6’1”, 285 lbs
Consensus ranking: 96 (57, 130, NA, 102, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 25, TFL 7.5, Sacks 3.5, FF 1, Int 1, PD 3, (10 games)

steelerfan11: Stills is similar to Jalen Twyman in that nobody seems to be sure where he will fit as an NFL defensive tackle. He is probably best suited as a 3-Technique, but his quickness could allow him to become a solid 5-Tech. His quickness off the snap and violent hands help him to get penetration as a pass-rusher. He also does a good job of winning the battle for leverage and maintaining a good pad level. He has good overall awareness and is very consistent at finishing tackles in the backfield, but he will occasionally take himself out of a play by getting upfield too quickly and overrunning plays that are in obvious rushing situations. Overall, I like the upside he brings and find him to be worth the risk if he is still available on day three.

119. Chuba Hubbard - RB - Oklahoma State
#30, Junior, 6’0”, 208 lbs
2020 season stats: 625 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 4.7 YPC, 8 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown.

Ryland B.: I’ve never really been that big of a fan of Hubbard, but you don’t just run for 2,000 yards in a single season (which Hubbard did as a sophomore) without some talent. But that stellar production faded in 2020, leaving the overall impression of Hubbard as somewhat average. Hubbard’s greatest strength as a runner is his vision, but he also has great speed and elite burst. Hubbard isn’t a very powerful runner, however, and plays smaller than his size, which is always a concern with running backs. He can avoid contact sometimes, running out of bounds instead of trying to gain a few more yards, and doesn’t seem to invite contact the way the other top running backs in this class do. He isn’t great in pass protection or pass-catching, either. All of this isn’t to call Hubbard a bad running back or soft football player, but he just simply isn’t on the same par as some of the other backs this year. Still, his impressive sophomore year shows that Hubbard can be a dynamic weapon, and he’ll definitely be worth a pick at some point in the middle rounds of the draft.

120. Hamsah Nasirildeen - S - Florida State
#23, Sr, 6’4”, 220 lbs
Consensus ranking: 71 (53, 64, NA, 81, 85)
2020 season stats: Tackles 13, Sacks 0, Int 1, PD 1, FF 0, FR 0, (2 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 101, Sacks 1, Int 2, PD 3, FF 3, FR 1, (12 games)

Ryland B.: Nasirildeen is certainly a “tweener” on defense, but it’s likely he’ll still find success in today’s NFL. He’s a big, athletic player who played everywhere from free safety to inside linebacker while at Florida State. What pops up first on tape is Nasirideen’s run-stopping ability. He’s good at diagnosing run plays and getting himself in position to make the hit, and when he does make contact he’s a very physical player. He doesn’t wrap up too well but it’s a fixable issue. And despite being a defensive back, he rarely looked outmatched when playing up near the line of scrimmage. In coverage, Nasirildeen is very athletic but not the most fluid mover, although it is impressive for someone of his size. He’s very effective against tight ends though, who I think he’ll be matched up against a lot in the NFL. Nasirildeen has a very interesting skillset, and if used correctly he could be a very successful defensive weapon in the NFL.

121. Shaka Toney - EDGE - Penn State
#18, Sr, 6’3”, 252 lbs
Consensus ranking: 143 (NA, 166, 138, 126, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 31, TFL 7.5, Sacks 5, PD 4, FF 4, FR 1 (9 games)

steelerfan11: Toney was expected to be overshadowed by Yetur Gross-Matos in 2019 and Jayson Oweh in 2020, but both seasons Toney was the more consistent and more productive player. He has elite quickness off the line of scrimmage, but much like Rumph and Roche, he does not have a big frame. If he is going to become a three-down linebacker, he will have to add weight to help him set the edge better as a run defender. Nonetheless, he will be a good situational player who can excel as a speed rusher.

Draft notes: A Penn State edge rusher who makes a lot of sense for the Steelers with one of their fourth round picks.

123. Derrick Barnes - LB - Purdue
#55, Sr, 6’1”, 245 lbs
Consensus ranking: 249 (NA, 316, 248, 183, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 54, TFL 5.5, Sacks 0, FF 0, FR 0, PD 1, Int 1, (6 games)

Ryland B.: Barnes is a physical, run-stuffing linebacker with more of an old-school feel than the others in this class. He’s a decent athlete, but far from a sure thing in coverage like the others in his class. However, Barnes’ size and intensity make him a force defending the middle of the field, and his sound tackling and short-area explosion are strengths as well. His attitude and ability to defend the run and blitz make Barnes an ideal buck linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. His game is similar to that of Vince Williams, and similarly Barnes could be a valuable mid to late round pick.

Draft notes: Barnes is an old-school linebacker who the Steelers have shown some interest in during the draft process.

124. Seth Williams - WR - Auburn
#18, Jr., 6’3”, 211 lbs
Consensus ranking: 90 (95, 97, NA, 83, 86)
2020 season stats: 47 receptions, 760 receiving yards, 4 receiving TD (11 games)

Ryland B.: Seth Williams is very similar to Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace as a receiver. Williams isn’t the fastest, and has a hard time gaining separation on routes. However, he excels at tough catches and tracking the ball well to go along with his vise-grip hands, even through contact. Williams has better size than Wallace, though, and I think he can be a good contested catch/red zone target in the NFL.

126. Tariq Thompson - S - San Diego State
#14, Sr, 6’0”, 200 lbs
Consensus ranking: 177 (NA, 138, NA, 216, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 41, Sacks 0, Int 1, PD 4, FF 1, FR 1, (8 games)

steelerfan11: If you like versatility and physicality, this is your guy. When I watched San Diego State during the season, it seemed like Thompson was always making plays. He has the speed and fluidity to cover a lot of ground in the secondary, and he is not afraid to hit people. He has the ability to play nickel cornerback and either safety position, which would be a huge plus for the Steelers. Considering that depth is needed at safety and nickel corner, Thompson should definitely be on the Steelers’ radar. I think he will go in the fifth round range, but if he were to fall to round six, the Steelers should be elated. He would actually have a chance to capture Mike Hilton’s former role as the nickel cornerback in Keith Butler’s defense.

127. Hamilcar Rashed - EDGE - Oregon State
#9, Sr, 6’4”, 235 lbs
Consensus ranking: 103 (110, 86, 127, 98, 94)
2020 season stats: Tackles 23, TFL 2, Sacks 0, PD 1, FF 1, FR 0 (7 games)

Ryland B.: Rashed’s 2019 season was incredible, as he garnered 22.5 tackles for loss, leading the nation and being named a First Team All-American. But his 2020 season was a big step back. Known for his high motor and production, Rashed showed neither in 2020, often looking disinterested in the game and spending more time than usual on the sidelines. He only recorded two tackles for loss the entire season, and his lack of polish really showed. Still, there’s reason to hope that Rashed can regain top form in the NFL, as he has incredible athletic upside and has shown the capacity to be both effective and productive when defending the run and rushing the passer. The other major concern with Rashed is his weight, listed only at 235 lbs. However, Rashed has the frame to bulk up and size was never a huge issue for him in college. He’ll probably be limited to a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker, but Rashed has the potential to be an elite pass-rusher on the next level.

128. James Wiggins - S - Cincinnati
#1, Sr, 6’0”, 205 lbs
Consensus ranking: 225 (NA, 265, NA, 185, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 32, Sacks 1, Int 1, PD 7, FF 1, FR 0, (9 games)

Ryland B.: If it wasn’t for the injury concerns, Wiggins would likely be ranked much higher in this class. He tore his ACL in 2019, and despite making a full recovery he suffered some more knee issues later on in the season. When healthy, Wiggins is an excellent athlete at the safety position who is quite the run defender. He tackles well and plays physically. Against the pass, Wiggins has great ball skills and hands, but isn’t the greatest as a free safety despite his athleticism. If injuries don’t derail Wiggins’ career, he has the makings of a quality safety in the NFL.

129. Khalil Herbert - RB - Virginia Tech
#21, Senior, 5’9”, 212 lbs
2020 season stats: 1,182 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 7.7 YPC, 10 receptions, 179 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown.

steelerfan11: Herbert broke out for the Hokies this season, racking up over 1,300 scrimmage yards on 165 touches. He displays good burst and takes excellent angles, but he has not shown the ability to be a good pass protector (he did show improvement at the Senior Bowl, though). He could be a starter down the line, but he needs to show more value on third downs first.

130. Jamie Newman - QB - Wake Forest
#9, Senior 6’4”, 230 lbs.
Consensus Ranking: 149
2020 season: Opted out
2019 season stats (Wake Forest): 2,868 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 574 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns.

steelerfan11: I was disappointed to see Newman opt out of the season, because it would have been interesting to see how he would perform in a pro-style offense. It will take him time to transition to the NFL game, but he has the arm talent and athleticism that will get you excited. He failed to show accuracy on a consistent basis at Wake Forest, which is why he is not ranked higher.

131. D’Ante Smith - OT - East Carolina
Sr, #67, 6’4”, 274 lbs
Consensus ranking: 227 (NA, 333, NA, 121, NA)
2020 season stats: (1 games)
2019 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: The first thing that stands out about Smith is his weight, listed at 274 pounds on most sites. While I think he plays a lot bigger than his listed weight, he’s severely undersized for the position. However, he showed up 20 pounds heavier for the Senior Bowl and played pretty well from what I saw, which is a good sign. On tape, Smith is a mauler who plays with a nasty streak and will block to the whistle. He has good drive and power and a strong initial punch. In pass pro he was solid and showed off some good athleticism. He’s not as technically strong or polished as some of the others in this class, and his smaller school and size could be an issue, but I think Smith is a solid prospect. While trying to find some info on Smith online I came across this interview from The Draft Network with him, which is certainly worth a read.

133. Marquez Stevenson - WR - Houston
#5, Sr., 6’0”, 190 lbs
Consensus ranking: 137 (NA, 214, 99, 97, NA)
2020 season stats: 20 receptions, 307 receiving yards, 4 receiving TD (5 games)

Ryland B.: Stevenson has game-breaking speed, and made a living off of it in college, burning defensive backs consistently for the Houston Cougars for big play after big play. As you can probably guess, his strength is deep routes, where his aforementioned speed would get him plenty of separation while his excellent ball-tracking skills would help him corral deep balls. He has good size for the position as well, and is a dynamic kick returner. Stevenson’s athletic abilities make him a good receiver, but he’s still rather underdeveloped when it comes to his route-running, and he struggles making difficult catches although his hands aren’t much of a concern overall. The other concern with Stevenson is his injury history, as he’s suffered a torn ACL, a broken collarbone, and ankle issues throughout his college career. Still, he’s an incredibly high-upside prospect who could develop into something special at the NFL level.

135. Shi Smith - WR - South Carolina
#13, Sr., 5’10” 190 lbs
Consensus ranking: 191 (NA, 208, 217, 149, NA)
2020 season stats: 57 receptions, 633 receiving yards, 4 receiving TD (9 games)

Ryland B.: Another Senior Bowl riser, Shi Smith might have raised his draft stock a few rounds after a fantastic week in Mobile. He’s not the biggest, but he plays larger than he is and has good, consistent hands. He’s a good route-runner with quickness and great acceleration, getting off of line well on his releases. He has good speed as well, and is fairly elusive after the catch. While mainly used on short and intermediate route concepts in college, Smith is still a above-average deep threat thanks to his speed, while his ball skills have helped him make some circus catches over his career. Despite his smaller size, Smith is quite the receiver and has a lot of athletic upside. He could be a dynamic slot receiver at the next level.

136. Tyler Shelvin - IDL - LSU
#72, So, 6’3”, 346 lbs
Consensus ranking: 84 (104, 55, 78, 90, 93)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 39, TFL 3, Sacks 0, PD 2, (13 games)

Itz JustNoah: Shelvin’s production wasn’t the best in 2019 but he still looked great. He has a lot of power in his push, his hand technique is great and he wraps up well. He may not get after the quarterback but he’s incredible as a run stopper and with proper pass rushing technique he could be very good. I think his upside is high and if the Steelers are looking for a developmental defensive lineman, Shelvin would be great value with one of our 4th round picks.

137. Tyrie Gillespie - S - Missouri
#9, Sr, 6’0”, 210 lbs
Consensus ranking: 182 (133, 204, 239, 152, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 46, TFL 1, Int 0, PD 4, FF 1, (9 games)

steelerfan11: Gillespie is a solid athlete, but the tape is all over the place. He provides solid versatility, but I am not sure if he is good enough at any one position to be a full-time starter in the NFL. He played mostly as a high safety in college, but the results were up and down, and he would have occasional lapses in coverage. He also does not have the greatest ball skills. Gillespie is a good athlete, but I think he is most likely a #3 safety in the NFL.

138. Garrett Wallow - LB - TCU
#30, Sr, 6’2”, 230 lbs
Consensus ranking: 228 (NA, 250, 186, 248, NA)
2020 season stats: Tackles 90, TFL 9, Sacks 3, FF 3, FR 0, PD 1, Int 0, (10 games)

steelerfan11: Wallow is a former safety who has good range but does not have great instincts. He has loose hips and makes zone drops look easy. He has the quickness and change-of-direction skills needed to play man coverage against slot receivers, and he is also an impressive blitzer, which is something that he can provide to an NFL team in year one while he continues to develop the other aspects of his game that are not as polished. While Wallow is a good tackler, he will need to recognize plays faster and process information quicker. That should come with time, but Wallow should still be considered a developmental prospect at this point. I do not see him being a starter in year one, but he can still be useful in subpackages and on special teams.

139. Deonte Brown - G - Alabama
Sr, #65, 6’4’’, 350 lbs
Consensus ranking: 77 (36, 86, 95, 91, 76)
2020 season stats: (13 games)

steelerfan11: Brown has some off-field baggage, and he needs to get his weight under control, but the talent is there. He is an absolute mauler in the run game, displaying excellent strength and awareness. He struggles when he doesn’t lay his hands on the defender first, and he lacks the mobility or agility to get to the second level of the defense. His ceiling is high due to his talent and size, but that size could be a double-edged sword. In my mind, he is a pure boom-or-bust prospect.

140. Kylin Hill - RB - Mississippi State
#8, Senior, 5’11”, 215 lbs
2020 season stats: (Opted out during season) 58 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns, 3.9 YPC, 23 receptions, 237 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown.

Ryland B.: Hill opted out to prep for the NFL Draft partway through the 2020 season, which won’t be a big concern if he can prove that he stayed in shape. He’s a strong runner who finishes plays with good power, always looking for contact. He isn’t the fastest or most elusive, but he has good athleticism, jumping over the pile or even hurdling defenders at times successfully. For more of a power back, Hill is a good receiver out of the backfield, and has good hands along with the ability to track the ball well. Hill’s aggressive running style and solid-all-around athletic profile make him an interesting prospect to watch at the running back position.

141. Dazz Newsome - WR - North Carolina
#5, Sr., 5’11”, 190 lbs
Consensus ranking: 138 (66, 101, 273, 110, NA)
2020 season stats: 54 receptions, 684 receiving yards, 6 receiving TD (12 games)

steelerfan11: Newsome was Mr. Reliable for Sam Howell, grabbing 126 balls in the past two seasons combined. He isn’t the biggest or the fastest, but he has good hands, runs good routes, and creates separation late in the route. He also provides some value as a punt returner. Newsome is best suited in the slot, and he will likely be limited to the slot until he can get stronger. His route-running ability and sure hands could make him an immediate contributor though.

142. Jaylon Moore - OT - Western Michigan
Sr, #76, 6’5” 315 lbs
Consensus ranking: 489 (NA, 489, NA, NA, NA)
2020 season stats: (5 games)

steelerfan11: In some ways, I like Moore’s tape better than I liked Chukwuma Okorafor’s, the last big-time tackle from Western Michigan. Moore’s stock is much lower than Okorafor’s was, but part of it could be due to the outstanding depth of this class. He is very fluid in pass protection, and he is an aggressive run-blocker. His athleticism allows him to overpower defenders in the run game, but he does not always finish his blocks. He also lunges too often, creating balance problems in pass protection. There is a lot of potential here, which is why I think he is worth a day three pick as a developmental starter down the line.

There’s certainly a lot of talented players still on the board, and the Steelers should have lots of options with their late round picks.

Who do you think the Steelers will pick on Day 3? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned to Behind the Steel Curtain for more NFL Draft news and analysis.

Updating the Steelers tight end and offensive line depth chart after Day 2 of the NFL draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 6:30am
Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers addressed two more needs on the offensive side of the ball on the second night of the 2021 NFL draft.

After drafting Pat Freiermuth and Kendrick Green on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft, the Steelers currently have six tight ends and fourteen offensive linemen on the roster. The projected depth chart for these positions for the Steelers is as follows:

Tight Ends
  1. Eric Ebron
  2. Pat Freiermuth
  3. Zach Gentry
  4. Kevin Rader
  5. Dax Raymond
  6. Charles Jones

In 2021, the Steelers carried only two tight ends on the active roster for the majority of the season. Using the practice squad to have another player or two, it’s unclear if the Steelers will follow the same approach this season or not. By taking Freiermuth in the second round of the 2021 draft, he should instantly be inserted at the TE2 position going into the season. With how things sit at the moment, it appears the final four players will be fighting for what will likely be two positions including the practice squad.

Offensive Line
  1. David DeCastro
  2. Chukwuma Okorafor
  3. Zach Banner
  4. Kevin Dotson
  5. B.J. Finney
  6. Joe Haeg
  7. Kendrick Green
  8. J.C. Hassenauer
  9. Rashaad Cowerd
  10. Aviante Collins
  11. Anthony Coyle
  12. Jarron Jones
  13. John Leglue
  14. Brandon Walton

Exactly were players fall when looking at the entire offensive line is quite difficult. With the top five players being the players who will likely be called the starters to begin offseason activities, their exact order is insignificant. The next two players are likely Joe Haeg and the newly drafted Kendrick Green. Both players should have ample opportunity to move into the starting lineup should they prove they are the best option. Additionally, J.C. Hassenauer and Rasheed Coward have starting experience and are likely the next two guys who could earn a spot.

Of the final five players on the list, Aviante Collins is the only one who has actually appeared in an NFL game although he is new to the Steelers. The other four players were all on the Steelers 2020 practice squad at some point.

Although the Steelers have a good number of players at the position, don’t be surprised if they add another offensive lineman who is drafted on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL draft or as an undrafted free agent. The Steelers typically carry either eight or nine offensive linemen on the active roster during the regular season as well as several on the practice squad.

Podcast: Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kendrick Green

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 5:30am

The Steelers selected Kendrick Green with the 87th pick in the NFL Draft. Join BTSC for a special roundtable podcast to welcome to Pittsburgh.

After the Steelers took Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Steelers got them protection with center Kendrick Green. With help from some BTSC friends, Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield, Matt Peverell and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the pick of Kendrick Green on the latest episode of the BTSC post-NFL Draft podcast.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

2021 NFL Draft: Day 3 Schedule, how to watch, streaming information and more

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 5:00am
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All the information to watch or listen to Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft over a variety of platforms

Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft is in the books. While it might not have gone in the expected order, the Steelers addressed needs at running back, tight end, and the offensive line.

But they aren’t even halfway done. The Steelers are scheduled to have five more picks on day three of the NFL draft. Where will they go this time? Will defense be the next selection, or will the offensive side of the ball continue to dominate their draft?

So you don’t miss any of the action, listed below is the schedule for Day 3 of this year’s NFL draft, which rounds will be drafted and the various places you can watch or listen to the draft.

2021 NFL Draft Schedule TV: ABC, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes Online: Fubo (Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire draft), Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Hulu with live TV
ESPN app or ESPN+: Click HERE to watch LIVE!
Paramount+: Click HERE
Peacock: Click HERE Radio (Nationally): SiriusXM, Westwood One, ESPN Radio
Radio (Locally): Steelers Nation Radio— Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com or on the Steelers Official Mobile App. Saturday May 1, 2021

12 PM EST Rounds 4 through 7 (picks 106- 259)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing a live broadcast on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel following each pick. With the Steelers scheduled to have two picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, the YouTube shows will run through the second selection in those rounds. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcast. Just like the first two days, there will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Watch Kendrick Green’s welcome to the Steelers and his first press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 11:17pm
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Check out the first look at Kendrick Green as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their guy in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected Kendrick Green, interior offensive lineman out of Illinois. After the pick was made, Steelers fans were excited to welcome the newest member of the organization. Some of the organizational excitement was caught on tape, and is worth sharing.

Check out Green’s message to the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful:

@The_fridge53 pic.twitter.com/1ArQirjuzn

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Outside of the warm welcome to the Steelers faithful, the Steelers new offensive line coach, Adrian Klemm, took questions from the media as they talked about Green as a prospect, expectations for the new lineman and what the Steelers fans should know about the Illinois interior offensive linemen.

#LIVE: Round 3 Pick Analysis and Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL https://t.co/BKwEEphTvX

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here is Missi Matthews of Steelers.com talking to Green about what it feels like to be a member of the Steelers:

I really enjoyed chatting with @The_fridge53 after he got the call from Coach Tomlin. Welcome to the #Steelers! pic.twitter.com/x3nMymsVfG

— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) May 1, 2021

And, of course, an interior offensive lineman has to hear from a future Hall of Fame guard, right? Check out Alan Faneca welcoming Green to Pittsburgh:

From: @afan66
To: @The_fridge53 pic.twitter.com/L8Bxpq3w2m

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Maybe the best part of the evening, and third round pick, was when Green’s name was announced. No, not because of Green’s name, but because the legendary rapper DMC had a lot to say to the Cleveland Browns fans in attendance. Nothing I type can give it justice, so check it out below for yourself:

Best #NFLDraft pick announcement ever?

It’s like that. That’s the way it is.@THEKINGDMC | @The_fridge53 | : 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL pic.twitter.com/GY05KcORGl

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers taking Kendrick Green in Round 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 10:07pm
Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier, Lafayette Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

One BTSC writer shares his initial and real time unadulterated reactions to the Steelers third selection of the 2021 NFL draft.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game. It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during the NFL Draft.

  • I am now a little lost after round two. I trust that I am not seeing the full picture the coaches and front office are seeing.
  • Not sure what to expect in this round.
  • John Randall looks like he could still be playing.
  • Good to see Anthony Munoz out there. Love that guy. Too bad he was a Bengal.
  • Getting close to pick 87. What are they going to do?
  • Was thinking Steelers would go OL in first or second round. They didn't do that. Maybe now?
  • Steelers on the clock.
  • Love that Daryl McDaniels is announcing the pick. He is even busting out a rhyme.
  • They go center/guard. Kendrick Green from Illinois.
  • Need addressed. Might have been a round about way of getting there but I trust Colbert to make the right decisions.
  • Going to call it a night. Back tomorrow to cover rounds four through seven.

There you have it, my knee jerks. I’m going to sleep on these and see how how I feel about them in the morning, and then on to day three.

For more information on this pick, check out the breaking news podcast below:

Steelers select center Kendrick Green with 3rd round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 10:07pm
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected center Kendrick Green with their 3rd round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 4 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Illinois center Kendrick Green, with their third pick in the draft.

The Steelers select Kendrick Green, C, Illinois. Love that pick. He's nasty.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Green as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Durable three-year starter with above-average initial quickness. Capable of playing guard or center, Green’s lateral get-off makes him a natural fit for teams heavy into outside zone as a primary run scheme. He can get to play-side reach and back-side cuts and he specializes in washing his defender out of the play once he’s engaged on the move. He plays a little too upright at times and lacks the length and drive power in his lower half to move one-on-one blocks around with adequate sustain. The run blocking will stand out to evaluators, but recognition inconsistencies in pass protection might cause some concerns. His center/guard flexibility is an advantage and teams could go either way with how they want to use him. Green has the potential to become a starter at the next level.

Strengths

  • Offers guard and center starting experience.
  • Off the ball in a hurry, gaining lateral ground with ease.
  • Impressive ability to reach and wall-off from a gap away.
  • Accelerates through contact, creating wash-down momentum.
  • Pushes down-block out of the gap.
  • Short-area quickness allows for tighter schedule on combos.
  • Play-switch energy and fire from snap to whistle.
  • Above-average getting into space on screen blocks.
  • Resets his hands in order to gather pass rusher in front of him.
  • Reactive athleticism to make sudden cut-offs in pass pro.

Weaknesses

  • Too straight-legged up to second level.
  • Inaccurate radar landing on pull and climb targets.
  • Unable to neutralize power when heads up.
  • Defenders are able to separate and play off his blocks.
  • Shorter arms make block sustain a challenge.
  • Struggled to dissect gaming fronts in 2019.
  • Gets glued to twist action and misses incoming rusher.
  • Overextends, allowing edge to soften.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: inside linebacker, cornerback, outside linebacker, among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

For more information on this pick, check out the breaking news podcast below:

2021 NFL Draft: Day 2 Steelers news, updates and open thread, Part 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 9:35pm
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Be sure to stay in tune with the Steelers for Day 2 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft is HERE!! No more mock drafts. No more breakdowns. No more educated guesses. No more scenarios.

No, it is time to sit back and see who the Steelers select in Rounds 2 and 3, as the Pittsburgh Steelers have two picks, one in each round.

If you need information on the upcoming event, here is some solid stuff for you below:

2021 NFL Draft Schedule TV: ABC, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes Online: Fubo (Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire draft), Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Hulu with live TV
ESPN app or ESPN+: Click HERE to watch LIVE! Radio (Nationally): SiriusXM, Westwood One, ESPN Radio
Radio (Locally): Steelers Nation Radio— Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com or on the Steelers Official Mobile App. Friday April 30, 2021

7 PM EST Rounds 2 & 3 (picks 33- 105)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing live broadcasts on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel Friday night for a recap and breakdown after each pick. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcasts. There will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Saturday May 1, 2021

12 PM EST Rounds 4 through 7 (picks 106- 259)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing a live broadcast on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel following each pick. With the Steelers scheduled to have two picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, the YouTube shows will run through the second selection in those rounds. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcast. Just like the first two days, there will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Steelers draft picks in each round:

Here are the selections the Steelers are scheduled to make in the 2021 draft:

Round 1

Pick 24

Round 2

Pick 55

Round 3

Pick 87

Round 4

Pick 128

Pick 140

Round 5

None

Round 6

Pick 216

Round 7

Pick 245

Pick 254

Podcast: Welcome to Pittsburgh, Pat Freiermuth

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 9:35pm

The Steelers selected Pat Freiermuth with the 55th pick in the NFL Draft. Join BTSC for a special roundtable podcast to welcome to Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to bolster their offensive firepower by selecting a tight end. It’s Pat Freiermuth from Penn State. With help from some BTSC friends, Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield, Michael Beck and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the pick of PSU’s Pat Freiermuth on the latest episode of the BTSC post-NFL Draft podcast.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Watch Pat Freiermeuth’s welcome to the Steelers and his first press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 9:04pm
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Check out the first look at Pat Freiermeuth as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their guy in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected Pat Freiermeuth, tight end out of Penn State. After the pick was made, Steelers fans were excited to welcome the newest member of the organization. Some of the organizational excitement was caught on tape, and is worth sharing.

Check out Freiermeuth’s message to the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful:

Let's get to work, @pat_fry5 pic.twitter.com/lkq42DWblF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Harris was spending the evening at a draft party in Oakland, CA and the Steelers media was able to speak with the talented running back during his party. You’ll even see Marcus Peters, cornerback of the Baltimore Ravens, crash Harris’ press conference at one point.

Needless to say, Harris isn’t just a tremendous player, but seems to be every bit the tremendous person.

#LIVE: Round 2 Pick Analysis and Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL https://t.co/eph5sPrN3f

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

If you want to hear what new tight end coach Alfredo Roberts had to think about a tight end being the team’s second pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, look no further. I think it is easy to say he really like this prospect, and the two clearly hit it off at the Penn Stat Pro Day this past spring.

'The energy he exudes, he is a serious but fun guy. He has position flexibility. He is going to be kind of a throwback tight end because he can play the position, he can do multiple things.' - TE Coach Alfredo Roberts on @pat_fry5

More: https://t.co/nlR3hHSd4k pic.twitter.com/f1iK6ZY3o8

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) May 1, 2021

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the rest of Day 2 and Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers taking Pat Freiermuth in Round 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 8:14pm
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

One BTSC writer shares his initial and real time unadulterated reactions to the second pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2021 NFL draft.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game. It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Might as well say it... Cleveland still sucks.
  • Franco Harris’ moves! (On a Chuck Noll Super Bowl Team)
  • Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC sporting the Steelers jersey
  • Who will be the first player to just miss being a first-round pick? Cornerback Tyson Campbell from Georgia.
  • Give up a 4th and get a 6th to move up five spots? I’d move up to grab someone for that cost.
  • There is one center that won't be playing for the Steelers this year as Landon Dickerson was just drafted by the Eagles.
  • My goodness there is trading of draft picks going on all over the place. I can hardly keep track of who's picking where right now.
  • Been a lot of offensive linemen coming off the board.
  • I hate the Cowboys....why do they always show their war room and Drew Pearson almost enters Cliff Harris territory with that way to long intro to get to their pick.
  • I know who I want the Steelers to get, just hoping they are still on the board after seven more picks.
  • Kelvin Beachum still looks like he’s 15. Does that dude age at all?
  • Still there, but Cleveland just traded up, will they try and steal my pick?
  • Although I like the idea of the Macho Fan, he's a Browns fan so he sucks.
  • My guy is still there......only one more pick to dodge then do the Steelers take him?
  • Steelers on the clock! Come on Kevin Colbert, draft my guy!
  • Franco!!!!!!
  • Nooooooooo!!!!! Why not Creed Humphrey? We needed a bruising center there.
  • Why a TE 2 in round two? Got to wonder what the brain trust is thinking there.
  • Pat Freiermuth from Penn St is now the next member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • This one would look better if we had taken OL in first round.
  • On to pick number three. See you all again shortly.

There you have it, my knee jerks. I’m going to sleep on these and see how how I feel about them in the morning, and then on to day three.

Check out more on this pick in the breaking news podcast below:

Steelers select Pat Freiermuth with 2nd round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 8:14pm
Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth with their 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 2 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth, with their second pick in the draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers take Pat Freiermuth
Penn State TE with pick 55

— Kevin Winter (@KevinPWinter) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Freiermuth as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Big, athletic tight end with the potential to be a combo player at the position, helping as a run blocker and pass catcher. Freiermuth needs to tighten up his technique as a run blocker but his foot quickness and agility led to some splashy recoveries and block finishes that foreshadow his future potential. He’s athletic and has good build-up speed down the seam to attack the second level. However, he’s average in separating underneath. Will need to do a better job of accessing his basketball background and putting a body on defenders to “block out” and create space for the throw. He’ll need to have his season-ending injury vetted, but he has Day 2 talent for teams looking to bolster their 12 personnel package or add production from their Y tight end.

Strengths

  • Two-year team captain who does not lack in self-confidence.
  • Balanced his time between wing, slot and in-line tight end.
  • Coveted combination of size and athletic ability.
  • Former basketball player with quality feet in space for a big man.
  • Displayed ability to keep one-hand touches alive for the catch.
  • Big target for chain-moving throws on third down.
  • Has build-up speed to climb past linebackers into seam.
  • Highly competitive with ball in his hands.
  • Smooth in space and stacks downhill yards after the catch.
  • Pummels tacklers with phone pole stiff-arm.
  • Has size and blocking potential to become a true Y tight end.
  • Makes impressive athletic recoveries and finishes blocks.

Weaknesses

  • Can improve his angles as a blocker.
  • Needs better first-engagement pop.
  • Inconsistent footwork to sustain second-level blocks.
  • Slowed by physical coverage.
  • Needs to clear clingy defender at the top of the route.
  • Average quickness to separate on lateral route breaks.
  • Inconsistent catch focus to finish in traffic.
  • Can do a better job of putting defenders on his hip and out of the catch.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: center, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

Check out more on this pick in the breaking news podcast below:

Najee Harris picks his Steelers jersey number

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 7:00pm
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ top draft pick has claimed his jersey number!!

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently nearing their selections on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft, but Najee Harris is just getting comfortable in the black and gold. As Harris traveled to Pittsburgh Friday to meet coaches and staff, he was also given the chance to pick his first jersey number as a professional.

The decision?

The same number he wore as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide. No. 22.

2️⃣2️⃣

Preorder your @ohthatsNajee22 jersey now: https://t.co/9CUR8f3Yel pic.twitter.com/ACjsyFxVFM

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 30, 2021

No. That isn’t “Big Play” William Gay, it is Harris giving fans their first look of his brand new threads.

It isn’t a surprise Harris is sticking with his college number, and I have a feeling fans will be more than willing to pony up the money to get the rookie’s jersey when he is terrorizing the AFC North, and the NFL, in the 2021 season and beyond.

The Steelers aren’t done with their picks yet, in fact they still have seven picks to make, and even though Harris claiming his jersey numbers seems premature, the other rookies won’t have as easy of a time getting the number they may want. However, the new jersey rules might make it easy for new players to find the number they like, or wore previously.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of the 2021 NFL Draft and the upcoming 2021 regular season.

2021 NFL Draft: Day 2 Steelers news, updates and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 5:45pm
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Be sure to stay in tune with the Steelers for Day 2 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft is HERE!! No more mock drafts. No more breakdowns. No more educated guesses. No more scenarios.

No, it is time to sit back and see who the Steelers select in Rounds 2 and 3, as the Pittsburgh Steelers have two picks, one in each round.

If you need information on the upcoming event, here is some solid stuff for you below:

2021 NFL Draft Schedule TV: ABC, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes Online: Fubo (Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire draft), Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Hulu with live TV
ESPN app or ESPN+: Click HERE to watch LIVE! Radio (Nationally): SiriusXM, Westwood One, ESPN Radio
Radio (Locally): Steelers Nation Radio— Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com or on the Steelers Official Mobile App. Friday April 30, 2021

7 PM EST Rounds 2 & 3 (picks 33- 105)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing live broadcasts on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel Friday night for a recap and breakdown after each pick. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcasts. There will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Saturday May 1, 2021

12 PM EST Rounds 4 through 7 (picks 106- 259)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing a live broadcast on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel following each pick. With the Steelers scheduled to have two picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, the YouTube shows will run through the second selection in those rounds. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcast. Just like the first two days, there will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Steelers draft picks in each round:

Here are the selections the Steelers are scheduled to make in the 2021 draft:

Round 1

Pick 24

Round 2

Pick 55

Round 3

Pick 87

Round 4

Pick 128

Pick 140

Round 5

None

Round 6

Pick 216

Round 7

Pick 245

Pick 254

Know your new Steelers enemies after Day 1 of the 2021 Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 3:30pm
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With the Steelers welcoming new players to hopefully strengthen their team, so will their chief rivals. Take a look at who the Steelers’ AFC North rivals added on Day One and who may haunt Pittsburgh in coming years.

Steeler Nation waited in torture on Thursday and Day 1 of the 2021 Draft to select Najee Harris, they watched closely to see who their AFC North rivals would select to improve their squad. Last year, Joe Burrow, Jedrick Wills and Patrick Queen entered the fray the first day. Here are the guys the Steelers will see twice a year for a good while.

Round 1, Pick 5 Cincinnati Bengals select Ja’Marr Chase - LSU Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

6’0”/208 lbs.

2019 Stats: 84 Rec, 1,780 Yards, 21.2 YPC, 20 TDs

The Bengals got Joe Burrow another weapon in the first round, but they ignored getting their quarterback the protection that he so dearly needs. What they did do is get a dominant combat-catch receiver to add to Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. This is going to be a dynamic offense if they can keep Burrow clean.

Round 1, Pick 26 Cleveland Browns select CB Greg Newsome II - Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

6’1”/190 lbs.

2020 Stats: 12 Tackles, 9 Pass Defenses, 1 interception

Cleveland have solid cornerbacks in the persons of Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. The addition of late riser Greg Newsome on adds to the stable of shutdown corners in Cleveland. Bad new for the Steelers, but it would have read worse if Zaven Collins ended up in “The Land”.

Round 1, Pick 27 Baltimore Ravens select WR Rashod Bateman - Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

6’2”/210 lbs.

2020 Stats: 36 Rec, 472 Yards, 13.1 YPC, 2 TDs

The Ravens have had an explosive offense for the past couple of seasons, but that was courtesy of running the ball very well. The passing game has been suspect and B-more attempts once again to make an impact out wide, Will Bateman be just another failed pick or will his great size and route-running ability make the difference that Charm City football craves?

Round 1, Pick 31 Baltimore Ravens select EDGE Jayson Oweh - Penn State Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

6’5”/252 lbs.

2020 Stats: 38 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 1 passes defense, 0 fumble recoveries, 0 forced fumbles

Oweh is a sensational athlete with astounding size, but doesn’t rack up the sacks in the manner in which you would think. He has an incredible high motor and could help add more toughness to the Ravens.

Will Chase, Newsome, Bateman and Oweh be names in the Steelers-Bengals, Steelers-Ravens and Steelers-Browns rivalry and victimize Pittsburgh for years to come or will they be just another victim of the black and gold? We will see.

Todd McShay calls the Steelers’ pick of Najee Harris the biggest “glaring need” in the draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 2:30pm
Mickey Welsh via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ top draft pick was labeled as a big win for the black and gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ global fan base was waiting anxiously to see who their favorite team would take, and as the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft got underway fans were glued to their television sets to see how the draft board started to break. What happened was something no one envisioned.

Players like Alex Leatherwood and Zaven Collins were drafted well ahead of expectations, and this turned the entire draft upside down. Suddenly, the 24th pick was approaching, and the Steelers suddenly had options.

Chrisitan Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins were both still on the board, and dynamic defender Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (JOK) was also still available. Fans were wondering which direction the team would be heading, considering at one point all everyone was talking about was the running back position.

They ended up selecting Najee Harris out of Alabama, and ESPN’s NFL Draft expert Todd McShay declared the pick the best addressing a “glaring need” of all the picks in Round 1. See what he had to say below:

Which team best addressed a glaring need?

The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of their running back position in a big way, landing one of the top two in the draft at No. 24. Alabama’s Najee Harris has power, speed and size, and I really liked the decisiveness he showed during his final college season. He is excellent between the tackles as a runner, but he will also play a role in the pass game and effectively help out in pass protection.

The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry ranked last in the NFL last season, and then their lead back — James Conner — signed elsewhere. Benny Snell Jr., who rushed for only 368 yards on 111 carries in 2020, was atop the depth chart. The Pittsburgh offense faded down the stretch last season, as a once 11-0 team finished at 12-4, and the lack of a run game was a big part of the problem. During the first five games of the season, the team’s top rusher broke 100 yards four times. During the final five games, a running back broke 40 yards just one time.

Harris is a three-down back who can immediately solve the issues at the position and provide the Steelers with something they’ve been missing.

What do you think about McShay’s commentary of the Steelers’ top pick? Do you think the Steelers just filled a need, or did they get a playmaker who can help the offense get even better? Can Harris not just be another guy, but the guy? Can Harris start from Day 1?

All of these questions remain, and will until training camp begins, but the Steelers are far from done in the 2021 NFL Draft. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of the draft.

Stock Report: See whose stock is rising, and falling, after drafting Najee Harris

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 1:30pm
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Whose stock went up, and whose stock went down on day one of the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Steelers Stock Report is here to give you updates on trends and events that are likely to affect the team in the future. There are few events that affect an NFL team as much as a first round pick. With the Steelers selection of Najee Harris in the 2021 NFL Draft, what ripples does that send through the organization? The Steeler Stock Report is here for that exact reason.

Stock Up: Running back

The Steelers running back room just got a lot better. There’s no denying that. Najee Harris was the top running back in this class, and he will immediately take over as the primary back in the Steelers offense. With James Conner gone the running back room looked to be led by Benny Snell who ran for 426 yards in his rookie year, and ran for less than that last season. Whether you wanted a running back in the first round or not, it is clear that Najee Harris upgrades the position instantly.

Stock Down: Benny Snell

It follows that Benny Snell’s stock just took a nose dive. Mike Tomlin loves feature backs, and he got one. Najee Harris is a three down back and that means Benny Snell’s work will be spot work, and he has been terrible in that role. In his first two seasons when Benny Snell got at least 10 carries in a game he averaged 4.43 yards per carry. When he got less than 10 carries? 1.87 yards per carry. With James Conner in front of him Benny Snell didn’t get a lot of chances to be that main running back. The drafting of Najee Harris means Snell will have even less opportunity in the future, and his role as a backup runner and spot reliever may be in jeopardy, because he is so bad in that role.

Stock Up: The legacy of Le’Veon Bell

I’m not talking about the drama that surrounded Le’Veon Bell’s final years here, but the unique style of runner that he was, and his role in the offense. Reading a scouting report of Najee Harris might sound familiar. Great vision, patience to allow blocks to open lanes, enough size and power to break arm tackles, lower top speed, good route running and really good hands making him a threat as a receiver not just out of the backfield but as a major part of the passing offense. Najee Harris and Le’Veon Bell are different people, Najee Harris isn’t Le’Veon Bell, but it feels like the Steelers saw a chance to get a player who could fill the same roles Le’Veon Bell filled and they took it. When Kevin Colbert said “Najee is as complete a back as we could hope to get,” it sounds like they got their replacement for the back that walked away from a long term deal here.

Stock Down: Analytics

You can read about it lots of places, and hear about it even more, drafting a running back in the first round isn’t worth it. The position isn’t worth it, the career value is too short, you can find better runners later in the draft. . .

The Steelers didn’t listen. Time will tell if they were right to do so, but one thing is clear, when it comes to analytics telling the Steelers what to do, they do not care.

Stock Up: -Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner

The major problem with taking a running back in the first round was how much more difficult it will be to find both a center and tackle that can start in their first season. With center looking like a much bigger need than tackle, the Steelers passing on Tevin Jenkins to draft a running back shows that the Steelers are comfortable putting themselves in a position where both Okorafor and Banner are the likely starters in 2021. That is a pretty good show of faith, as Okorafor has yet to win a starting job, he has only starter because of injury, and while Banner won the right tackle job in 2020, his first game at the position was not only his first NFL start, it was his only NFL to this point, and he will be coming off an injury in 2021.

Stock Down: Upgrading the offensive line

It isn’t just tackle either, there are no guarantees that a top center will be available at pick #55. Upgrading the offensive line is now something that the Steelers have to hope they can do, not something they know they can do. Steeler fans saw in 2020 how important depth on the line was, as rookie Kevin Dotson, backup Chuks Okorafor, and third string center JC Hassenauer all started at least 4 games, and the Steelers offense was worst when they had to start Hassenauer. Quality backups on the offensive line turn into injury replacement starters frequently.

Stock Up: Art Rooney II’s statements

This offseason wasn’t the first time Art Rooney II talked about the run game being a priority, but before this draft those statements led to the same old strategy of using mid round picks on lineman and running backs. That was not the case in the 2021 draft. Mike Tomlin went out of his way at their pre-draft press conference to point out that Art Rooney is the boss, and then he and Kevin Colbert went out and got the best running back in the draft, and you can’t do more than that to show you are listening to the boss.

Steelers Nation shares their thoughts on the Steelers first round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 1:00pm
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Steelers fans had a wide range of emotions when it came to the addition of Najee Harris

Najee Harris is a Pittsburgh Steeler, and just about everyone that follows this team has some sort of opinion about it. From celebrities to the average fan tweets, comments, and posts were being shared at record pace. While most of the social media was fairly positive toward the pick, with anything you find the good, the bad, and the ugly. Only time will tell which side was right. But as for now let’s take a look at some of the best fan reaction to the Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick.

The Good

And there's your offensive rookie of the year.

Kevin Colbert, I love you.

— ً (@utdrobbo) April 30, 2021

BOOM!! GREAT PICK, WELCOME TO THE BURGH https://t.co/WmPNSdVp3l

— Billy Gardell (@BillyGardell) April 30, 2021

Yes! Najee22 all the way to the steel Curtain backfield.

— Curtis Maxwell (@DjcurtC) April 30, 2021

Great pick by my Steelers baby!!! Congrats @ohthatsNajee22 Ground Game is back baby!!! Super Bowl!!

— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) April 30, 2021

Najee Harris is a Pittsburgh Steeler

— Ellie Finnerty (@elliefinnerty) April 30, 2021

With any first round pick you're bound to see heaps of positivity. General Manager Kevin Colbert has hit on so many draft picks that he has earned that right. The Steelers were also able to address a big need with a very popular player amongst fans. All in all this reaction was expected — who knew Draymond Green was a Steelers fan...

The Meh

i dont want it i’m sorry

— joe (@FizzyJoe) April 30, 2021

OK so, who's gonna block for him?

— George (@GS09395) April 30, 2021

Well that about does it. Go buy your Najee Harris jersey.

— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) April 30, 2021

Some just wanted the Steelers to go in another direction which is totally fine. Sure the Steelers can back this pick up with supporting picks but this group wanted the Steelers to address the other holes first. How did Poni get in there..?

The Ugly

drafting a running back in the first round doesn't make any sense.

— Tark (@Tark_mexeira) April 30, 2021

You would think our FO would be smarter than this. We're the Giants now.

— Goonsberry (@zstansbe) April 30, 2021

Bad pick. You don’t draft a RB in the 1st round. Especially when you need OC, LB, and QB. #CmonMan #Steelers #BadPick

— Todd Blues Nole (@FSUKXAZ) April 30, 2021

This group hates that a running back went in the first round. They see the needs at hand and wanted the team to address those far before a running back.

But what do you think? How did you react when the Steelers announced Najee Harris as their first round draft pick? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Winners and Losers after the Steelers first round pick of Najee Harris

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 12:30pm
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have their man, and it is time to take a look at some winners and losers after Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who rarely finds themselves befuddled during the course of an NFL Draft. The 2021 NFL Draft was no different. When the Steelers’ pick came up at No. 24, they wasted little time making their pick.

Alabama RB, Najee Harris.

Immediately, from the moment the pick was made, a ripple effect took place throughout the Steelers organization. Some will benefit from the pick, while others will be on the losing side of the selection.

This is where the winners and losers column comes into play. I go through who could be labeled as ‘winners’ after the pick of Harris, and those who could be labeled ‘losers’.

Let’s get down to it...

Winners

Najee Harris
Why: This is a no-brainer. Harris wasn’t just a first round pick, but he was the first running back taken in the draft. The pick right after the Steelers at No. 25, the Jacksonville Jaguars, took Travis Etienne, so those who think the Steelers could have waited and gotten their guy, you might have to reconsider this to be truth. Harris will have every opportunity to prove himself, and the hope is the Steelers put him in a position to succeed by committing to the run more. Harris and the Steelers are a great fit.

Adrian Klemm
Why: Klemm takes over the offensive line and he gets a new shiny running back to go with his position group. Sure, the hope is the Steelers will still address the offensive line in the coming rounds, but Klemm getting a quality back will only help improve the running game. By proxy, the team improving the running game will be a positive reflection on Klemm as a coach. A win-win for the first time offensive line coach.

Art Rooney II
Why: AR2 wanted to improve the running game, and you just knew the Steelers were going to make a bold statement. Remember, just because everyone knew the Steelers wanted Harris doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bold statement. This message was sent loud and clear to the organization and the fan base, we want to run the ball better. Rooney has made some significant changes this offseason, now he has to hope they pay off.

Ben Roethlisberger
Why: When people think about Roethlisberger potentially winning a Super Bowl in the waning years of his career, they compare him to Peyton Manning or John Elway with the Broncos. What did both of those quarterbacks have when they won late in their careers? A running game. The Steelers taking Harris shows the commitment to the running game, and after 2020 you would have to think Roethlisberger isn’t upset with the pick. He should be happy, after all throwing the ball 40+ a week didn’t lead to success.

Zach Banner / Chuks Okorafor
Why: The Steelers could have taken Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins, who wasn’t drafted in the first round, but instead went with the running back. If Jenkins was the pick it would have sent a shot across the bow of Banner and Okorafor. Nonetheless, they leave Day 1 unscathed, will Day 2 be more of the same? Only time will tell...

Matt Canada
Why: Mike Tomlin said the team’s scheme wasn’t good last year (insert Randy Fichtner under bus tires). Canada now gets a first round running back, and arguably the best running back in the draft, to help improve this aspect of the Steelers’ offense. If the team is able to find some valuable talent along the offensive line in the coming days, Canada won’t have personnel to blame if the running game falls flat on its face again.

Mock Drafters
Why: Everyone and their cousin knew the Steelers were interested in Harris, and all the draftnik mock drafters were in love with mocking Harris to the Steelers. Count this as one of the few they got right. While they sit in their mom’s basement at their computer they have to be grinning from ear to ear.

Losers

Benny Snell / Jaylen Samuels
Why: As much as Harris being a winner is a no-brainer, Snell and Samuels saw their hopes of having a significant role with the team decrease. In fact, it now is a battle for both of these players to even make the team in 2021. I believe one, but not both, will be on the roster when the regular season rolls around. Who will it be? The better man will out perform the other...should be a good battle.

Other hopeful rookie RBs
Why: Plenty of fans were fans of other running backs in the draft, and players like North Carolina’s Javonte Williams had openly talked about the Steelers as a potential landing spot. That is at thing of the past at this point, and running backs like Williams are still out there wondering which team will take a shot at drafting him on Day 2.

Adrian Klemm
Why: Wait, wasn’t Klemm on the winners list? He was! And he is also on the losers list, but for different reasons. Klemm could have gotten Jenkins, who would have dramatically improved the team’s running game, but the organization went with the ball carrier. All position coaches are going to want their position group to get priority in the draft, in this case Klemm didn’t get what he wanted. This will put more of an emphasis on his coaching in 2021 unless the Steelers can add some serious talent on Days 2 and 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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