Eric Herrmann’s 2020 7-Round Steelers Mock Draft
Let’s not waste any time here. It’s time to mock the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 NFL Draft.
Round 2: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Steelers are in a fortunate position this year because they can go in virtually any direction with pick 49. Players fall every year, and the Steelers can afford to sit back and let their guy come to them. Given the depth at receiver in this year’s draft class, a talented receiver is bound to be available at 49, and I’m guessing Tee Higgins could be one of those guys.
While the Steelers already have a strong top three at wide receiver, there are a lot of unknowns in the depth chart. And, with Ben Roethlisberger‘s level of play a question going into the season, it would be wise to surround him with as much talent as possible.
Higgins will fit well with this offense. The Steelers love receivers who are versatile and can play all the receiver spots, which Higgins has experience with. Higgins isn’t the fastest guy but he more than makes up for it with his size, ball skills, and a knack for touchdowns. Higgins will be able to contribute from Day 1 and be a big, reliable weapon.
Also considered: Cam Akers, RB (FSU)
Round 3: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
With one of their early picks, it’s important for the Steelers to draft a defensive player who can contribute to sub-packages and bring versatility to the defense. Mark Barron played a lot of snaps in 2019, and whether it be a safety or a linebacker, it’s important to bring in a player who can help fill the spot his absence created.
Troy Dye isn’t ready to be a Day 1 starter but with his speed and athleticism, he could compete to contribute on 3rd-downs and sub-packages. He can be brought along while Vince William handles the starting job. He has the tools you want in a modern linebacker; the Steelers just need to help him with the mental aspect of the game and also beef him up a bit.
Also considered: K’Von Wallace, S (Clemson)
Round 4a: Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
It’s no secret the elite offensive line the Steelers had for years is entering its twilight. While there’s still a lot of talent there, these guys aren’t getting any younger, so an infusion of talent is needed. It’s also very possible that either a tackle or interior offensive lineman could be picked in the 2nd or 3rd round.
While Matt Feiler or Steve Wisniewski looks likely to start at left guard this year, Ben Bredeson can provide valuable depth. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up in toughness, experience, and leadership. The Steelers can allow him to sit and learn for a year or two in order to see if he can develop into a starting-caliber guard.
Also considered: Alex Highsmith, EDGE (Charlotte)
Round 4b: Brandon Jones, S, Texas
One of the major themes of the Steelers 2020 draft is depth. If you look at the safety’s behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds it’s a scary sight. There’s still some intriguing free agent options at safety, but I expect the Steelers to be eyeing a safety to select this year.
Brandon Jones is a guy who may never be a starter, but he provides needed depth. He played all over the field at Texas and ideally his versatility can help him find a niche in Pittsburgh. If Jones is able to contribute on defense as a rookie, that will allow Fitzpatrick and Edmunds to be move around the field more and create a more dynamic defense.
Also considered: Benito Jones, DT (Mississippi)
Round 6: Dane Jackson, CB, Pitt
I’m not gonna lie, choosing late-round picks with the Steelers this year is a pain. Normally, you can look at pro days and pre-draft visits to get a list of under-the-radar names but, thanks to a global pandemic, we don’t have that luxury this year.
So with this pick, I’ll have the Steelers shopping local and take Dane Jackson from Pitt. While cornerback is very low on the list of needs, the Steelers normally try and address needs before they become dire. Jackson isn’t ready to contribute on defense right away but, with his tough and feisty nature, he’ll be asset for Pittsburgh on special teams.
Also considered: Solomon Kindley, G (Georgia)
Round 7: Sewo Olonilua, RB, TCU
The running back position is funny to me because it wouldn’t surprise me if the Steelers address it in the 2nd or the 7th rounds. On paper, the team is set with James Conner, Benny Snell, and Jaylen Samuels. However, Conner has struggled to stay healthy, Snell is young and still a question mark, and Samuels’ play has been up and down on the field.
The Steelers have had reported interest in Sewo Olonilua and he fits their mold as a big running back, therefore he makes sense as a late-round target.
Also considered: AJ Green, CB (Clemson)