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The Mega Mock Draft: A compilation of every analyst’s view of the 24th pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 3:00pm
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

A look at what we expect the Steelers to do with the 24th pick from our staff, to the local media, and the national draft analysts.

We are counting down the final minutes before the Steelers make their first selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. With everyone presenting the final editions of their mock drafts, I compiled a list of as many mock drafts as I could. Before you is a hub of every local, and national media members 24th picks as well as the stuff from us here at Behind the Steel Curtain. Check it out!

National Media Mocks: ESPN:

Todd McShay: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Teven Jenkins is tempting here. He’s a mauler on the offensive line, and the Steelers must rebuild that unit from the ground up. Ultimately, I went in a different direction because the lineman class is deep — I have more than a dozen in this mock — and running back is just as much of a concern. Harris is a powerful back who is nearly impossible to stop between the tackles. The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry ranked dead last in the NFL last season, and it doesn’t appear that James Conner is returning, currently leaving the rushing to an unproven group of Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Kalen Ballage and Jaylen Samuels. Let’s get an impact running back.

My Steelers pick for the ESPN NFL Nation Mock Draft...Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 28, 2021

Mel Kiper: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
“The Steelers could go with an offensive lineman here, as center Maurkice Pouncey retired, tackle Matt Feiler left in free agency and free-agent tackle Alejandro Villanueva is still unsigned. But I’d love to see Harris in this offense to take the pressure off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He could grind down defenses as a runner and help in the short passing game. If Harris goes in Round 1, he’ll be the fifth Alabama running back picked in the first round since 2000. The others: Josh Jacobs (2019), Trent Richardson (2012), Mark Ingram (2011) and Shaun Alexander (2000). Notably absent is Derrick Henry, who was a second-round pick in 2016 and somehow just had an underrated 2,000-yard campaign.”

NFL Network:

Bucky Brooks: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Adding speed and athleticism to an already-fast defense would give the Steelers a decided advantage over opponents opting to spread it out. Davis is a playmaker with instincts, awareness and ball-hawk ability.

Daniel Jeremiah: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
There’s a lot of buzz about Najee Harris going to the Steelers, but Pittsburgh opts to fill a hole on the front five before finding a running back to help an offense that ranked last in rushing in 2020.

My 2021 Mock Draft will deliver 18-25 correct picks. #BookIt

— Marc Sessler (@MarcSessler) April 28, 2021

Peter Schrager: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
There hasn’t been as much press for Stokes as we’ve seen for some of the other top corners in this draft, but he can definitely play. Perhaps the fastest CB in this class, he can cover a ton of ground. Pittsburgh could address its run game woes in Rounds 2-4

Chad Reuter: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Humphrey has everything a team would want in a center: He has strong hands (from his wrestling days), is athletic enough to move in space as well as provide plus pass protection, and will be the leader of the line. The Steelers need that sort of guy to replace the retired Maurkice Pouncey.

Charley Casserly: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Pittsburgh is the perfect spot for Fields to develop behind a Hall of Fame quarterback for a year before taking over the offense.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Missouri
As much as Pittsburgh needs help along the O-line and in the backfield, Mike Tomlin can’t help but draft a pass rusher resembling the departed Bud Dupree. Ojulari is great at the point of contact and should be a Day 1 contributor.

Rhett Lewis: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The immense need along the offensive line and GM Kevin Colbert’s admission this offseason that the run game must improve would seem to trump the Steelers’ recent trend of going defense in the first round. (Offensive guard David DeCastro, selected back in 2012, was the last offensive player taken in Round 1 by Pittsburgh.) Jenkins isn’t a perfect prospect, but a nasty run blocker could be just what the doctor ordered to help bring the rushing attack back to Steelers standards as the team tries to get another year out of veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger.


Ryan Wilson: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
The Steelers could go OL, RB or CB here. But given the way the board fell they opt for pass rusher. Oweh is raw but has the physical tools the Steelers covet, and in a few years we could be talking about him the way we were talking about Bud Dupree once he grew into his role.

Chris Trapasso: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Farley falls slightly, and given the state of their older secondary, the Steelers can’t pass on the Virginia Tech defensive back here.

Josh Edwards: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Pittsburgh lands one of the best left tackle prospects in this draft class. He is a really poised player that can be a stabilizing presence on an offensive line in flux.

Pete Prisco: Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas
Their line is a mess. They have to get a left tackle and Cosmi has the tools to be a good, solid starter. They also have right tackle Zach Banner coming off a torn ACL. So offensive line is what it should be, even if running back might be tempting.


Peter King: Najee Harris, running back, Alabama
It’s been 13 years since the Steelers took a back in the first round (Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, 23rd pick, 2008), and I think they’d consider the speedy Travis Etienne here also. They could go Teven Jenkins or Sam Cosmi here because of major tackle need, but alarm bells must be clanging in the head of draft czar Kevin Colbert after the miserable time Pittsburgh had in the run game last year. In seven of their last 11 games, the Steelers managed less than 55 rushing yards, and their season fell off a cliff.

The all-time leading Alabama rusher and touchdown-scorer, Harris isn’t the home-rush threat of Etienne, but he doesn’t shy from contact, runs between the tackles fluidly, and is the kind of bellcow back the Steelers have been seeking since Le’Veon Bell left. I’m not a big fan of running backs in the first round, and if the Steelers go tackle here, that’s fine. But spending big on a big need would be smart, which is why I like Harris here.

My 2021 Mock Draft...full explanation of all 32 picks here:

— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) April 27, 2021

Mike Florio: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State.
The Steelers are all in on trying to win in 2021, but will they be able to say no to a guy who could take the baton from Ben Roethlisberger? I’ve heard they’ll take Alabama running back Najee Harris or Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins in this spot. But if Lance slides, Art Rooney will have to decide whether to give his third coach since 1969 the team’s fourth first-round quarterback since 1970.


Tony Pauline: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
They made a mistake passing on J.K. Dobbins last April. Najee Harris is a natural fit and a Day 1 starter.

WalterFootball: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers want a bellcow back. Can you blame them? They had no running game to speak of last year. Najee Harris would obviously change that, though the offensive line is in need of a major overhaul as well.

Local Media Mocks:

Dale Lolley: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris can run it. He’s a talented receiver. He’s exactly what the Steelers have been missing.

Chris Carter: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
That’s the home run pick for the Steelers when it comes to value at 24. Harris is the top back of this class and running back is the top need on the Steelers’ depth chart.

Mike Prisuta: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
He doesn’t play running back, center or offensive tackle, but given all Collins can do for a Steelers’ defense that’s more vulnerable as currently constructed than many are probably willing to admit, he might well be more impactful. Collins is perhaps as fluid as an almost 6-foot-5, 260-or-so-pound athlete can get. And he can impact the Steelers lining up next to Devin Bush at inside linebacker on first and second down (how are Devin White and Lavonte David working out for Tampa Bay?), as a rotational edge rusher on third down and on special teams.

Ray Fittipaldo: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris could have entered the draft after his junior season, but he returned and improved his draft stock. He rushed for nearly 4,000 yards and scored 46 touchdowns during his four-year college career, including 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns in a standout senior campaign that ended with a national championship. What makes him a coveted player in the draft is his ability to be a receiver out of the backfield and pass protect. Harris caught 70 passes for 729 yards the past two seasons. He never has to come off the field and can be the next “bell cow” Mike Tomlin always wants in his feature back.

Ed Bouchette: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Behind The Athletics paywall

Mark Kaboly: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Behind The Athletics paywall

Behind the Steel Curtain mocks:

SB Nation Editors: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
A defender like Collins will make the loss of Bud Dupree less painful, but will also add an element to the defense the Steelers’ already rock solid defense even better. On top of that, Collins is the type of player who can help the defense from Day 1, and an immediate impact player is just what the Steelers needed from their first round draft pick.

BTSC staff draft: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Jenkins may be the safest pick at this point, and given his penchant for being a brawler on running plays, he could be the best fit for what the Steelers want their offense to be under Matt Canada.

So who do you think has it right? Who do you think the Steelers will take in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft? Time will tell but let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Steelers reportedly looking to extend quarterback Mason Rudolph beyond 2021

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 2:27pm
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Steelers back up QB is scheduled to be a free agent next offseason.

With hours to go before the beginning of the 2021 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers have their own quarterback news. While it’s not as earth-shattering as what will be coming around the NFL on Thursday night, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Steelers are looking to extend Mason Rudolph beyond the end of his rookie contract.

Sources: The #Steelers are closing in on a 1-year extension with QB Mason Rudolph. Nothing done yet, but look for it soon for the Steelers’ backup. He’ll be signed through 2022.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 29, 2021

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have four quarterbacks on their roster, and the only one who they control their rights beyond this season is Dwayne Haskins. If the Steelers lock in Rudolph for an additional year, it does give a little bit of breathing room for options beyond the 2021 season.

Mason Rudolph spent his entire 2018 rookie season as the Steelers third string quarterback and was not active for any games. Moving into the backup role for 2019, Rudolph was thrown into the mix early as Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season at halftime of the Steelers Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Starting eight games in 2019, Rudolph went 5-3 but two of the victories were completed by quarterback Devlin Hodges with one being due to injury and the other as a replacement. Rudolph later replaced Hodges in Week 16 against the New York Jets and brought the team back to tie the game before leaving with his own season-ending injury.

In 2020, Rudolph started the Steelers Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns and played affectively in a two-point loss where the Steelers rested multiple players. For his NFL career, Mason Rudolph has completed 201 of his 326 passes for completion percentage of 61.7%. Rudolph has 2,089 yards passing with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

While a possible one-year extension for Rudolph would give the Steelers options beyond 2021, it is also the time of year where the 2018 draftees could begin talks in regards to extensions. With the Steelers having yet to pick up Terrell Edmunds’ fifth-year option, which must be decided on by Monday, all other members of the 2018 draft class are set to be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season except Marcus Allen who will be a restricted free agent. It will be interesting to see if Rudolph is the only player where an extension is discussed before the start of the 2021 season.

Of course, having discussions about an extension and actually following through our two different things. Exactly where the teams land on this issue has yet to be determined. Therefore, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for updates on player contracts as well as all your information for the 2021 NFL draft.

The future is revealed of the Steelers first-round pick, Twilight Zone edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 1:30pm
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Are you looking for a break from serious draft coverage?

There’s a lot of directions the Steelers can go in the 2021 NFL Draft, and over the last few months we’ve been exploring as many possibilities as we can, picking which ones are our favorites and which ones are our personal nightmares.

Now it is Draft day, NFL Christmas, and all that preparation work is done. So I decided to give you all a treat. I broke out my old trusty crystal ball, looked at every single tea leaf I could find and talked to the little bird that sits outside my window. And now I know all the potential outcomes of every potential first round pick for the Steelers (The bird wanted to talk second round, but I don’t have time for that).

Disclaimer: Don’t take this seriously. If you, like me, are a fan of Twilight Zone-style stories you know what you are getting into.

Najee Harris: After sweating through the last picks before the Steelers in the first round, it is finally the Steelers turn, and Najee Harris is there for the taking. His rookie season is a Steelers fan’s dream. In-spite of the struggles of the offensive line Harris runs for 1000 yards, is a weapon in the passing game, and the Steelers offense becomes a force in the NFL again. Before the Steelers first playoff game Harris redirects JuJu Smith-Schuster away from the midfield logo to take TikToks with fans instead and Steelers Nation rejoices. The Steelers make the Super Bowl in Ben’s final year, and with only minutes remaining and the Steelers up by 2 it’s time for Najee Harris to run out the clock and bring home #7. Unfortunately on second down B.J. Finney gets blown up, Harris is hit in the backfield and fumbles. A fumble return for a touchdown costs the Steelers the game and while Harris continues to be a productive back, Steeler Nation never gets over that fumble. . .

Zaven Collins: The Steelers are on the clock with Najee Harris, Creed Humphrey, even Christian Darrisaw on the board. But as they fill out their draft card, in the back of Mike Tomlin’s mind all he can hear is the heart-beat thump that tells him it’s time for Renegade. It’s time for defensive highlights. The Steelers aren’t a team of smart choices, run games and offensive lines. The Steelers laugh in the face of the new NFL and take linebacker after linebacker after linebacker! Who needs a running back, a quarterback, who needs offense when you have bone crushing hits! He snaps out of his trance to see Kevin Colbert approaching the desk to turn in the Steelers pick and without thinking he is running, running like he’s out of time, like the hangman is coming down from the gallows right then. He feels free, flying down the walkway, with a clearer purpose than he’s ever felt. Kevin Colbert goes down, Tomlin grabs the card, crosses out the name and writes Zaven Collins all over it. . .

Zaven Collins goes on to have a great Steelers career, but not playing for Mike Tomlin. After the famous “Renegade meltdown of 2021” Mike Tomlin is dragged out in handcuffs still singing Steeler Nation’s anthem. He is replaced, obviously, and Kevin Colbert resigns. But from that day on, people claim that when the jumbotron goes dark in Pittsburgh, and those first heart-beat thumps are played, if you close your eyes you can still see Mike Tomlin tackling Kevin Colbert. . .

Justin Fields: The clock is ticking. . . Kevin Colbert feels the sweat on his neck beading up. “Come on,” he mutters, “call already.” Seconds are ticking by, the clock is showing less than two minutes, he’s running out of time. . . The phone starts to ring and Colbert grabs it, hears the words he is dying to hear. Mike Tomlin turns to him, and Kevin Colbert only nods. “We have to do this quietly Kevin, keep it low key.”

Tomlin and Colbert get up together and start walking toward the water cart, “We go on my signal Mike.” Roger Goodell steps up to the microphone “The Minnesota Vikings. . .” he begins and Colbert yells “Now!” He can see the Patriots table, he sees the moment Bill Belichick realizes what they’ve done. A finger is snapped and all around them men in black suits start to converge on their location. “Don’t take another step!” Roger Goodell yells from the stage, “Arrest those men from Pittsburgh!” The men grab Kevin Colbert, wrestle the card from his hand and then turn, stunned. “It’s a fake card.” They notice too late that Mike Tomlin had slipped away, and as Bill Belichick and Roger Goodell let loose cries of rage, Tomlin lays the real card on the table. He then approaches the stage, takes the microphone from the commissioner and states, “With the 14th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Justin Fields, Suck it Patriots!”

The Steelers wouldn’t win a game in 2021, they somehow committed a penalty on over 50% of their plays and players were frequently suspended for the most ridiculous reasons, but no one in the front office would complain. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert both retired after the 2021 season and both were voted into the Hall of Fame for contributions to the game of Football. Bill Belichick never won another playoff game.

Jaycee Horn: Jaycee Horn felt something was off his first day in Steelers Headquarters. He chalked it up to nerves. After all, it isn’t every day you get to meet legendary cornerbacks like Rod Woodson or Mel Blount. It isn’t every day you get to join a historic franchise like the Pittsburgh Steelers. And this team, he could tell it was special. This team felt like it had a chance to win a Super Bowl.

The second day at the facility Jaycee Horn saw Ike Taylor, and decided he should say hi. After a brief greeting he said ”Mr. Taylor, I gotta ask, do you have any tips as a Super Bowl champion?” To his surprise, Ike Taylor looked around, then pulled him close and whispered “Don’t catch the ball, he doesn’t like that.” Horn was puzzled, but when he looked up to inquire further, Ike Taylor was gone.

Later that day he approached Joe Haden and told him about his experience with Ike Taylor. Haden acted like he didn’t hear him and walked away. That evening he was setting up his locker and he picked up a small piece of paper with an address and time. Late that night he drove into a parking lot on the South Side, and saw three men standing there. He approached and saw Joe Haden waiting for him.

“What’s up with all this,” the young man asked. “There’s something you have to learn Rook, if you plan on making a career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

“What’s that?” the young man replied.


Haden began “In 1994 Rod Woodson already had 32 interceptions, he added another in the playoffs and the Steelers fell one game short of the Super Bowl. You know what happened in 1995?”
“He was injured,” the young man replied.
“Yes he was, and after 6 more interceptions in 1996 he left the team, with 38 career interceptions.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Horn asked.
Haden continued; “In 2003 Chad Scott was the Steelers corner back, he had 12 interceptions in the last three seasons and 3 interceptions in the playoffs. You know what happened to him?”
“I haven’t even heard of Chad Scott.”
“Broken thumb. Can’t catch the ball with a broken thumb.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Listen Rook, this could save your career. Troy Polamalu, 2008, 7 interceptions, next year, missed 11 games. Even me, I got careless, Those 5 interceptions in 2019 were too many. I got two more last year and wham! I’m on the couch watching the Steelers lose in the playoffs. Look at Artie Burns, three interceptions in his rookie season, he’s looking good in camp, then all of a sudden he can’t play football, out there looking scared, never was the same again. Senquez Golson, that dude could catch any ball thrown anywhere near him, he never even saw the field.”
Jaycee Horn was visibly shaken, “What are you telling me?”
“He saying don’t catch the ball rook.” Ike Taylor stepped out of the shadows. How do you think I won the Super Bowl, kid? I didn’t catch the ball. Let it bounce off my hands, off my freaking helmet, anything but catch it. In 2005 I caught 2 in the playoffs, but I was smart, got myself benched in 2006, and in 2008 I didn’t catch a thing. One in the regular season, none in the playoffs.”
“But what does intercepting passes have to do with getting hurt?” Jaycee Horn asked.
“Simple kid, He doesn’t like it.”
“Who doesn’t like it.”
“You’ll see.”

When camp started, Jaycee Horn was playing great, he was learning the scheme and loving the defense. When he caught his second interception of the practice, Joe Haden gave him what looked like a celebratory pat on the helmet, but his eyes and words weren’t happy.
“Watch yourself rook, remember what we said.”
The next pass that came his way, Horn dropped, bounced right off his hands, after the play Haden came over again, “Smart move kid, now smile, here he comes.”

Walking on the field, as big as life and sporting his usual cowboy hat was Mel Blount. “Good try kid, you’ll get the next one, and I should know, I have the most of any Steeler.” Blount smiled, gave the rookie a wink and walked away.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of ridiculousness, and during the draft tonight, keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best.

What happened to the Steelers’ 2018 to 2020 draft classes?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 1:00pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Leading up to the 2021 NFL draft now only one week away, let’s look at how some of the Steelers’ drafts played out.

The 2021 NFL draft is here! Each of the last fifteen weeks leading up to the draft, we doveinto an NFL draft class starting with the Steelers 2004 NFL draft. In doing so, each player selected by the Steelers was highlighted as to how their NFL career, or lack thereof, took shape. This week, the remaining three drafts will be combined as many of those draft choices are still with the Steelers on their rookie deals.

Part 15 of 15 will highlight the Steelers 2018 to 2020 NFL draft, talking about each class as a whole and discuss the players no longer with the organization individually.

So let’s take a look at the last three years of players drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers:

2018 Still on the Steelers roster:

Terrell Edmunds, Safety, Virginia Tech, Round 1, Pick 28
James Washington, Wide receiver, Oklahoma St, Round 2, Pick 60
Mason Rudolph, Quarterback, Oklahoma St, Round 3, Pick 76
Chukwuma Okorafor, Tackle, Western Michigan, Round 3, Pick 92
Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn St, Round 5, Pick 148
Jaylen Samuels, Running back, North Carolina St, Round 5, Pick 165

Not only are six of the seven draft choices from 2018 still on the Steelers roster, they have all appeared in a significant number of games. The least appearances have been by quarterback Mason Rudolph who has officially logged 15 NFL games. With almost all of these players coming to the end of their rookie deal, it will be interesting to see next offseason how many the Steelers are able to retain and how many are lost to free agency. At this time, Terrell Edmunds fifth-year option has not been picked up, and the Steelers have until Monday, May 3, to make their decision. The only player not technically on their rookie deal is safety/linebacker Marcus Allen as was released and spent part of the 2019 season on the Steelers practice squad, giving him a different contract.

No longer on the Steelers roster:

Joshua Frazier, Defensive tackle, Alabama, Round 7, Pick 246

Not only did Frazier not make the Steelers roster his rookie season, he did not even make the practice squad. Picked up briefly at the end of the season on the practice squad of the Detroit Lions, Frazier was released in January 2019. Fraser was a member of the Birmingham Iron of the AAF, but was placed on injured reserve after the team’s second game. In May 2019, Fraser announced he was retiring from professional football.

2019 Still on the Steelers roster:

Devin Bush Jr, Linebacker, Michigan, Round 1, Pick 10
Diontae Johnson, Wide receiver, Toledo, Round 3, Pick 66
Justin Layne, Cornerback, Michigan St, Round 3, Pick 76
Benny Snell Jr, Running back, Kentucky, Round 4, Pick 122
Zach Gentry, Tight end, Michigan, Round 5, Pick 141
Isaiah Buggs, Defensive tackle, Alabama, Round 6, Pick 192
Ulysees Gilbert III, Linebacker, Akron, Round 6, Pick 207

With nine picks in the 2019 NFL draft, the Steelers have had eight players appear in games for the black and gold. Additionally, the seven members still remaining with the Steelers have been on the 53-man roster their entire careers with the exception of time spent on the Reserve/Injured List. Unfortunately three members of the seven players remaining in Devin Bush, Zach Gentry, and Ulysees Gilbert, have all spent time on IR with Gilbert missing time during both seasons.

No longer on the Steelers roster:

Sutton Smith, Linebacker, Northern Illinois, Round 6, Pick 175

One of three sixth-round picks in 2019, Sutton Smith dealt with injury throughout training camp and never really got going as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Released as part of roster cut downs, Smith was not signed to the Steelers practice squad. Spending one week on the Jaguars practice squad in October, Smith was signed by the Steelers on their practice squad for one day in November. The following week, he was signed back to the practice squad but released six days later. Smith finished the 2019 season on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad and was signed to a Reserve/Future contract. Unfortunately, Smith was waived in late July as teams had to cut their offseason rosters from 90 players down to 80 players for the 2020 season. Smith has not caught on in the NFL since.

Derwin Gray, Tackle, Maryland, Round 7, Pick 219

After spending the 2019 season on the Steelers practice squad, Gray landed back in the familiar spot in 2020. After the injuries to Zach Banner and Stefen Wisniewski, Gray was promoted to the active roster for Week 2. Going into Week 16, the Steelers were extremely thin at inside linebacker and signed Tegray Scales from the practice squad. The corresponding move was the release of Gray, who many believe the Steelers were hoping to get back to the practice squad. Unfortunately, the Jacksonville Jaguars claimed Gray off waivers. Gray signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Jaguars this offseason.

2020 Still on the Steelers roster:

Chase Claypool, Wide receiver, Notre Dame, Round 2, Pick 49
Alex Highsmith, Linebacker, Charlotte, Round 3, Pick 102
Anthony McFarland Jr, Running back, Maryland, Round 4, Pick 124
Kevin Dotson, Guard, Louisiana, Round 4, Pick 145
Antoine Brooks Jr, Safety, Maryland, Round 6, Pick 198
Carlos Davis, Defensive tackle, Nebraska, Round 7, Pick 232

Yes, that’s all of the picks still on the team. I’ve noted many times before, the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 NFL draft has already made franchise history. Even though it was the first year since 1968 the Steelers did not have a first round draft pick, the Steelers had every player drafted appear in a game their rookie season for the black and gold. Not only had this never happened before, the Steelers have never had a draft where every player appeared for the Steelers at any point in their career, let alone their rookie season. With such a strong rookie campaign from a number of their players, the 2020 draft class is looking strong in the early stages. All the players were on the 53-man roster for the entire season with the exception of Antoine Brooks who landed on the practice squad. After being elevated four times throughout the season, twice as a regular replacement and twice as a COVID-19 replacement, Books was signed to the 53-man roster prior to the Steelers Week 13 game, putting all members of the Steelers 2020 draft class on the active roster to end the season.

Mock Draft: Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. give their final picks for the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 12:30pm
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN duo gives their final predictions for Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The time is finally here. The 2021 NFL Draft leaves experts like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. with just one last chance to predict what will happen when the picks are actually made over the course of the next three days.

Both McShay and Kiper released their final mock drafts of the 2021 draft season, and it was fitting they both had the Pittsburgh Steelers taking running backs. The difference was they both selected different players.

Take a look at McShay’s pick in his latest, and final, mock draft:

Todd McShay

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

In another spot where offensive line is a consideration, the Steelers replace running back James Conner with Harris, a powerful back who is slippery between the tackles. Pittsburgh averaged the fewest yards per carry in the NFL last season.

With McShay taking Harris, Kiper would be the one to go outside the box, sort of, with his running back selection. Take a look at Kiper’s pick from his latest, and final, mock draft:

Mel Kiper Jr.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The Steelers have needs at offensive line and corner, but there have been rumblings that they like the top running backs. Etienne’s pass-catching skills will give Ben Roethlisberger easy throws.

The Steelers fan base is pretty split when it comes to the thought of the Steelers taking a running back in the first round. Many believe the team could still get a great back in later rounds, while others just don’t think any of the aforementioned prospects are worthy of a Day 1 selection.

But then there is the fraction of the fan base who are clamoring for the Steelers to finally take a legit running back, something the team hasn’t had since Le’Veon Bell was drafted out of Michigan State.

What will the Steelers do? No one knows, and they likely don’t know either considering they will have to adapt to the changing board as players are selected. Either way, would you be happy, or upset, if the Steelers took either Harris or Etienne in the first round? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the best NFL Draft coverage of the Steelers anywhere on the internet.

7-Round Steelers mock draft with free agent pick ups, trades and alternate reality picks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 11:30am
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Mock drafts are everywhere and this year the concept of a seven-round prediction is even more difficult due to the global circumstances. With very little expectations, BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis throws his hat in the mock ring.

I can remember my mom saying when I was a kid, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, it doesn’t mean you have to too”, In fact, I think my wife said that very same thing to me just last month”.

In all actuality, I’m not one to usually follow the crowd. I try to be a leader, not a minion. My schemes are sometimes very harebrained and I struggle to get people to jump on my bandwagon, but I try to lead nonetheless.

But this time around, I’m going to join the fray and do a mock draft.

But it’s not just any old mock draft, it’s a seven-round draft. And it’s not any old seven-round mock draft, it’s a seven-round mock draft complete with trades and an alternative reality pick.

Like I tell my kids, don’t just check the box to get a task done. Try to be original. While other mockers try to prognosticate and be experts, my goal is to not take my self too serious. It’s kind of like mockery of the mock draft process. If I get one guy right out of the names that I have listed below, I’ll consider that a victory.

Here’s what I got...enjoy.

Kevin Colbert mentioned in his press conference this week that if he traded down five spots, there would need to be five players that they would want to pick. In this trade scenario, the Steelers move back five spots and get one of the running backs that they covet. In the mock trade inspired by BTSC’s Michael Beck, the Packers receive Pick No. 24 (Round 1) and Pick No, 216 (Round 6) for their Pick No. 29 (Round 1), Pick No. 92 (Round 3) and Pick No. 178 (Round 5).

Round 1, Pick No. 29 (Mock Trade with Green Bay) RB Javonte Williams - North Carolina Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

He doesn’t have the name recognition of Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, but Javonte Williams could be a bell cow and a superstar for the Steelers. Javonte was sixth in the NCAA in 2020 on only 157 carries and he reached the end zone 19 times on the ground and three as a receiver. Williams is more than capable as a pass blocker and a superb receiver as well, but his biggest strength is breaking tackles. Forget that he isn’t a marquee talent out of Bama or LSU, Williams could be the toast of the Steel City.

Alternate Reality Pick: RB Earl Megget - Mean Machine

Portrayed by Nelly in “The Longest Yard”

Round 2, Pick No. 55 CB Eric Stokes - Georgia Photo by Matt Stamey/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

With Steven Nelson gone as a salary cap casualty, Mike Hilton rumbling in the jungle that is Cincinnati and possible legal implications being faced by Justin Layne after a recent arrest, the Steelers tab the 6’1” Stokes to study behind Cam Sutton and eventually move into the starting lineup. With quickness and nice coverage skills, the Georgia CB can cover receivers well, outside and in the slot. Stokes is a possible steal here

Alternate Reality Pick: CB Trumaine - Central (HS) Wildcats, Chicago, Ill

Portrayed by Wesley Snipes in “Wildcats” - 1986

Round 3, Pick 87 C Josh Meyers - Ohio State Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Meyers has all the qualities of an NFL center. The Ohio State Buckeye boasts the size, toughness, strength and football IQ that the Steelers need to replace Maurkice Pouncey.

Worst: Play range, space play

Projection: A starting center in a power based blocking scheme.

Alternate Reality Pick: G/C Laikai Manumana - Texas State Armadillos

Played by Peter Tuiasosopo in “Necessary Roughness” - 1991

Round 3, Pick 92 (Mock Trade with Green Bay) ILB Cameron McGrone - Michigan Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

McGrone is an explosive 3-4 inside linebacker that would team well with former teammate Devin Bush Jr. More of a fierce defender against the run than the pass, McGrone could be the heir apparent to Vince Williams.

Alternate Reality Pick: ILB Alvin Mack - Eastern State University

Played by Duane Davis in “The Program” - 1993

Round 4, Pick 128 OT James Hudson - Cincinnati

At 6’5” and 313 pounds, Hudson is a raw and athletic specimen that will need to improve his pass-protection skills. But like Alejandro Villanueva, he could be a future starter at LT once he grows into the role. With the presence of Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner, Hudson has time to gel at the next level.

Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alternate Reality Pick: OT Chewbacca - The Rebel Alliance/Kashyyyk (HS) Wookiees

Played by Peter Mayhew in “Star Wars” - 1977-2015

Round 4, Pick 140 WR Anthony Schwartz - Auburn Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 6’3” and 337-pound Kindley is a scrapper that pays with a nasty disposition. The Georgia Bulldog is solid in one-on-one situations and handles a bull-rush well in pass protection. Could be a good depth piece his first year in Pittsburgh with Ramon Foster and B.J. Finney no longer in black-and-gold.

Alternate Reality Pick: WR Charlie Tweeder - West Canaan (HS) Coyotes - West Canaan, TX

Played by Scott Caan in “Varsity Blues” - 1999

Round 5, Pick 178 (Mock Trade with Green Bay) EDGE Shaka Toney - Penn State

Although a bit undersized, Shaka Toney excels at getting to the passer. The Nittany Lion would add fantastic depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.

Alternate Reality Pick: EDGE Julius Campbell - T.C. Williams (HS) Titans, Alexandria, VA

Played by Wood Harris in “Remember The Titans” - 2000

Round 7, Pick 245 DT Tedarrell Slaton - Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Impressive size at 360 lbs., Slaton gets great leverage and strength in the trenches and coud be a developmental NT for the Steelers.

Alternate Reality Pick: DT Andre Krimm - Texas State Armadillos

Played by Sinbad in “Necessary Roughness” - 1991

Round 7, Pick 254 TE Pro Wells - TCU

The Steelers need a blocking tight end to pair with Eric Ebron. Wells can catch the ball as well with three touchdowns last season.

Alternate Reality Pick: TE Brian Murphy - Washington Sentinels

Played by David Denman in “The Replacements” - 2000

Steelers Podcast: Wrapping up the draft hype with a black-and-gold perspective

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 11:00am

BTSC breaks down what the Steelers’ draft needs from specific universities before the NFL Draft

As the countdown clock gets closer to all zeroes, anticipation is at a deafening tone of who will be the next Pittsburgh Steeler. For the past eight weeks, the team that gave you “Know Your Enemy” welcomes in experts from the college ranks to discuss their school’s draft prospects and how they would fit with the black-and-gold. They’ve had experts from Alabama, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and QB guru J.T. O’Sullivan talking about various prospects. It’s time to wrap it all up in a nice package with “The Curtain Call”. Join Michael Beck and Geoffrey Benedict as they welcome Brian Batko from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to talk all things Steelers leading up to the magic moment of Draft Night.

  • News and Notes
  • Special Guest: Brian Batko from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael and Geoffrey walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

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
Google Play: CLICK HERE

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

Part 1:

Part 2:

An open letter to the 2020 NFL Draft class

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 10:30am
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

A shout-out to the 2020 NFL Draft class, a group of people who kept me company last spring.

Hey, guys, I just wanted to check in. It’s been a while. I realize that I became close with you all last March and April in the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft.

I also realize I quickly lost touch after the draft and became enamored with the prospects the Steelers selected—including Chase Claypool, Alex Highsmith and my main man, Kevin Dotson, the stud of a guard from Louisiana who wasn’t even invited to the 2020 NFL Combine. Can you believe that? Kevin grew up a big Steelers fan and even twirled a Terrible Towel. Anyway, I got caught up in getting to know him and the rest of Pittsburgh’s draft class and forgot all about my spring break friends that went to other teams.

How’s the knee, Joe Burrow? I think you’re still going to make the Bengals a great team, one day, but even if you don’t, even if you go on to be one of those number overall draft busts, you’ll probably be fine. You’re a quarterback. You’re likely already set for life and will probably go on to marry Miss America or whatever you guys usually do.

How about you, Chase Young? I remember thinking, “Who’s this no-name punk?” when you said Pittsburgh’s offense was exposed during Washington’s victory over the Steelers at Heinz Field last December. Here's the thing, though, I wrote articles about you leading up to last year's draft; I said you were such a good prospect that you were the easiest selection for any team to make.

How could I forget you so fast?

This happens every year, unfortunately. I interact with all the draft prospects; I act like everyone is my best friend, but the second the draft is over, I pretend I don’t know them.

How about you, Javon Kinlaw, a defensive tackle from South Carolina who I said would offer the Raiders great value when I had them pick you 12th overall in the 2020 Behind the Steel Curtain Contributors Mock Draft? Did you wind up offering the 49ers great value when they selected you 14th overall in the real draft? A true friend would already know this, but I’m afraid I just got too busy over the holidays.

How about the running backs? How are you guys doing? I still keep tabs on you, J.K. Dobbins. In fact, I often wonder if I should have followed you on Twitter instead of Claypool. That fiery personality of his; those hot takes. It can be a bit much.

I know Clyde Edwards-Helaire is doing just fine with the Chiefs, but what about D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor? I remember vouching for you guys, last spring. In fact, I believe someone said I had brain damage for even suggesting you were both going to be good backs at the pro level. How were your rookie seasons? I suppose I could have checked in more often, but the second Pittsburgh selected Anthony McFarland out of Maryland in the fourth round, I went into “Why Anthony McFarland could be the steal of the draft” mode and just lost touch.

How about you, Denzel Mims? Someone told me the Steelers would regret picking Claypool over you; is that still a possibility? Who drafted you? I should have tried to reach out after we went our separate ways, but you know how it is.

I remember going on and on about how last year’s class of offensive tackles was so darn deep. How’s life, Mekhi Becton? What’s the haps, Tristan Wirfs?

I get so humbled when people tell me I’m great with kids, but it’s easy to do when you can spend a few hours having fun with them before sending them back home to be with their parents.

Anyway, I realize I forgot about a lot of you the moment you didn’t become Steelers. I also know that I’ll one day find many of you on some unfortunate draft-bust list on a random website that’s linked to the bottom of another website. If and when that happens, I promise not to laugh or make fun of you.

But no matter what the future holds, we’ll always have those memories from the spring of 2020.

May your hats fly as high as your dreams.

What are we thinking? BTSC staff predicts the Steelers’ first round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 9:30am
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The BTSC staff put their collective minds together to predict the Steelers’ top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 2021 NFL Draft is finally here, and it is now time to try and consider who your favorite team, in this case the Pittsburgh Steelers, will pick when it is their turn at the podium. Here at BTSC we strive to give you everything you could possibly want leading up to the draft, and that includes our crazy staff predictions.

Will we be right?

Probably not.

Will that stop us from taking a stab at who the Steelers pick?

Absolutely not.

Below you will see members of the BTSC staff and their predictions for the Steelers’ first round pick. The selection is No. 24 in Round 1, and there will be no options for trades in these predictions. We are picking based on the Steelers staying at pick No. 24.

With that said, check out the predictions below, and be sure to give us your prediction in the comment section below!

Jeff Hartman

Pick: Creed Humphrey

Is he a Round 1 talent? That’s debatable, but the Steelers’ need at the center position can’t be a wait-and-see proposition. Humphrey is the best fit for the Steelers, in my opinion, and wouldn’t be a wasted pick.

Dave Schofield

Pick: Creed Humphrey

Even though Jeff took my guy, we both came to the same conclusion without discussing it with each other first. I went with Humphrey on the Scho Bro Show podcast and I’m not changing it now. If an unexpected player falls to the Steelers at 24, I hope they take him. This is a pick merely speculating that those who should be gone are gone, and the Steelers know Humphrey will do more with them that he would with other organizations.

Bryan Anthony Davis

Pick: Trade Back with Green Bay to No. 29 and take Javonte Williams

Kevin Colbert will answer the phone and be fine with trading down to the end of the first round to improve the running game. The choice here doesn’t have the name recognition of Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, but Javonte Williams could be a bell cow and a superstar for the Steelers. Javonte was sixth in the NCAA in 2020 on only 157 carries and he reached the end zone 19 times on the ground and three as a receiver. Williams is more than capable as a pass blocker and a superb receiver as well, but his biggest strength is breaking tackles. Forget that he isn’t a marquee talent out of Bama or LSU, Williams could be the toast of the Steel City.

Geoffrey Benedict

Pick: Justin Fields

You want to know what is stupid? The NFL Draft process that ends up with Justin Fields falling to the mid-teens. But we all know it can happen. Fields would be dynamic in the right offense, and Matt Canada is the guy to build that offense for him.

Shannon White

Pick: Najee Harris

Everybody already knows how badly I want the Steelers to select Creed Humphrey in the first round. I believe he is the exception to the rule, a elite center prospect worthy of first round selection. However, due to the unusually deep center class this year and the opposite holding true for the running back class, I expect the Steelers to select Najee Harris with their first selection if available. I love his physicality, skill set, and character. He sold me on that fact when he drove all night to attend Alabama's initial pro day even though he wouldn't be participating. Sounds like a Steelers type individual to me.

Michael Beck:

Pick: Zaven Collins

I have to stick with the guy I've been pulling for since this process started. Collins is a do it all linebacker, and the perfect running mate for Devin Bush. The duo would terrorize the AFC North for a decade and make Joe Burrow, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackon’s lives a nightmare.

K.T. Smith (CHISAP)

Pick: Najee Harris

The Steelers seem to be leaning towards investing in the running back position the way they’ve done at receiver and linebacker. I think they’ll grab a top back in the draft first and take the linemen who will help him later since this draft is deeper on linemen than on backs. While I like Travis Etienne a bit better overall, the Steelers seem to like Harris. I’m cool with that. Go Steelers.

Tony Defeo

Pick: Najee Harris

I’ve been in the “No running back in the first round” camp for a while now. But I was talking to a friend the other day, and we both agreed that if you get Le’Veon Bell-level production from a back for five years or so, wouldn’t that be worth it? Besides, I haven’t seen a player linked to the Steelers this much since Jarvis Jones (I know, bad comparison). Anyway, I think one of the other backs will go earlier, and Harris would be there at 24.

Rich Schofield

Pick: Zaven Collins

I am not going to be upset with whomever the Steelers choose in the first round, as long as I feel they didn’t reach for someone. That being said, I hopped on the Collins bandwagon during The Scho Bro Show podcast and like my Little Bro I am sticking with my pick. The biggest reason I could see the Steelers going with Collins is because it would be a “Steelers kind of move”. A pick like this could solidify the middle of the defense for years, and we know how the Steelers and their fans love defense.

Matt Peverell

Pick: Javonte Williams

I know I said Creed Humphrey on Touchdown Under (plus multiple times in out BTSC Slack Channel), I’m happy with Creed Humphrey, I think with out needs and his potential it’s not a crazy reach...but somehow, someway, my gut says we’re off the mark here. Najee Harris will be off the board by the 24th pick, Travis Etienne at 23rd to the Jets, then it’s Javonte Williams because the run on RBs has happened. BAD, Jeff and I start waving terrible towels so fast we almost take off! In all seriousness, we have no idea who is going to be the first pick or whether the Steelers stay in this spot, the safe bet is offensive line (no Dickerson, no Dickerson) but the scenario above is just one hypothetical that shows just how fast things may change.

Mark Davison

Pick: Najee Harris

The pick at No. 24 I’d like to see is a bruiser like Harris, as I believe the Steelers need to bring that running game back to the spot light. A power back such as Harris opens the Matt Canada offense with creative plays on 2nd and short. The Steelers need a change and it starts with running the ball.

What is your prediction? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

2021 NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Final seven-round prediction, with trades

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 8:30am
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL Draft is finally here, and it is time for the final mock draft. Time to see which prospects go where...

The wait is over! We are only a matter of hours away from knowing what the Steelers will do with the 24th pick in the draft. Currently holding eight picks in the draft, GM Kevin Colbert is likely to leave all options on the table when it comes to what the Steelers do with their draft capital.

Before we begin, if you would like a printable version of my top 300 player rankings, you can click here.

As always, this mock is about what I think will happen, not what I want to happen. My wish is that the Steelers take whatever offer is given (within reason) to move down. However, there is no guarantee the Steelers get an offer, and there is no guarantee the Steelers would see any potential offer to move down as something that is wise. I did project some trades, but I did not go overboard with them. There were a few trades that I thought about mocking (Bufalo and Indianapolis, Denver and Atlanta, and a few others), but I did not mock it unless I had enough evidence and faith that it could actually happen.

One interesting thing that I thought was funny. I finished my first round predictions on Monday, and after I finished, I happened to look at Peter King’s mock draft. When I looked at his mock draft from last year, I noticed that he had eleven correct picks in the first round, which is very good, by the way. Eight of his top ten selections were correct. In my mock draft, I only have eleven picks similar to Peter King’s mock draft, and exactly eight of the top ten are the same. That was by total accident, but I am excited to see how close these projections are.

There is always a couple surprising picks in round one, and the first one comes at pick 11. I am forgoing the rumors of the Giants being most interested in Micah Parsons, Jaycee Horn, and DeVonta Smith. I do not have a ton of confidence in this pick, but Jaelan Phillips seems like a Dave Gettleman pick: a big pass-rusher who is coming off a productive season. It is a reach, but we have seen Gettleman reach for players before. The other surprise comes at pick 31. Most people do not see Davis Mills as a first round prospect, but it has been a couple years since we last saw someone trading into the end of the first round for a quarterback not expected to go night one. We used to see it more frequently, and it seems overdue. Plus, Tony Pauline has said that there are teams who have first round grades on him. That does not mean he will go in round one, but a team that is worried about Tampa Bay taking him will likely want to move ahead of them.

My biggest worry is the third pick. Ever since the 49ers traded up, my gut has told me that Trey Lance is their guy. However, I have determined that mocking Trey Lance and being wrong would potentially cause more wrong picks afterward than if I mocked Mac Jones and was wrong. In the end, I went with the safer option.

As always, let me know your thoughts on this mock in the comment section below. Let’s get to the final mock for the 2021 NFL Draft!

Round 1

1. Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence — QB — Clemson
Other possibilities: none
2. Jets- Zach Wilson — QB — BYU
Other possibilities: J. Fields
3. 49ers- Mac Jones — QB — Alabama
Other possibilities: T. Lance, K. Pitts
4. Falcons- Kyle Pitts — TE — Florida
Other possibilities: T. Lance, J. Fields, P. Surtain II
5. Bengals- Ja’Marr Chase — WR — LSU
Other possibilities: P. Sewell, K. Pitts
6. Dolphins- Jaylen Waddle — WR — Alabama
Other possibilities: P. Sewell, J. Chase, D. Smith
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Lions receive picks 15, 122, 188, and a 2022 1st round pick)
7. Patriots- Justin Fields — QB — Ohio State
Other possibilities: M. Jones, M. Parsons, J. Horn
8. Panthers- Penei Sewell — OT — Oregon
Other possibilities: J. Chase, J. Waddle, D. Smith, R. Slater, J. Fields
9. Broncos- Trey Lance — QB — North Dakota State
Other possibilities: M. Parsons, M. Jones, J. Fields
10. Cowboys- Patrick Surtain II — CB — Alabama
Other possibilities: J. Horn, Z. Collins, R. Slater
11. Giants- Jaelan Phillips — EDGE — Miami
Other possibilities: J. Horn, M. Parsons, J. Waddle, D. Smith, K. Paye, A. Ojulari
12. Eagles- DeVonta Smith — WR — Alabama
Other possibilities: J. Waddle, J. Horn, P. Surtain, M. Parsons, K. Paye
13. Chargers- Rashawn Slater — OL — Northwestern
Other possibilities: C. Darrisaw, J. Horn, A. Vera-Tucker
14. Vikings- Christian Darrisaw — OT — Virginia Tech
Other possibilities: A. Vera-Tucker, C. Barmore, K. Paye, J. Phillips
15. *Lions- Micah Parsons — ILB — Penn State
Other possibilities: J. Chase, J. Waddle, P. Sewell, D. Smith, J. Fields
16. Cardinals- Jaycee Horn — CB — South Carolina
Other possibilities: Z. Collins, C. Farley, E. Moore
17. Raiders- Zaven Collins — LB — Tulsa
Other possibilities: A. Leatherwood, T. Jenkins, C. Darrisaw, C. Barmore, J. Phillips, K. Paye, J. Owusu-Koramoah
18. Dolphins- Azeez Ojulari — EDGE — Georgia
Other possibilities: N. Harris, J. Owusu-Koramoah, J. Phillips, K. Paye, T. Jenkins
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Washington receives picks 22 and 100)
19. Titans- Teven Jenkins — OL — Oklahoma State
Other possibilities: C. Farley, E. Moore, G. Newsome II
20. Bears- Alijah Vera-Tucker — OL — USC
Other possibilities: C. Darrisaw, R. Bateman, E. Moore, M. Jones, T. Lance
21. Colts- Kwity Paye — DE — Michigan
Other possibilities: J. Phillips, C. Farley, L. Eichenberg, T. Jenkins
22. *Washington- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah — ILB — Notre Dame
Other possibilities: A. Vera-Tucker, C. Darrisaw, Z. Collins, J. Davis
23. Jets- Caleb Farley — CB — Virginia Tech
Other possibilities: T. Etienne, N. Harris, G. Newsome II, T. Jenkins, A. Ojulari
24. Steelers- Najee Harris — RB — Alabama
I am not a fan of taking a running back in round one, but it seems as if the Steelers are leaning toward taking one of the top two backs if one of them is still available. My hope is that the Steelers trade back assuming Christian Darrisaw is gone, but I do not see the Steelers doing that if a player they like is available. Harris is very similar to Le’Veon Bell coming out of college. He is not the fastest running back, but he has tremendous patience and good power. He will need a good offensive line, but maybe the Steelers feel they can fix the line on day two.
Other possibilities: T. Etienne, L. Dickerson, C. Humphrey, T. Jenkins, Z. Collins
25. Jaguars- Trevon Moehrig — S — TCU
Other possibilities: C. Barmore, E. Moore, C. Farley, L. Eichenberg
26. Browns- Christian Barmore — DT — Alabama
Other possibilities: J. Owusu-Koramoah, J. Phillips, J. Davis, Z. Collins
27. Ravens- Rashod Bateman — WR — Minnesota
Other possibilities: C. Humphrey, J. Oweh, T. Marshall
28. Saints- Elijah Moore — WR — Ole Miss
Other possibilities: K. Toney, C. Farley, Z. Collins, J. Davis, T. Marshall, R. Bateman
29. Packers- Greg Newsome II — CB — Northwestern
Other possibilities: T. Marshall, R. Bateman, A. Samuel, Jr., J. Davis
30. Bills- Travis Etienne — RB — Clemson
Other possibilities: J. Williams, J. Oweh, G. Newsome, A. Robinson, A. Samuel, Jr.
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Ravens receive picks 51, 74, and a 2022 4th round pick)
31. Washington- Davis Mills — QB — Stanford
Other possibilities: K. Mond, N. Bolton, R. Grant, T. Marshall, best available OT
32. Buccaneers- Jamin Davis — ILB — Kentucky
Other possibilities: C. Barmore, J. Oweh, D. Mills

Overview: To me, Penei Sewell is the best pick for the Bengals, but it is the Bengals, and they do not always do the best thing. Losing A.J. Green was a hit to Cincinnati’s receiver depth, and they may like the idea of pairing Burrow with his former college teammate. I also thought hard about Sewell to Miami and am starting to believe that he is who Miami would take if he is available. That said, I have had Waddle slotted there all week, and I am not confident enough to change it. The Raiders were another difficult pick. They generally reach for a productive player from a major college program in round one, but Collins has the old-school size that Jon Gruden would love. However, BTSC member big_jay71 makes a good argument for Alex Leatherwood, which you can read in his final mock draft here. I am sticking with Collins, but if they take an offensive lineman, Teven Jenkins and Alex Leatherwood both make sense. After failing with Isaiah Wilson last year, I also see the Titans as a potential landing spot for Jenkins. They have shown a lot of interest in him and may try to leapfrog their division rival to secure his services.

Round 2

33. Jaguars- Rondale Moore — WR — Purdue
34. Jets- Javonte Williams — RB — North Carolina
35. Falcons- Carlos Basham — DE — Wake Forest
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Dolphins receive picks 52, 204, 221, and a 2022 3rd)
36. Bears- Kellen Mond — QB — Texas A&M
37. Eagles- Eric Stokes — CB — Georgia
38. Bengals- Liam Eichenberg — OT — Notre Dame
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Panthers receive picks 47, 118, and 159)
39. Chargers- Asante Samuel, Jr. — CB — Florida State
40. Broncos- Payton Turner — DL — Houston
41. Lions- Kadarius Toney — WR — Florida
42. Giants- Dyami Brown — WR — North Carolina
43. 49ers- Creed Humphrey — C — Oklahoma
44. Cowboys- Milton Williams — DL — Louisiana
45. Jaguars- Samuel Cosmi — OT — Texas
46. Patriots- Tyson Campbell — CB — Georgia
47. *Panthers- Aaron Robinson — CB — UCF
48. Raiders- Gregory Rousseau — EDGE — Miami
49. Cardinals- TuTu Atwell — WR — Louisville
50. Dolphins- Spencer Brown — OT — Northern Iowa
51. *Ravens- Joseph Ossai — EDGE — Texas
52. *Dolphins- Nick Bolton — ILB — Missouri
53. Titans- Terrace Marshall, Jr. — WR — LSU
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Colts receive picks 60 and 105)
54. Saints- Kyle Trask — QB — Florida
55. Steelers- Landon Dickerson — C — Alabama
Dickerson’s injury concerns scare me, but if he falls to round two, I would be surprised if the Steelers pass. His combine medicals came back with mixed opinions, but if he is fully heathy by week one, he can step in as the starter immediately. He is not terribly mobile, but he is a mauler in the run game and Mr. Consistent in the passing game. Quinn Meinerz and Spencer Brown are also in play here.
56. Seahawks- Brady Christensen — OT — BYU
57. Rams- Quinn Meinerz — C/G — Wisconsin-Whitewater
58. Ravens- Alex Leatherwood — OT — Alabama
59. Browns- Ifeatu Melifonwu — CB — Syracuse
60. *Colts- Dillon Radunz — OT — North Dakota State
61. Bills- Jayson Oweh — EDGE — Penn State
62. Packers- D’Wayne Eskridge — WR — Western Michigan
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Chiefs receive picks 68 and 148)
63. Falcons- Richie Grant — S — UCF
64. Buccaneers- Levi Onwuzurike — DL — Washington

Round 3

65. Jaguars- Pat Freiermuth — TE — Penn State
66. Jets- Ronnie Perkins — EDGE — Oklahoma
67. Texans- Josh Myers — C — Ohio State
68. *Chiefs- Anthony Schwartz — WR — Auburn
69. Bengals- Wyatt Davis — G — Ohio State
70. Eagles- Baron Browning — ILB — Ohio State
71. Broncos- Jabril Cox — ILB — LSU
72. Lions- Kelvin Joseph — CB — Kentucky
73. Panthers- Hunter Long — TE — Boston College
74. *Ravens- Ben Cleveland — G — Georgia
75. Cowboys- Walker Little — OT — Stanford
76. Giants- Trey Smith — G — Tennessee
77. Chargers- Tommy Tremble — TE — Notre Dame
78. Vikings- Jevon Holland — S — Oregon
79. Raiders- Jalen Mayfield — OT — Michigan
80. Raiders- Daviyon Nixon — DT — Iowa
81. Dolphins- Michael Carter — RB — North Carolina
82. Washington- Jackson Carman — OT — Clemson
83. Bears- Shi Smith — WR — South Carolina
84. Eagles- James Hudson — OT — Cincinnati
85. Titans- Robert Rochell — CB — Central Arkansas
86. Jets- Tylan Wallace — WR — Oklahoma State
87. Steelers- Shaun Wade — CB — Ohio State
Wade struggled when he was forced to play on the outside last season, but he was tremendous as a slot corner in 2019. Personally, I think it would be easier to find a boundary cornerback in the draft and put Sutton in the slot, but it seems as if the Steelers are confident in Sutton’s ability to play the outside opposite Joe Haden. If that is the case, I would expect the Steelers to grab a slot corner in round three or four, and Wade is a nice fit with his size and experience. His teammate, Trey Sermon, could also be in play if the Steelers do not take one of the top three backs. Divine Diablo and Tommy Tremble are other possibilities.
88. Rams- Pete Werner — ILB — Ohio State
89. Browns- Cameron McGrone — ILB — Michigan
90. Vikings- Alim McNeill — DT — North Carolina State
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Browns receive pick 102 and a 2022 4th round pick)
91. 49ers- Paulson Adebo — CB — Stanford
92. Packers- Kendrick Green — C/G — Illinois
93. Bills- Nashon Wright — CB — Oregon State
94. Ravens- Ar’Darius Washington — S — TCU
95. Buccaneers- Janarius Robinson — EDGE — Florida State
96. Patriots- Amari Rodgers — RB/WR — Clemson
97. Chargers- Amon-Ra St. Brown — WR — USC
98. Saints- Dylan Moses — LB — Alabama
99. Cowboys- Andre Cisco — S — Syracuse
100. Washington- Nico Collins — WR — Michigan
101. Lions- Divine Diablo — S — Virginia Tech
102. Browns- Joe Tryon — EDGE — Washington
103. Rams- Stone Forsythe — OT — Florida
104. Ravens- Derrick Barnes — ILB — Purdue
105. Colts- Trill Williams — CB — Syracuse

Round 4

106. Jaguars- Tommy Togai — DL — Ohio State
107. Jets- Elijah Molden — CB — Washington
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Falcons receive picks 121 and 162)
108. Raiders- Jamie Newman — QB — Wake Forest
109. Texans- Tre Brown — CB — Oklahoma
110. Browns- Trey Hill — C — Georgia
111. Bengals- Dayo Obeyingbo — DL — Vanderbilt
112. Lions- Josh Palmer — WR — Tennessee
113. Panthers- Seth Williams — WR — Auburn
114. Broncos- Kenneth Gainwell — RB — Memphis
115. Cowboys- Patrick Jones II — EDGE — Pittsburgh
116. Giants- Benjamin St. Juste — CB — Minnesota
117. 49ers- Shakur Brown — CB — Michigan State
118. *Panthers- Tyrie Gillespie — S — Missouri
119. Vikings- Ambry Thomas — CB — Michigan
120. Patriots- Khalil Herbert — RB — Virginia Tech
121. *Falcons- Trey Sermon — RB — Ohio State
122. *Lions- Robert Hainsey — OL — Notre Dame
123. Eagles- Cameron Sample — DL — Tulane
124. Washington- Talanoa Hufanga — S — USC
125. Vikings- Aaron Banks — G — Notre Dame
126. Titans- Quincy Roche — EDGE — Miami
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Colts receive Zach Ertz)
127. Eagles- Simi Fehoko — WR — Stanford
128. Steelers- Daelin Hayes — EDGE — Notre Dame
Hayes is best suited for a 4-3 scheme, but the Steelers have shown interest in him. I would find Patrick Johnson and Malcolm Koonce as better fits, but Hayes is a solid run defender, which is something I think the Steelers want their #3 edge rusher to be. He will never be a sack artist, but he has good hand usage and a natural feel for getting after the quarterback. Keep an eye on Talanoa Hufanga and Ambry Thomas if they happen to fall to this point.
129. Seahawks- Israel Mukuamu — CB — South Carolina
130. Jaguars- Javian Hawkins — RB — Louisville
131. Ravens- Cade Johnson — WR — South Dakota State
132. Browns- Demetric Felton — RB/WR — UCLA
133. Saints- Olijah Griffin — CB — USC
**PROJECTED TRADE** (Vikings receive picks 145 and 249)
134. Jaguars- Kary Vincent, Jr. — CB — LSU
135. Packers- Chazz Surratt — ILB — North Carolina
136. Ravens- Chris Rumph III — EDGE — Duke
137. Buccaneers- Dazz Newsome — WR — North Carolina
138. Cowboys- Tre McKitty — TE — Florida State
139. Patriots- Ernest Jones — LB — South Carolina
140. Steelers- Jaylon Moore — OT — Western Michigan
Another Western Michigan offensive tackle? I would be very disappointed if the Steelers did not take a left tackle in the first three rounds, but I could see the Steelers trusting their ability to find value at that position on day three. Moore’s tape is actually really solid. He has some sneaky power as a run-blocker, but he doesn’t always finish blocks. As a pass-blocker, he is a fluid mover and displays excellent hand usage, but he does not have great balance. The best comparison I can give is Chuckwuma Okorafor with slightly more upside as a run-blocker. His issues are fixable, and he has starter upside, but left tackle is a position the Steelers really need to address sooner than this. This is not a bad pick at all, but if the Steelers have an opportunity to grab Samuel Cosmi, Walker Little, or another high-profile tackle on day two, I would be disappointed if they passed on that opportunity.
141. Rams- Malcolm Koonce — EDGE — Buffalo
142. Packers- Jaylen Twyman — DL — Pittsburgh
143. Vikings- Monty Rice — ILB — Georgia
144. Chiefs- Rashad Weaver — EDGE — Pittsburgh

Round 5

145. Vikings- Jordan Smith — EDGE — UAB
146. Jets- D’Ante Smith — OT — East Carolina
147. Texans- Brevin Jordan — TE — Miami
148. *Chiefs- Drake Jackson — C — Kentucky
149. Bengals- Jaret Patterson — RB — Buffalo
150. Eagles- Rhomandre Stevenson — RB — Oklahoma
151. Panthers- Tony Fields II — ILB — West Virginia
152. Broncos- Josh Ball — OT — Marshall
153. Lions- Kenny Yeboah — TE — Ole Miss
154. Giants- Benden Jaimes — OT — Nebraska
155. 49ers- Sadarius Hutcherson — G — South Carolina
156. Dolphins- Tamorrion Terry — WR — Florida State
157. Vikings- Ian Book — QB — Notre Dame
158. Texans- Sage Surratt — WR — Wake Forest
159. *Panthers- Deonte Brown — G — Alabama
160. Cardinals- Chuba Hubbard — RB — Oklahoma State
161. Bills- Jay Tufele — DT — USC
162. *Falcons- Brandon Stephens — CB — SMU
163. Washington- Deommodore Lenoir — CB — Oregon
164. Bears- Jamar Johnson — S — Indiana
165. Colts- Frank Darby — WR — Arizona State
166. Titans- Marlon Tuipolutu — DT — USC
167. Raiders- Michael Menet — C — Penn State
168. Vikings- Osa Odighizua — DL — UCLA
169. Browns- Bobby Brown III — DT — Texas A&M
170. Jaguars- Jonathan Cooper — EDGE — Ohio State
171. Ravens- Royce Newman — G — Ole Miss
172. 49ers- Chauncey Golston — DE — Iowa
173. Packers- Dan Moore — OT — Texas A&M
174. Bills- Charles Snowden — LB — Virginia
175. Chiefs- Keith Taylor, Jr. — CB — Washington
176. Buccaneers- Jack Anderson — G — Texas Tech
177. Patriots- Ellerson Smith — EDGE — Northern Illinois
178. Packers- Kylin Hill — RB — Mississippi State
179. Cowboys- Damar Hamlin — S — Pittsburgh
180. 49ers- Jamien Sherwood — S — Auburn
181. Chiefs- James Wiggins — S — Cincinnati
182. Falcons- Jimmy Morrissey — C — Pittsburgh
183. Falcons- Josh Imatorbhebhe — WR — Illinois
184. Ravens- Patrick Johnson — EDGE — Tulane

Round 6

185. Chargers- Caden Sterns — S — Texas
186. Jets- Ben Mason — FB — Michigan
187. Falcons- Garrett Wallow — LB — TCU
188. *Lions- Darius Stills — DL — West Virginia
189. Eagles- Marco Wilson — CB — Florida
190. Bengals- Miller Forristall — TE — Alabama
191. Panthers- Wyatt Hubert — EDGE — Kansas State
192. Cowboys- Justin Hilliard — ILB — Ohio State
193. Panthers- Dez Fitzpatrick — WR — Louisville
194. 49ers- Quinton Morris — TE — Bowling Green
195. Texans- Victor Dimukeje — EDGE — Duke
196. Giants- Elijah Mitchell — RB — Louisiana
197. Patriots- Khyris Tonga — DT — BYU
198. Chargers- Hamilcar Rashed — EDGE — Oregon State
199. Vikings- Tay Gowan — CB — UCF
200. Raiders- Paris Ford — S — Pittsburgh
201. Giants- Naquan Jones — DT — Michigan State
202. Bengals- Evan McPherson — K — Florida
203. Texans- David Moore — G — Grambling
204. *Dolphins- Marlon Williams — WR — UCF
205. Titans- Jaelon Darden — WR — North Texas
206. Colts- Marvin Wilson — DT — Florida State
207. Chiefs- Isaiah McDuffie — ILB — Boston College
208. Bears- Darren Hall — CB — San Diego State
209. Rams- Joshua Bledsoe — S — Missouri
210. Ravens- D.J. Daniel — CB — Georgia
211. Browns- Rodarius Williams — CB — Oklahoma State
212. Texans- Tedarrell Slaton — DT — Florida
213. Bills- Marquez Stevenson — WR — Houston
214. Packers- Tariq Thompson — S — San Diego State
215. Titans- Braylon Jones — G — Houston
216. Steelers- Cornell Powell — WR — Clemson
JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington are both set to become free agents after the season, and there is not much depth after the top four receivers on the depth chart. The Steelers were at Trevor Lawrence’s early pro day, which does not make much sense from the outside. However, Cornell Powell was catching passes from Lawrence, and I cannot help but wonder if the Steelers actually went to take a look at Powell. He finally earned a large role in Clemson’s offense this season, catching 53 passes for 882 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end and defensive back are also in play here.
217. Buccaneers- K.J. Costello — QB — Stanford
218. Saints- Jonathan Marshall — DT — Arkansas
219. Falcons- Ernest Brown IV — EDGE — Northwestern
220. Packers- Avery Williams — CB — Boise State
221. *Dolphins- Noah Gray — TE — Duke
222. Panthers- Larry Roundtree — RB — Missouri
223. Cardinals- Whop Philyor — WR — Indiana
224. Eagles- Adetokunbo Ogundeji — DE — Notre Dame
225. Eagles- Christian Uphoff — S — Illinois State
226. Jets- Michael Strachan — WR — Charleston
227. Cowboys- Carson Green — OT/G — Texas A&M
228. Bears- Ihmir Smith-Marsette — WR — Iowa

Round 7

229. Saints- Joshua Kaindoh — EDGE — Florida State
230. 49ers- Adrian Ealy — OT — Oklahoma
231. 49ers- C.J. Marable — RB — Coastal Carolina
232. Titans- Matt Bushman — TE — BYU
233. Texans- Grant Stuard — ILB — Houston
234. Eagles- Luke Farrell — TE — Ohio State
235. Panthers- Jose Borregales — K — Miami
236. Bills- Chris Garrett — EDGE — Concordia St. Paul
237. Broncos- Jason Pinnock — CB — Pittsburgh
238. Cowboys- Tre Nixon — WR — UCF
239. Broncos- Racey McMath — WR — LSU
240. Eagles- Camaron Cheeseman — LS — Michigan
241. Chargers- LaBryan Ray — DL — Alabama
242. Patriots- Dax Milne — WR — BYU
243. Cardinals- Pooka Williams — RB — Kansas
244. Dolphins- Riley Patterson — K — Memphis
245. Steelers- Jake Funk — RB — Maryland
He’s from Maryland. Do I need to say more? In all seriousness, Funk had an outstanding pro day, displaying his speed and versatility. He would fit well in Matt Canada’s scheme, and it is worth noting that the Steelers seem to be interested. According to Tony Pauline, the Steelers are one of three teams showing a lot of interest in Funk. After the Cornell Powell pick, I do not see how this really makes sense with depth needs at safety and linebacker. However, the Steelers seem committed to adding offensive skill players that fit what Matt Canada wants to do.
246. Washington- Shaun Beyer — TE — Iowa
247. Cardinals- Robert Jones — T/G — Middle Tennessee
248. Colts- Shemar Jean-Charles — CB — Appalachian State
249. *Vikings- Jalen Camp — WR — Georgia Tech
250. Seahawks- Antonio Phillips — CB — Ball State
251. Buccaneers- Jacoby Stevens — S — LSU
252. Rams- Cameron Bynum — CB — California
253. Broncos- Mark Gilbert — CB — Duke
254. Steelers- Jake Hansen — LB — Illinois
The Steelers brought back Vince Williams, but Ulysses Gilbert is injury prone, and both Williams and Robert Spillane are only under contract for this season. Hansen has good closing speed and is quick to fill gaps in the run game. A corner or safety would make a lot of sense here as well.
255. Saints- Jacob Harris — WR — UCF
256. Packers- Tarron Jackson — DE — Coastal Carolina
257. Browns- Nick Niemann — ILB — Iowa
258. Washington- Gerrid Doaks — RB — Cincinnati
259. Buccaneers- Bryce Thompson — CB — Tennessee

We made it, Steelers fans! The draft is finally here! What are your predictions? What do you think of this mock draft? What did you think of the selections for the Steelers? Be sure to share you thoughts in the comment section below! Go Steelers!!!

Oddsmakers are not sold on a first-round running back in the 2021 NFL draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 7:45am
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Although the Steelers may be the most likely team to pull the trigger on a RB in the Round 1, the over/under puts running backs going in Round 2.

The 2021 NFL draft is upon us, and one of the Pittsburgh Steelers biggest team needs is at the running back position. The debate has not been about if the Steelers should add a running back, but who and when the selection should be made.

While many believe that Steelers should invest their highest trust capital at running back, others believe it is not a position worthy of a first-round pick. Interestingly enough, those who set the odds on various subjects dealing with the NFL also believe running back may not be the best position to take in the first round.

When it comes to the odds makers, setting lines is what they do. Without a proper line in which betting can be done on both sides, sports betting sites run the risk of losing money if the numbers don’t go their way. Ultimately, they want bets placed on both sides so the losers are paying out the winners and they are merely collecting the costs associated with placing the bets.

Knowing this, when a sports betting site sets the line at a specific place, it is often more trustworthy than the opinions of NFL insiders. Whether it’s betting on games, over/under totals, or bets on when players will be drafted, these various betting sites pay the price if they don’t get it right.

It appears that oddsmakers are not set on any teams jumping for a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. According to, the over/under on the number of running backs selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft is 0.5. With the line set this low, it means the oddsmakers believe roughly half of those taking the bet believe there will not be a running back taken in the first round.

UPDATE: The action on the over/under of 0.5 has produced 11/4 odds if betting the under and 2/9 odds if betting the under. This means the payout for taking the under is much higher as the majority of the action is on the over as of 9AM on Thursday.

This is not the only site that has the top running backs projected to not be selected until Round 2. According to, the following numbers are the odds on which overall pick each of the top three projected running backs in the 2021 NFL draft will be selected provided at 3PM on Wednesday:

Najee Harris: 50.5
Travis Etienne: 53.5
Javonte Williams: 54.5

So not only are all three running back‘s projected to go in the second half of the second round, all three are very close to making it to where the Steelers are selecting at pick 55.

Knowing these odds, do fans who were sold on the first-round running back still feel the same? If the Steelers pull the trigger at pick number 24 on a running back, will they be the only one selected when it rolls back around to pick 55 and the Steelers are on the clock again?

Although we as fans have the betting odds and have a feel for how we think things will go, ultimately it will be up to the Steelers to decide if they need to pull the trigger in the first round for a running back or if it is a position they can address later in the draft.

2021 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers 1st Round Big Board/Rankings

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 7:15am
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to make their selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, and we deliver a first round big board for the black and gold.

Every position on the BTSC Big Board has been covered, but today, we are going to take a look at how they should be ranked based on what the Steelers need.

There are excerpts from the BTSC Big Board to give analysis on each player. Team needs are balanced with a “best player available” philosophy, which will help determine who the Steelers should take if a highly-ranked prospect falls to 24 but does not fill a huge need. If you have thoughts on how these prospects should be ranked, be sure to mention them in the comment section below.

The analysis is a collaboration of Ryland B., myself, Itz JustNoah, and Necksnation, while the consensus ranking and statistics were compiled by SNW and Pittsblitz56. One thing worth noting is that the consensus ranking for some of the positions may not be affected by recent pro day results and recent risers and fallers, as the consensus ranking began several months ago. Much has changed since then, so keep that in mind.

If you’d like to have a printable big board ranking the top 300 players in this year’s draft, you can click HERE.

Players that have a less than 1% chance of falling and are not ranked: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Kyle Pitts, Justin Fields, Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Trey Lance, DeVonta Smith, and Patrick Surtain II.

1. Micah Parsons — ILB — Penn State
Chances of falling to Steelers: less than 5%
Consensus ranking: 10 (6, 14, 4, 12, 12)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 52, TFL 14, Sacks 5, FF 4, FR 1, PD 5, Int 0, (13 games)

Necksnation: Parsons would likely be the consensus top defensive player in the draft if not for character issues. Like many top prospects, he opted out of the 2020 college season, but his stock actually rose when Penn State’s defense suffered in his absence. His pro day numbers solidified his status as one of the most athletic defenders in the draft. As a blitzer, Parsons demonstrates great instincts and the ability to shed blocks and make tackles. His coverage skills could use some refining, but it’s nothing he can’t handle, and it’s certainly not a weakness of his. Parsons’ ceiling and his athleticism make him the top linebacker in this class, and he has a good chance of going inside the top 15.

2. Christian Darrisaw — OT — Virginia Tech
Chances of falling to Steelers: 20%
Consensus ranking: 20 (14, 18, 24, 16, 16)
2020 season stats: (9 games)

Itz JustNoah: Darrisaw is, in my eyes, the next best tackle behind Sewell. Slater’s tape is great but Darrisaw is just so strong and his physicality is unmatched. He’s extremely powerful as a runblocker and he holds his block well in pass protection. He uses raw strength to move defenders out of the way with ease to create holes for runners and a clean pocket for whoever’s throwing the ball. He has the potential to be a franchise left tackle for whoever drafts him. I would be elated if he falls to the Steelers at 24 and Colbert would be foolish to not take him.

3. Jaycee Horn — #7, Jr, 6’1”, 205 lbs, — South Carolina
Chances of falling to Steelers: 15%
Consensus ranking: 17 (30, 12, 15, 16, 14)
2020 season stats: Tackles 16, TFL 1, Int 2, (7 games)

Itz JustNoah: As far as coverage goes, Horn is as good as it gets. He reacts well in man, he recovers quickly, he ran a 4.39 so he’s not gonna get burned over top and his ball skills are right up there with the other top guys. One of the things you notice when watching him is that he won’t get beat right off the line. He watches the opponent’s hips, not their eyes, so he won’t get beat by any “fancy footwork”. Horn does have a tackling problem and he tends to hold more than you would like. If he can clean up his holding problem I think he can be a very, very successful outside corner with the speed and athletic ability to also cover the slot. I like Horn a good bit but he’s not as technical or just plain talented as Surtain. So while I think it’s a great pick if he does fall, I would not want any sort of trade up for him.

4. Caleb Farley — #3, Jr, 6’2”, 207 lbs, — Virginia Tech
Chances of Falling to Steelers: 50%
Consensus ranking: 17 (11, 31, 12, 13, 18)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: Tackles 20, PD 12, Int 4, (11 games)

Necksnation: Farley opted out of the 2020 college season and recently underwent a back procedure, causing his stock to fall, but he has all the tools to be a lockdown corner in the NFL. His combination of size, length, speed, and instincts make him one of the most naturally gifted players in the class. Farley’s 2019 film is fantastic, and if he hadn’t opted out I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the consensus top corner in the class. He excels in press coverage, and is able to stay on a receiver step by step for an extended period of time. His back issues are a legitimate reason for concern, but if he can stay healthy, he should be able to succeed at the next level.

5. Samuel Cosmi — OT — Texas
Chances of falling to Steelers: 95%
Consensus ranking: 43 (32, 24, 84, 25, 28)
2020 season stats: (8 games)

steelerfan11: Cosmi is not a sure thing at tackle, but I liked what I saw from him in both 2019 and 2020 when he was at left tackle. Generally, raw tackles will start out at right tackle if they play at all their rookie season, but I think Cosmi’s natural fit is on the left side. He depends on his superb athleticism too often, but all of Cosmi’s technical issues are fixable. When he leaves his chest exposed and a defender can land a punch, he loses balance but can usually save himself with his length. His kick-slide needs to become smoother, but that will come with improved footwork and hip angles. His pad level also needs to be lower on a more consistent basis, but that got much better in 2020. Cosmi does a good job of getting to the second level of the defense as a run-blocker, and he has the length and mobility to be a dominant pass blocker. If he can add a good 15 pounds to his frame, he could develop into one of the top blindside protectors in the game.

6. Creed Humphrey — Jr, #56, 6’5”, 320 lbs, — Oklahoma
Chances of falling to Steelers: 99%
Consensus ranking: 58 (96, 40, 51, 44, 61)
2020 season stats: (11 games)

Ryland B.: There were questions about Creed Humphrey’s athleticism entering the 2021 draft cycle, but he silenced the doubters with a 10/10 RAS score in 2021, making him one of the most athletic centers ever tested. But his technique is just as impressive. A former wrestler, he plays with good functional strength and excellent leverage. He’s a proven leader with a great football IQ as well. Being left-handed might cause some issues, but that shouldn’t drop him on many boards (could it raise him on Miami’s?). Humphrey has really cemented himself as the top center in this class, and could here his name called as early as the first round.

7. Mac Jones — Alabama
Chances of falling to Steelers: 5%
2020 season stats: 4,500 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 14 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Average Draft Ranking - 40.85

Ryland B: Mac Jones is a bit of a departure from his successors at Alabama, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. While Hurts and Tagovailoa were athletic, high-upside prospects with some concerns regarding their overall accuracy and ability to go through progressions, Jones is more of the opposite. He’s a pocket passer with decent athleticism, while his greatest strength is his accuracy and ability to distribute the football. Jones has a fairly strong arm and throws a pretty deep ball, while also going through his progressions well and delivering the ball on time. He’s not a good runner, or even very mobile for that matter, but he can recognize when to run and can gain a first down with his legs every now and then. Surrounded by superior talent and excellent play-calling, Jones put up some great numbers at Alabama this season. He has a fairly high floor, but doesn’t have the highest ceiling, and could be picked anywhere from the top 5 to the end of the first.

8. Najee Harris — RB — Alabama
Chances of falling to Steelers: 60%
2020 season stats: 1,466 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, 5.8 yards per carry (YPC), 43 receptions, 425 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: Considered a top recruit coming out of high school, Najee Harris underwhelmed in his first few years at Alabama, but slowly improved each season to become the best running back in his draft class by his senior year. Harris has the size of a NFL running back, but he also has the power and athleticism to succeed at the next level. He is a patient runner with good vision, and can consistently make something out of nothing if the play breaks down. He ends runs with power, and is hard to bring down once he gets going, even unleashing an impressive hurdling ability at times. He isn’t the fastest, but has enough speed and burst to succeed at the NFL level — although he won’t be a home-run hitter. As a receiver, Harris showed some good hands and yards after catch ability in 2020. If there’s one concern, it’s mileage, as Harris had over 800 touches during his 4 years at Alabama. He hasn’t shown any durability concerns, but it’s certainly something to be aware of due to the short shelf life on NFL running backs. Overall, Harris is the most complete and NFL-ready back in the draft class, having shown athleticism, talent, and production over his successful college career.

9. Alijah Vera-Tucker — Jr, #75, 6’4”, 315 lbs, — USC G/T
Chances of falling to Steelers: 25%
Consensus ranking: 24 (19, 32, 21, 29, 19)
2020 season stats: (6 games)

steelerfan11: Vera-Tucker was asked to move to left tackle and fill the void that Austin Jackson left. He wasn’t too bad, but he is much better suited at guard. He has quick hands and does a good job of landing his punches, and his body control is superb. His mobility is very good for an interior lineman as well, showing the ability to consistently get to the second level of the defense. He also displays a good pad level in the run game. Overall, Vera-Tucker brings a nice balance of upside and NFL readiness, and he could be gone by the time we get to pick 15.

10. Travis Etienne — Clemson
Chances of falling to Steelers: 55%
#9, Senior, 5’ 10”, 205 lbs
2020 season stats: 914 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 5.4 YPC, 48 receptions, 588 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: Etienne made the right choice returning to school for 2020, but ended up having a down year statistically, failing to crack a thousand rushing yards for the first time since his freshman season in 2017. He did improve as a pass-catcher, totaling a career high in receiving yards and better hands overall. As a runner, Etienne is a speedster, one of the fastest in this class. His smaller frame is a concern, but he hasn’t had any major injury issues and always plays bigger than he is, finishing runs with some power and giving his all every play. He doesn’t have the greatest vision, and will sometimes try to push runs too far outside, but his vision definitely improved in 2020. Etienne’s agility isn’t overly impressive, but his speed certainly gives him an advantage in avoiding defenders. Etienne isn’t a complete running back just yet, but he has a solid foundation of tools and his impressive speed gives him incredible upside as an NFL back.

11. Landon Dickerson — Sr, #69, 6’6’’, 325 lbs, — Alabama C
Chances of falling to Steelers: 99%
Consensus ranking: 67 (76, 59, 93, 56, 52)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: If it wasn’t for Dickerson’s extensive injury history, I’d have a much higher grade on him. Dickerson is a technically sound, smart center with good size and strength who plays very aggressively. He’s a proven winner and leader as well. His strength and physicality shine in his run blocking, and he is good in pass protection thanks to his football IQ and technical ability. Besides the injuries, Dickerson’s weaknesses involve his overall athleticism, as it isn’t bad but far from elite, and he isn’t the most mobile. He’s a strong player though and shined at the SEC level, so there isn’t a whole lot to worry about there. If Dickerson can stay healthy he’ll be a very good NFL center. If you’re interested in reading more in-depth analysis on him, check out K.T. Smith’s extensive breakdown on Dickerson HERE.

12. Azeez Ojulari — #13, So, 6’3”, 240 lbs, — Georgia
Chances of falling to Steelers: 35%
Consensus ranking: 39 (58, 30, 58, 22, 25)
2020 season stats: Tackles 31, TFL 12.5, Sacks 8.5, PD 2, FF 4, FR 1 (10 games)

Itz JustNoah: Ojulari has great athleticism and technique. He uses his hands well, he’s quick and he’s got a great bend that helps him stay upright. He has average size for an edge rusher so he could use a bit more strength but his speed off the line has helped him be successful without the ideal size. His major flaw comes as a run defender. When he’s forced outside and has to set the edge, he doesn’t have his burst off the line so he isn’t able to get by blockers. He’s not polished, but he’s got a high ceiling that makes him well worthy of being taken in the first round. He excelled in Kirby Smart’s 3-4 defense at Georgia and I think that’s where he will fit best in the NFL.

13. Zaven Collins — #23, Jr, 6’4” 260 lbs — Tulsa
Chances of falling to Steelers: 65%
Consensus ranking: 35 (28, 75, 23, 25, 22)
2020 season stats: Tackles 53, TFL 11.5, Sacks 4, FF 1, FR 1, PD 2, Int 4, (8 games)

steelerfan11: Collins has old-school size, but his fluidity in coverage is better than a lot of 230 pound linebackers in this class. He has decent range in coverage, but that is not his biggest strength. He was expected to run in the 4.6 range at his pro day, and he ran a little slower than that at 4.67. It was not a shocker to many people, but it does show that he may want to consider shedding a couple pounds if he wants to improve his range in coverage. However, his other numbers were impressive for a man his size, recording a 35 inch vertical and 122 inch broad jump. He will occasionally take a bad tackling angle and fail to bring the opponent down, but he does a good job of realizing gaps and filling them quickly. He has a few minor issues to fix, but he should still be able to contribute in year one. He should be off the board by the time we get to pick 40.

14. Asante Samuel, Jr. — #26, Jr, 5’10”, 184 lbs, — Florida State
Chances of falling to Steelers: 99%
Consensus ranking: 36 (26, 24, 45, 44, 42)
2020 season stats: Tackles 31, TFL 1, FF 1, FR 2, PD 6, Int 3, (8 games)

Necksnation: The son of a four-time Pro Bowler, Asante Samuel Jr. has been rising on draft boards and has the potential to be a high quality starter in the NFL. Samuel is best in man, and he defends the run well. Although he’s somewhat undersized, Samuel projects as an outside corner in the NFL who can also play in the slot. Samuel doesn’t have great ball skills, but he did register three interceptions in 2020, so he seems to be improving in that regard. The Steelers have reportedly met with Samuel, but I wouldn’t want him selected in the first two rounds.

15. Javonte Williams — North Carolina
Chances of falling to Steelers: 95%
2020 season stats: 1,140 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, 7.3 YPC, 25 receptions, 305 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

Ryland B.: I’ve seen some debates online over the past month or so arguing that Williams is the second-best running back in this class over Travis Etienne — and while I’m not ready to go that far yet, Williams’ incredible 2020 season certainly puts him in the discussion. He’s a running back that screams “Pittsburgh Steeler”, as he’s an underclassmen, runs with power and an attitude, and produced well in college. If he gets a good SPARQ score you might as well pencil him in as the Steelers’ second round pick. In a way, I see Javonte Williams as Benny Snell 2.0, someone with the powerful rushing style and contact balance the Steelers liked in Snell, but paired with good speed and burst to make him a complete back, something that Snell certainly lacks. Williams isn’t the fastest in this class, but he’s an excellent power back with enough speed to be a starter in the NFL. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on as the draft gets nearer.

16. Teven Jenkins — Sr, #73, 6’6’’, 320 lbs — Oklahoma State
Chances of falling to Steelers: 35%
Consensus ranking: 61 (109, 96, 33, 37, 32)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: Another name that comes up a lot at #24 in mock drafts, Jenkins is a powerful run-blocker at the tackle position who is still improving at the pass-blocking aspect of his position. I wasn’t all that impressed at first but he grew on me the more I watched. Jenkins really has that mauler mentality and plays with great power and drive. Put a guy in front of him and Jenkins will move him out of the way. This overaggressive style of play can get Jenkins in trouble at times, especially when paired with his lack of athleticism and technique. Overall I like Jenkins, as tough, aggressive linemen are something the Steelers really need more of on their roster. Still, there are a lot of issues that are hard to ignore, and Jenkins certainly needs to develop.

Ideally, that is how I believe they should be rated based on overall value, the Steelers’ needs, and positional value. I feel as if the Steelers’ actual rankings are more in the order of the following:

1. Micah Parsons — LB — Penn State
2. Christian Darrisaw — OT — Virginia Tech
3. Najee Harris — RB — Alabama
4. Teven Jenkins — OT — Oklahoma
5. Alijah Vera-Tucker — OL — USC
6. Jaycee Horn — CB — South Carolina
7. Asante Samuel, Jr. — CB — Florida State
8. Mac Jones — QB — Alabama
9. Landon Dickerson — C — Alabama
10. Creed Humphrey — C — Oklahoma
11. Travis Etienne — RB — Clemson
12. Zaven Collins — LB — Tulsa
13. Caleb Farley — CB — Virginia Tech
14. Azeez Ojulari — EDGE — Georgia
15. Javonte Williams — RB — North Carolina
16. Samuel Cosmi — OT — Texas

How do you think the Steelers have the top prospects ranked? How would you rate them? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for everything you need to know leading up to this week’s NFL Draft.

A complete list of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL Draft picks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 6:00am
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft is here, so time to remind everyone when the Steelers will make their picks!

The 2021 NFL Draft is here! And with the three day selection process finally here, it is important to always know what is going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure, everyone knows the team possesses the 24th overall pick in Round 1, but what about the other six rounds?

This is an article you might want to bookmark and come back to so you always know when the team picks in every round. You don’t want to miss a thing, so be sure to keep tabs on the Steelers’ picks in all 7 Rounds, except in Round 5 where they currently don’t have a selection.

Of course, this can change with draft day trades, but at the onset of Day 1 these are the Steelers’ eight draft picks for the 2021 draft.

Round 1

Pick 24

Round 2

Pick 55

Round 3

Pick 87

Round 4

Pick 128
Pick 140

Round 5


Round 6

Pick 216

Round 7

Pick 245
Pick 254

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the NFL Draft, the rest of NFL Free Agency and, of course, the 2021 regular season.

Mocking the mock drafts for the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 5:30am
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One brave pundit (me) puts the “mock” in “mock draft” as he panders to children around the world.

You there!

Are you a ten-year-old?

Do you want to see a mock draft where the Steelers take a highly-rated quarterback (or six)?

If so, look no further than this article. Just kick back, relax, and soak it all in as the Steelers select several players at coolest position on the football field...


ROUND 1: Pick 1

Trevor Lawrence

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I thought about having the Steelers trade away all of their first round selections for the next fifty years in a blockbuster deal to land Patrick Mahomes, but I ultimately decided that it was entirely infeasible. Instead, the Steelers are going to be looking for their next signal-caller in the draft, and who could be a better fit for for the black-and-gold than the most highly-touted QB prospect since Sam Darnold? Acquiring the first overall selection comes at a steep price for Pittsburgh (their first round pick every year for the next thirty years to be precise) but it should be worth it to land their quarterback of the future. As a nice bonus, the Jaguars even agree throw in Gardner Minshew. Yes, you read that correctly: the Steelers secure not just one, but two awesome quarterbacks by selling their souls to the Jaguars. In the end, it’s all worth it for the Steelers to obtain the quarterback with the most glorious mane since Ronnie Bass was forced to trim his locks in Remember the Titans.

ROUND 2: Pick 55

Kellen Mond

With several top quarterbacks already gone when the Steelers go to make their second pick, they all but sprint to the podium to select Mond, who is luckily still available. Though the pick could be considered by many to be a reach, especially when the Steelers already have so many good quarterbacks, there is no denying how cool Mond looks in this picture:

Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

After observing this picture and several other, equally cool photos of Mond, I’m sure Steeler-nation will warm to him rather quickly.

ROUND 3: Pick 67

Davis Mills

Unable to believe that someone as cool-looking as Mills was still available so late in the draft, the Steelers just knew they had to get him. Pulling the trigger on a trade with the Texans, the Steelers unload the rest of their draft picks this year in exchange for the ability to grab Mills. While not quite as awesome as Lawrence and Mond, Mills does have one massive advantage over the Steelers’ previous two picks: a manlier first name. Sort of. Maybe? It really depends on how you evaluate these things. Anyway, look at how cool he looks in this game against UCLA:

Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After trading up for Mills, the Steelers are left without any more draft picks. This leaves them unable to address any other positions of need, but also has the positive side-effect of allowing the black-and-gold faithful to move on with their lives after the third round.

With several awesome new quarterbacks joining the team in this scenario, the Steelers have to feel comfortable coming out of the draft. With Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs, Dwayne Haskins, Trevor Lawrence, Gardner Minshew, Kellen Mond, and Davis Mills on the roster, the Steelers will be able to field an offense made up almost entirely of quarterbacks, and, as we all know, the quarterback is the coolest guy on the team. Furthermore, the quarterback has to know the offense better than any other player, so one can only imagine the benefits of having EIGHT quarterbacks on the field at any given time. Unfortunately though, the Steelers will run the risk of growing dangerously thin at the position if one of these QB’s finds himself on the injury report. Luckily, however, the team should be able to address the lack of depth at the position in the post-draft free-agent frenzy...

What do you think? Did the Steelers select the right players in this scenario? Will they be able to secure enough quarterbacks in the draft to address the clear need at the position? Should they have spent a few picks on other positions of need like the unimportant and uncool positions of center and offensive tackle? Make your voice heard in the comments below!

Podcast: Will the Steelers follow or break their draft trends?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 4:30am

The Oracle Dave Schofield shares his thoughts in the AM platform with the classic stats show with the Co-Editor of BTSC.

It’s Draft Day and everybody has their suspicions of who the Men of Steel will choose at No. 24. Only the front office knows for sure, but past trends are triggering the experts guesses. Will they break those trends this seson? Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed on the Thursday episode of the AM slate of the BTSC family of podcasts. Join Co-Editor Dave Schofield as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Will the draft trends of the past remain?
  • and MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Steelers Draft Scenario 4.0: The Steelers take a dynamic defender in Round 1

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 3:30pm
Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the latest 2021 NFL Draft scenario, the Steelers improve their defense with their top pick.

With the 2021 NFL Draft just days away, it is time to start doing what all NFL teams are doing at this time in their draft prep. Teams are going through an endless amount of scenarios trying to decipher what they will do if the draft falls a certain way.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have any number of directions they could go in the upcoming selection process, so it is time to start running the scenarios leading up to the big event!

Check out previous scenarios below:

For clarification, as well as consistency, I am using FanSpeak’s mock draft simulator. It also should be noted there are never any fictitious trades in these scenarios.

1: R1P1 QB Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars

2: R1P2 QB Zach Wilson - New York Jets

3: R1P3 QB Justin Fields - San Francisco 49ers

4: R1P4 OT Rashawn Slater - Atlanta Falcons

5: R1P5 WR Ja’Marr Chase - Cincinnati Bengals

6: R1P6 WR DeVonta Smith - Miami Dolphins

7: R1P7 OT Penei Sewell - Detroit Lions

8: R1P8 WR Jaylen Waddle - Carolina Panthers

9: R1P9 CB Caleb Farley - Denver Broncos

10: R1P10 EDGE Azeez Ojulari - Dallas Cowboys

11: R1P11 EDGE Kwity Paye - New York Giants

12: R1P12 CB Jaycee Horn - Philadelphia Eagles

13: R1P13 LB Micah Parsons - LA Chargers

14: R1P14 TE Kyle Pitts - Minnesota Vikings

15: R1P15 WR Kadarius Toney - New England Patriots

16: R1P16 G Alijah Vera-Tucker - Arizona Cardinals

17: R1P17 DL Christian Barmore - Las Vegas Raiders

18: R1P18 OT Alex Leatherwood - Miami Dolphins

19: R1P19 OT Christian Darrisaw - Washington Football Team

20: R1P20 QB Trey Lance - Chicago Bears

21: R1P21 OT Teven Jenkins - Indianapolis Colts

22: R1P22 CB Asante Samuel Jr. - Tennessee Titans

23: R1P23 CB Greg Newsome - New York Jets

This fourth scenario is a situation where the Steelers have options at No. 24. Zaven Collins of Tulsa is available, and so are all three of the big name running backs. However, there are those Steelers fans who believe strongly in narratives surrounding the draft process. One of the most talked about narratives are whether or not the Steelers have Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert at a specific Pro Day workout.

In this case, neither were at Tulsa to watch Collins, but both were at Notre Dame to watch the Fighting Irish’s workout. Not that I believe the Steelers wouldn’t take a player based on whether Tomlin and Colbert were at the Pro Day, but the history speaks for itself.

With that said, the Steelers’ decide to take Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (JOK).

As you can see, several key players many black and gold fans want the team to draft are off the board. The run on offensive tackles has players like Teven Jenkins and Christian Darrisaw gone, several cornerbacks have also been selected, but there was plenty of talent to choose from at No. 24.

Trying to put myself in Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin’s position, I wanted to truly adopt the Best Player Available (BPA) approach.

I believe JOK can be a Swiss Army Knife of sorts for the Steelers in his rookie year. Not only playing the inside linebacker role, but also rushing the passer from time to time. JOK’s college tape shows a playmaker in the truest sense of the word, and him being injected into the lineup will only make an already good defense even better.

With JOK as the first round pick, the Steelers would likely approach the offensive side of the ball on Day 2 of the draft, mainly looking at center, offensive tackle and running back.

This is just the one of many NFL Draft scenarios I’ll be doing, every time finding a new prospect/approach which could dictate who the Steelers might select in the first found of the 2021 NFL Draft.

What do you think of the pick, given who was still available when it was the Steelers’ pick? Let us know in the comment section, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Podcast: Previewing the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 3:00pm

The 2021 NFL Draft is so close to becoming a reality. Join the Steelers Pregame Show as they preview the festivities.

All the talk and speculation of who will be the next newly-minted Pittsburgh Steeler is about to end when the Steelers take to the podium with the 24th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday Evening. Who will it be? With all of the excitement, BTSC dusted off the Steelers Pregame Show with a special draft edition. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Coach Kevin Smith as they preview the first round of the NFL Draft as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Is Tommy Tremble a tight end prospect the Steelers need in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 2:15pm
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For teams who are looking for a mid-round TE in the 2021 NFL Draft, Tommy Tremble might be a prospect to keep an eye on.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many NFL organizations who could be looking at a tight end in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. However, unlike the other franchises who are looking to add to their current secondary depth chart, the Steelers possess the 24th overall pick.

Not really conducive to getting a top tier prospect, and although there are big name prospects like Kyle Pitts, what about the mid-round options? There are a lot of talented players who could be available to the Steelers in the mid-to-later rounds, and Tommy Tremble certainly is a tough player to peg in regards to where he is expected to be taken in the upcoming draft.

There is the chance the Steelers choose to take a tight end to bolster their lackluster depth in 2021, and if Notre Dame’s Tremble is available when the Steelers pick on Day 2 or early Day 3, is he an option?

I did some digging on Tremble, and put together a brief synopsis of the kind of player he is, and will be when becoming a professional. Below you’ll see draft profile breakdowns, film room breakdowns and game film for you to enjoy.

Don’t listen to me, or anyone else, form your own opinion on Tremble. I plan on doing this for other prospects as the draft approaches. If there is a specific player you’d like to see covered, simply let me know and I’ll be glad to put it together!

Let us know your thoughts on Tremble in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Draft Profiles


Highly intriguing early entry tight end who appears to be scratching the surface of his future impact. He’s not the same level of player, but Tremble’s blocking toughness and athletic profile are reminiscent of Kellen Winslow Jr.’s when he entered the league. Tremble is a gritty, capable blocker at the point of attack and will really move the needle as a lead and move blocker in space. However, he lacks development as a route runner and has hands that fail to inspire confidence as a pass catcher. His versatility as a run blocker will allow offensive coordinators to shift him around formations and create favorable matchups in the passing game. If he’s able to simply improve his hands status to average, his speed and athleticism should create chunk play opportunities. He has Day 2 value with Day 1 upside.


  • Feisty play demeanor suits his love of contact.
  • Activated as blocker from a variety of formations.
  • Uses athletic talent to gain positioning after initial strike.
  • Accelerates and crashes into targets as lead blocker.
  • Smooth block-to-block transition to open the edge for outside run.
  • Blocking talent opens up play-action opportunities.
  • Athletic ability and speed stand out as pass catcher.
  • Bursts off the snap and races into route.
  • Basketball movement for easy route adjustments in traffic.
  • Can separate on second- and third-level routes.
  • Vast improvement from 2019 with contested catches.
  • Talent and athleticism for some pass protection asks.


  • Just 35 career catches for 401 yards.
  • Gives away short routes with altered initial speed.
  • Needs quicker sink and open versus short zone.
  • Double catches and drops are a concern.
  • Had more drops than touchdowns at Notre Dame.
  • Still learning to fit up block with proper platform and pad level.
  • Needs quiet, efficient hands at the point of attack.
The Draft Network

Tommy Tremble projects as an F-tight end in the NFL—a flex weapon that will be best served in an offense that doesn’t charge him with playing with his hand in the dirt. Tremble is a plus athlete who offers the long speed and agility to be dynamic as a pass-catcher, but his production to this point has yet to make the leap that you’d want to see to feel confident that he’s going to develop into an upper-level tight end at some point. Tremble has spent his career at Notre Dame caught behind the likes of Cole Kmet and 2020 freshman star Michael Mayer; he’s been the TE2 who is charged with moving around the set or blocking on the perimeter to set up runs and screens to the outside. Tremble’s potential is significant and his effort as a role player has been admirable, so you’ll feel fairly good that Tremble has the right makeup to stick as a developmental player while working himself into a more prominent role as he continues to mature.

Ideal Role: F-alignment tight end.

Scheme Fit: High motion, high volume perimeter concepts, high play-action passing ratio.

Pro Football Network
  • Position: Tight End
  • School: Notre Dame
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height: 6’3 3/8″
  • Weight: 241 pounds

Positives: Athletic tight end who flashed dominance as both a blocker and a pass catcher. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and possesses terrific blocking vision. Explosive at the point and knocks defenders back from the action, working through the whistle. Runs well laterally, follows the quarterback across the field, and adjusts and swipes the ball out of the air on crossing patterns.

Extends to make the reception away from his frame and displays strong hands with the ability to pull the fastball out of the air. Works to make himself an available target and uses his frame to shield away defenders.

Negatives: Used more as a rotational tight end for Notre Dame rather than a consistent starter. Must improve his route running.

Analysis: Tremble displayed flashes of being a complete tight end last season, dominating as a blocker and coming up with big plays as a pass catcher. He’s a tough, athletic, and grind-it-out tight end, with a large upside, but he may need time before he’s truly ready to be a starter at the next level.

Breakdowns Game Film Other Breakdowns







Interior OLine


Podcast: Who will the Steelers select at 24, in 24 hours time?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 2:00pm

Matt Peverell breaks down the Steelers salary cap and player personnel situation every week in The War Room

The time has come. The Steelers will have a new player donning the black and gold 24 hours from now. Once again, BTSC will dive into the cap and draft plan, Plus, two more players get added to the big board. Join BTSC’s Matt Peverell for his solo show as he examines the ins-and-outs of the Steelers dollars and “sense” situation when it comes to personnel.

Check out the newest addition to the BTSC family of podcasts and stay a while with Matty in The War Room.

Rundown of the show:

  • The 1st Round of the NFL Draft and things to think about with each pick, where teams might go
  • Rundown of Daniel Jeremiah’s Top 150 prospects and the best fits for the Steelers
  • The Steelers Big Board

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Here’s why you keep seeing Zaven Collins mocked to the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 1:00pm
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

While the majority of mock drafts side with Najee Harris, a growing minority have zoned in on the massive linebacker.

With mere hours between us and the 2021 NFL Draft many ‘draft experts’ and fans alike are putting out their final editions of their personal mock drafts. If you have been reading these mock drafts you will have certainly noticed the pure volume of times Alabama running back Najee Harris is expected to be the pick. You may have also noticed a couple other things, one of which being offensive lineman are now virtually nowhere to be seen. But for the purpose of today’s article we will be looking at the second most frequent mock drafted player to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That being Tulsa linebacker, Zaven Collins.

For many, imagining the Steelers drafting a position that isn't running back, center, tackle, or cornerback with their first round pick doesn't make much sense. I’m sure many people will question further why a linebacker of all positions. Well, today we will dive in on Zaven Collins’ fit on the Steelers, how he could revolutionize the defense, and why he would likely be the best player available on the board when it’s the Steelers turn to pick.

Zaven Collins with the Pick 6!

First he forces the big fumble at the end of the first half, now, he takes it in for 6.

I think Tulsa really enjoys playing in the Sunshine State.

— Tyler Wiederhoeft (@TDWiederhoeft) October 24, 2020

Before we get to these reasons I also wanted to touch on one of the elephants in the room. Yes, neither Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert attended Tulsa’s pro day, and yes Tulsa is not a Power 5 school. While Steelers first round draft picks tend to have Tomlin/Colbert pro day attendance, and historically come from the biggest schools in the country, it’s important to keep in mind these aren't official rules. The Steelers did send a scout and a linebackers coach to watch almost every prospect’s Pro Day. Also, Power 5 schools typically have the most high end NFL Draft talent, making it merely a coincidence. Ben Roethlisberger came out of the MAC after all, and the Steelers were set on taking the American conference’s William Jackson III in 2016 before the Bengals swooped took him a pick before.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into why you continue to see Zaven Collins being mocked to the Steelers.

Linebacker Depth Chart

We will start this one off with what appears to be a hot take, but in all honesty is more of a tough pill to swallow. Outside of a returning Devin Bush, the Steelers inside linebacker depth chart is not that strong. Hear me out on this, Vince Williams returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year veteran minimum deal probably denotes the final year of Williams’ career. The man has made a career out of big hits and tackles for loss, but often times was left out to dry in defensive schemes demanding him to drop into coverage. Collins on the other hand is the highest graded college coverage linebacker since 2011, while also being the size of a Mack truck. The Steelers won't want to find a linebacker in 2022 when they should be looking to deal draft capital for their next quarterback.

Robert Spillane basically said he is training to be the Steelers sub package dime linebacker. Which is a solid role for him. In these situations Collins could rotate down to the edge and rush the passer. Because, not only is he good at it, but T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith do not have a back up good enough to give them any rest. You kill two birds with one stone by drafting Collins.

How @ZavenCollins describes himself: Versatile, athletic, freakish

Which team is drafting the @TulsaFootball star LB?

: 2021 #NFLDraft - 4/29 to 5/1 on NFLN/ESPN/ABC

— NFL (@NFL) April 22, 2021 Revolutionizes the Defense

Collins ability to blitz, sniff out screen passes, tackle running backs, and drop back in coverage gives the Steelers so much flexibility with their linebackers they could play a whole new style of defense. Instead of being forced into nickel defense, the Steelers could simply bump out either Collins or Devin Bush and find success in coverage.

They also wouldn't skip a beat from the loss of Mike Hilton because of Collins ability to get to the passer. Bottom line is the Steelers could do more than ever before with their linebackers. Collins has also stated he is more than willing to be a quarterback spy, and when you're in a division with Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow, having someone who can do that is a huge bonus.

Physically Imposing

You can’t teach size, and Zaven Collins has plenty of it. Standing a smidge under 6’5” and currently tipping the scales at 270 pounds Collins will instantly be one of the biggest linebackers in the NFL. Collins uses his incredible length to bat down passes and punch footballs out of ball carriers’ arms. With NFL development, Collins’ massive frame will be used like a deadly weapon.

Dynamite College Tape

I highly suggest you spend some time watching Collins’ college tape. There’s a reason why he is the reigning Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as college football’s top defender. From game-winning walk off pick-6’s, forcing safeties, sacks, big hits, tackles for loss, and turnovers, he can do it all. No matter when Tulsa played, Zaven Collins was the best player on the field, and it immediately jumps off the screen when you watch it for yourself.

Zaven Collins is a 6’4” 260 lbs. Linebacker out of Tulsa that can move like this. This was a 96-yard game winning, walk off Pick 6 in OT. No big deal. Sure fire 1st rounder next month.

— Steven Cheah (@StevenCheah) March 14, 2021 Best Player Available

When it is the Steelers’ turn to pick at 24, there's a real chance that the top offensive lineman, and other skill players are off the board. There’s even a 50-50 shot that someone drafts or trades past the Steelers to claim Najee Harris. In all likelihood, the best player available will be this kid. If the Steelers want to stick to the best player available approach then this could very well be the name we hear.

Zaven Collins shoots the gap and brings the back down for a safety. That’s 6’3 256 lbs MOVING!

— Lorenz (@ScoutingLenz) December 23, 2020

So what do you think? If Zaven Collins is the best remaining player on the board should the Steelers take him? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.


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