G. Bennett’s 2021 3-Round Steelers Mock Draft 1.0

It’s that time of the year again, where it’s impossible to predict the NFL Draft no matter how many times we all try!

While 2020 didn’t end the way the Steelers had hoped, all around it was an above-average season, starting the year with an 11-0 record only to start rolling down a dreadful hill afterward.

Yet, it was still a great season to build from. The Steelers aren’t sitting great with current cap constraints, but they have drastically improved from where they were at the start of the offseason.

Those constraints make this year’s draft even more vital to the Steelers’ success this upcoming season. What better way to get an idea of what’s to come for this upcoming draft than using an NFL Mock Draft Simulator?

If you are expecting loads of offensive firepower in this first mock simulation… turn around and run away!

While I enjoy putting my twists on simulated drafts, I am sticking with what I think the Steelers will do, not necessarily what I would do. I now give you the future first, second, and third round picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

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Round 1 (24): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB (Notre Dame)

2020 Stats: 62 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 3 FF, 1 INT, 3 PD & 1 TD

I know… we all want Najee Harris or a stud upfront to protect Big Ben.

I was stuck after reviewing who had been drafted from 1-23. This is where I sat: Owusu-Koramoah (or “JOK” for short), Caleb Farley, and Javonte Williams.

Who would you take?

I had to go with my gut here and put a stud right beside Devin Bush with JOK. While the two other options would make a difference from day one, JOK will make the biggest difference and make the defensive front seven the best in football.

JOK isn’t only explosive and versatile, he is a straight-up playmaker. He plays with an unmatched level of energy and hits without hesitation.

Forcing fumbles is his specialty, knocking out five forced fumbles over the last two seasons. JOK is the kind of player you want on the field every play, as he is not only a ferocious tackler but can also hold his own in coverage against RBs and TEs (with a struggle against slot WRs, he has room to grow and will be efficient when called upon in coverage).

I will not be surprised to see JOK snagged before pick 24, but if he is sitting there without Najee Harris on the board, best believe Pittsburgh will be making him a Steeler.

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Round 2 (55): Asante Samuel Jr. – CB (Florida State)

2020 Stats: 30 Tackles, 2 FF, 3 INT’s, 6 PD

Did I read that correctly? Asante Samuel Jr. on the board at 55? I clicked “Draft” faster than I could blink!

The three options available at 55: Asante Samuel Jr., Brady Christensen, and Quinn Meinerz.

Realistically, I don’t see Asante Samuel Jr. lasting until pick 55 but if he does, I’m sure Steelers will be delighted to draft him.

He can be “grabby”: many analysts love to highlight that in his draft profile. He is very aggressive and has amazing footwork. Athleticism isn’t in question; he dominated his Pro Day and I think he is a first-round pick.

Cornerback is still a real need for Pittsburgh, as Joe Haden isn’t getting any younger. Behind Cameron Sutton, there are multiple question marks too. I believe Pittsburgh takes LB/CB/OL in the first two rounds, and it will all depend on who is available and when.

While I haven’t addressed the offensive line in the draft so far, I couldn’t be happier with these two picks. This draft is deep with offensive linemen and Pittsburgh can find their guy in the later rounds.

Looking back after the draft I may have jumped the gun with Samuel, as Meinerz is a great pick at 55… but no time to fret, as sitting with two of the better defensive players in this class,  I can’t complain!

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Round 3 (87): Kenneth Gainwell – RB (Memphis)

2020 Stats: 1,459 Yards, 13 Rushing TDs, 51 Rec, 610 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving TDs

Kenneth Gainwell is my fourth overall running back in the draft. The three prospects available here that I considered are Gainwell, Trey Sermon, and Stone Forsythe. I thought this pick was an easy one to make, as Forsythe could be a reach here and Sermon does not have third-round talent.

Gainwell isn’t your franchise back but he is the day one starter in the Steelers’ weak running back room.

Gainwell has great field vision and he can catch; catching the football out of the backfield for the Steelers has been atrocious since the departure of Le’Veon Bell.

“Small size but great production” is my one-liner for Kenneth Gainwell. As mentioned above, he isn’t your franchise back but he is a starter for the Steelers.

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Conclusion

Recapping the three rounds:

  • Round 1: JOK
  • Round 2: Asante Samuel Jr.
  • Round 3: Kenneth Gainwell

I like all three picks and the value of where they were drafted. I barely missed out on Josh Myers in third-round, and in a real situation, I would trade up so I can draft a center ASAP.

Overall, I would give this draft a modest B.

The team is automatically better at all three positions I selected. I would happily throw an A- on this draft if I could have snagged Myers in Round 3 but I’m going to stick it at a B because of the lack of focus on fixing the OL.

I will have two more simulations to go before the NFL Draft. Let’s see if we can address the offensive line and snag the franchise running back sooner on version two!

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to hear your feedback, let me know who you would have taken in the three rounds between the options available on my Twitter @bennettOg7.

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