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It has been a minute and I have gathered my thoughts and emotions following a bounce back season for the Steelers that was filled with a lot of emotion and passion. This season provided both joy and pain. After a solid start and expectations of the best is yet to come, a reality of anger and frustration set in. The disappointment of missed and lost opportunities fill your mind at the end of the season. Injuries hurt, playing in a pandemic year with inconsistencies that led to this team not having a true bye week. Playing three games over 15 days and losing to teams that you should have beaten soundly.   There were the media circuses, dancing on logos, over talking on social media, and finally fans losing confidence in the HC, franchise QB and hometown hero’s.  For as Steelers fan the standard of excellence is the standard. Anything short of a Lombardi Trophy being raised in victory as the clock strikes 00:00 is less than the standard aka the Steelers way. It has been 12 seasons since this team raised its hands with a Lombardi in it as champions. Perhaps it is time for some change. There is a difference between expectations and the reality. Maybe the standard and accountability need to be raised? These are all questions everyone has after falling short of your ultimate goal. From 11-0 to 12-4 to one and done in embarrassing fashion to “The Same Ole’ Browns!” The Steelers are a proud and tough team that got knocked down and out. Time to regroup and rebuild in some areas while still offering the chance to hold Lombardi #7 after the 2021 regular season is played out. August hopes can’t evaporate into December let downs and January exits.

Here is Mock 1.0 Based on the board that I used and some of my initial thoughts.

Steelers Free Agents Resigned: RT Zach Banner, CB Cam Sutton, WR Ju Ju Smith-Shuster, NG Tyson Alualu, WR Ray Ray McCloud, ILB Robert Spillane, OLB/Edge Cassius Marsh, SS/ST Jordan Dangerfield, FS/ST Sean Davis, ILB/S Marcus Allen, C J.C. Hassenauer, OLB Ola Adeniyi.

 

Steelers Free Agents Signing Elsewhere: OLB/Edge Bud Dupree, LT Alexandro Villanueva, RT Matt Feiler, Nickel CB Mike Hilton, RB James Connor, ILB Avery Williamson, OLB Jayrone Elliott, P Jordan Berry, DT/DE Chris Wormely, IOL Danny Isidora, RB Trey Edmunds, OT Jerald Hawkins, QB Joshua Dobbs.

 

Key Other Free Agents Signed by the Steelers: C BJ Finney, LT Kelvin Beachum,

 

Draft Needs: LT, C, RB, WR, ILB, OLB/Edge, NG, TE, CB, S, Franchise QB

Using Draftek.com’s player rankings:

https://www.drafttek.com/2021-NFL-Draft-Big-Board/Top-NFL-Draft-Prospects-2021-Page-1.asp

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1.       Round One Pick #24 - - Najee Harris (correction from Davenport) RB Alabama 6’2 230 - -My thought is that the top LT's will be gone and I do not want to overdraft too much here. I believe that 6 or 7 tackles went in the first round of the 2020 draft. So I don't think Sewell, Darrisaw, Cosmi, Mayfield or Eichenberg will be there when the Steelers pick. I think that they choose between Travis Entienne and Najee. Because they have McFarland, I think they choose bigger and a more durable downhill running back here. This is a need and neither of these players will be there at 55. I think it is a little early for a center like Creed Humphrey or Landon Dickerson.  I think these backs are the BPA and best need pick available in this scenario. 

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2.       Round Two Pick #55 - - Pat Freiermuth TE Penn State 6’5 250 - - Both of my second round potential C's are gone and what I call the next tier of tackles are as well (Vera-Tucker, Little, and Jenkins).  I was tempted to go after CB Alex Molden here,  but we still have Haden, Nelson and Cam.  I think James Pierre takes Justin Layne's spot as the #4. Some people have Pat as a late round one prospect, but I think that may be a little early for him to be drafted. Not that he is not talented, but the premium seems to be more on the TE's who can stretch the field like Kyle Pitts. Steelers struck gold with Chase last year and hopefully they have their future starting TE here in Freiermuth. I missed out on Tennessee's OG/C Trey Smith.  I am intrigued by his size and strengths. He could potentially move to Center or play OG in 2022 with Kevin Dotson and replace DeCastro. Can you say rushing attack or smash-mouth? He is no secret and his upside could have him go much higher than the lower part of round two. 

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3.       Round Three Pick #88 - - Dillon Radunz LT North Dakota State 6’6 300 - - You have to be patient  sometimes and lucky at others.  He is going to need some time to develop, but I like his upside. I grabbed him a little early, but also feared he would not be there at pick #119 or the other fourth round comp pick. LT is a need and you are not typically going to find solid guys to protect your franchise QB's blindside in round four. Villy had his ups and downs, but far exceeded expectations. Kelvin Beachum holds the spot for a year until Coach Klemm and company can develop him. He just needs some time to get bigger, stronger and add some NFL technique and he will be fine. I will admit maybe a tad early. I would love this as one of my fourth round picks, but I don't think he lasts until #119 with the amount of quality/developmental  LT's being drafted.

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4.       Round Four  Pick #119 - - KJ Britt ILB Auburn 6’ 235 - - Vince will hopefully restructure to save some cash, but they will lose Avery Williamson. I can't depend on Ulysses Gilbert to stay healthy and Marcus Allen doesn't put the fear of Jack Lambert in opposing offenses. KJ Britt looks like the cross between Shannon Sharpe and Takeo Spikes love child😂😂I like the combination of a healthy Bush and Spillane in the middle. No huge rush, but hopefully he can give the Steelers what they were expecting from Grant and some solid depth to the position. Ironically he has had his own injury issues, but hopefully that is behind him. He should be a nice pick-up for the defense.

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5.       Round Four Comp Pick  - -  Quinn Meirnerz OC UW Whitewater 6’3 320 - - "Cotton candy, sweet as gold, let me see that belly roll!" You gotta love the Big Sexy's! 

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I am bringing back BJ Finney to start and give this kid some time to get even stronger and develop under the guidance of OL Coach Klemm.  Small school prospect with an all pro heart and attitude. You need sleepers and this is this year's Kevin Dotson. He can get a few reps spelling the guards and then move to Center to compete with Finney. They solidify the Steelers OL as Pouncey and DeCastro did. This kid is a baller. The Steelers struck gold with Matt Feiler, but moved him out of position from RT to LG. Keep this kid on the interior and you have your Center for the next 10 - 12 years. 

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6.       Round Six Pick #192 - -Malcolm Koonce OLB/Edge Buffalo 6’3 250 - - This is certainly not Khalil Mack, but he has some upside and isn't a bad pick or need here based on how the board fell. I was tempted to force a safety, but I am probably going to have to find a decent veteran free agent at this point. He looks the part and has some potential. Can he surpass Ola and Marsh on the depth chart?

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7.       Round Seven Pick #210 - - Trevon Grimes WR Florida 6’4 220 - -Big kid with some size to go against  Washington and Dionte's skills. He will do what Chase doesn't (tough underneath/inside the hash mark catches) and potentially replace Ju Ju (I am betting that he does a one year play it out with Ben contract in 2021). The Steelers do a good job of developing WR's. Without a Combine and other live tests, you have to hope that they are on top of their scouting. Very safe pick if he holds true to the board that I used. He is not going to run a 4.3 forty or blow you away with moves, but can fill the void for a specific role and could actually be pretty good with it.

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8.       Round Seven Pick #219 - - Pressy Harvin III P   Georgia Tech 6’ 250 - - I would take the kid from the Destroying Videos clips to punt if I could. He has a body or frame that Sebastian Janokowski would high five him for, but I see upside in this kid with some flexibility and technique. The natural power is there based on his size and he will grow and get his "man strength."  I like the directional and the high placement punters, but give me a guy who can kick it to Mars. I think he has the potential and worth a shot here.

Please grade, evaluate/critique and or discuss.

 

 

Edited by Steeler Hitman
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I don’t love the idea of a RB in round 1, but if we have to do it Najee is the only one worth it. I love Pat in the second, I hope he falls that far. Radunz has a boatload of potential, I hope he falls that far. I’ve heard good things about Britt. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Meinerz, but as I’ve said before, I hope he falls that far. That is one fat punter. It seems rather optimistic, but if it happened I’d love it.

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Sorry Hitman, but I hate any draft that has us going RB in round 1.

I get its a need.   A rather big one, but its just not worth it...pretty much ever.   

Could it happen?   Yes, but Im really hoping it doesnt.     

I doubt Pat Freiermuth falls out of the top 50, but if we took a RB in round 1 then got Friermuth in the 2nd....I probably couldnt complain TOO much.    

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19 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I don’t love the idea of a RB in round 1,

I don't think that very many of us do love the idea of RB in round one. I used the player rankings and put some thought into what I thought could realistically happen. This is a weird year with no Combine and a few college showcase games and still to come pro days to showcase talent and evaluate if the athleticism, speed, etc. matches the film. I used draftteks ratings and went from there. I don't see Darisaw or Cosmi waiting for us to pick at #24. The ILB's are gone, the WR's that could be there meh,  and I try to stick with BPA and yet still consider need.  I would not take QB Mac Jones as I am drafting today. 😉 It came down to Travis and Najee and I chose Najee as the bigger back who offers what the Steeles need.

but if we have to do it Najee is the only one worth it. I love Pat in the second, I hope he falls that far.

Not really sure that he does fall that far, but he was in the area, so I chose who I felt was the BPA and also a need. 

Radunz has a boatload of potential, I hope he falls that far. I’ve heard good things about Britt. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Meinerz, but as I’ve said before, I hope he falls that far.

As far as both of these small school talents go, they could go a round earlier or around where they are. Based on the player rankings, I was pretty spot on grabbing them. Radnuz was ranked 84, so I was in the neighborhood selecting him 88 and pushing some of the other OT's up higher as well. They had Quinn listed at #130 and I probably should have switched the order between he and KJ Britt as they had him ranked #140. 

That is one fat punter. It seems rather optimistic, but if it happened I’d love it.

😁 As far as the fat punter, I don't care what his waistline is as long as he can kick. I don't want to see another season of Berry. Pressy is a big boi hence the reference to former fellow big boi former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janokowski. Big Boi's need love too! Especially if he can punt! 😉

15 hours ago, jebrick said:

I will bet cash money that Dillon Radunz does not make it out of the top 40.  I expect him to be a 1st round pick.

I don't doubt you. The site has 15 other IOL and OT's ranked ahead of him. One of my issues with mock's and simulators is how the player rankings are all over the place.  I would honestly take him in round one depending on how the board fell. Many draftniks or experts would think I am over-drafing the small school product. He and Quinn look like ballers to me. Playing OL starts with attitude. Give me guys who have the desire and technique can be taught and adjusted. Having a tough mindset and loving to be a mover of men is an attitude!  I have Dillon ranked higher than the 84th best player in the draft. I used a bit of a sliding scale (from their rankings) of between 5-10 spots depending on the player and teams selecting ahead of the Steelers pick needs/potential direction.

9 hours ago, 43M said:

Sorry Hitman, but I hate any draft that has us going RB in round 1.

I am not going to exclude talent based on position. I would tend to agree with the fact that draft value changes over the years. RB is not valued as it was 20 years ago.  RT was also at one time a more coveted/prized prized pick than LT.

The Steelers built their franchise around a DT in the 70's, but badly missed passing on a franchise QB named Marino in 84 because they stuck to the same old outdated philosophy. It cost them rings!!!! For that reason, I would never say never based on the position outside of probably kicker and punter (with all due respect to Al Davis taking HOF Punter Ray Guy in round one).

I didn't get into moving down trading, etc. That would make this even more of a guessing game. The Steelers biggest mistake over the last few years was drafting Edmunds #1,. Super freakish and athletic guy. He may even one day make a prop bowl, but not moving down and still getting him and adding more valuable picks or players was a mistake. The Edmunds pick was bad because of the draft value.  Are you telling me in the 2018 draft the Steelers should have taken Edmunds over Nick Chubb because Chubb was a RB and you never take a RB in the first round? And I am not only speaking from the fact Chubb is a beast now, but most all of us had him ranked wayyyy above Edmunds then. I also had Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny ranked higher than Edmunds. 

I get its a need.   A rather big one, but its just not worth it...pretty much ever.   

I am big on the BPA rankings. As this played out, my top ranked players on the board were Entienne and Harris. I was not going to overdraft someone else simply because they play RB.  I am more playing advocate than necessarily truly disagreeing with your point. 

Could it happen?   Yes, but I'm really hoping it doesn't.     

I just don't want to see a real reach or player they could get in round two or three taken because of need. Burns us evey time: Jarvis Jones and Troy Edwards back in the day.

I doubt Pat Freiermuth falls out of the top 50, but if we took a RB in round 1 then got Friermuth in the 2nd....I probably couldn't complain TOO much.    

Just how I played out the draft board and some changes in my head. This is certainly not my ideal mock or how I would want things to go. 

7 hours ago, DudeWhat??? said:

Dunz is not getting to that round... Quinn is also not getting to that round... 

I don't disagree, but see explanation above and my picks in accordance to the website rankings. 

 

Thanks for the input and I will consider this the next time I mock. 

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24 minutes ago, jebrick said:

I do like Quinn Meirnerz but I do not see him lasting past the 4th.  I have seen him in mocks as high as the 3rd.

I really think if nfl teams see him as truly OG/OC versatile, not just a guy who can snap in a pinch, he will definitely go in the 3rd. He vaults up the center rankings.

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Hitman...

A)  my view of RB in the first is not based merely on position alone, but rather the talent in the class.   There is not a single RB that notably stands out to the point where it would be worth it over, say...waiting until the 3rd or 4th round to find one.  

B)  Obviously, prospect rankings vary from person to person, but I have a hard time believing that the two best players that will be available when we pick will be 2 RBs, but Im not going to debate it since its largely opinion based.

C)   we have other glaring needs at positions that are much harder to find decent ones beyond the first two rounds.  BPA is fine, but it has to be done intelligently.  We arent in position to be making glamour picks.

D)  That Dan Marino analogy was laughably bad in regards to this situation.

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:39 PM, 43M said:

🤪Hitman...

A)  my view of RB in the first is not based merely on position alone, but rather the talent in the class.   There is not a single RB that notably stands out to the point where it would be worth it over, say...waiting until the 3rd or 4th round to find one.  

Interesting take. I think the top two backs are head and shoulders above the rest. That is not to say that you can't get value or good players after them, but rather just in terms of overall talent. I just believe that if the talent is there on your board take it. I agree with you about some other discussions you've had about draft value and not over-drafting a player/poor draft value (Terrell Edmunds in round one).  Try to drop down if you don't see the need or value. But I have always said that if you really like a player in a round and you won't get a chance to draft them the next round or trade up in the next round or down in the current round, then why not take them?  Right now, I don't believe that any of the top round one value LT's will be there at 24 and I believe they need a true LT and not a RT. Center may be a little high to take Creed Humphrey and I love Landon Dickerson too, but I am concerned with injury history there. Those are players who I feel are very talented, but not necessarily first round talents.  Since you get the fifth year option with round one picks, that plays a big consideration. That actually isn't such a bad thing for the RB position. Not a lot of RB's are getting a second contract based on the wear and tear of the position and how many feel as you do (They can be easily replaced).  Entienne or Harris could possibly do for us what Leveon did. The Steelers need a jump in style and talent at the position. I am not married to selecting a particular position. In this scenario and using their (draftek's) board, they were just the BPA's available.  I wouldn't lose sleep if they took them or even took say LT Dillon Radunz if they couldn't drop or because they love him and the other top LT options are gone. 

B)  Obviously, prospect rankings vary from person to person, but I have a hard time believing that the two best players that will be available when we pick will be 2 RBs, but I'm not going to debate it since its largely opinion based.

It was just the scenario that I played out based on their rankings.  They have LT Samuel Cosmi ranked at #24, but I thought he would be long gone being realistic. Good LT's don't typically last that long. I thought long and hard of taking LB's Nick Bolton or Zaven Collins who were ranked #31 & #36, WR Rashod Bateman #25,  RB Travis Entienne is ranked #26, QB Mack Jones #27,  DL Daviyon Nixon #28,  Safety Richie Grant #29, Edge Azeez Ojulari #30,  RB Najee was ranked #33. Travis is gone and it really came down to one of the LB's or Najee. I chose Najee Harris. Well Davenport actually. 😁

C)   we have other glaring needs at positions that are much harder to find decent ones beyond the first two rounds. 

What would you do here based on the data presented?

BPA is fine, but it has to be done intelligently.  We aren't in position to be making glamour picks.

I certainly don't claim to be a football savant, but I did try to use some intelligence in my decision making. I don't put anything out here just to get a reaction. LOL

D)  That Dan Marino analogy was laughably bad in regards to this situation.

I was certainly not suggesting that Harris or Travis were going to be the RB version of Dan Marino or the second coming of Jim Brown.  My point was that the team has a history of at times sticking to an outdated way of thinking. In regards to Marino, I was speaking of the philosophy behind why they passed on him. If you recall, a few of the reasons they didn't pick Marino were: 1. They had Terry Bradshaw, but he was going into year 14 or 15 in 1984 2. They had drafted Mark Malone a few years earlier 1980 (was he a better prospect than Marino)? 3. They had a solid back-up in Cliff Stout (Was he more than a solid/good back-up game manager? No.  Was he a franchise type of QB like Marino? No! 4. They felt the QB room closet was completely full. 5. Chuck Noll felt that Gabe Rivera was the next Mean Joe Green. (They were trying to rebuild the franchise the way it was done in 1969 instead of building around a franchise QB).

My point was not to get married to the notion of no RB in the first round, if you have a chance to grab a good player, do it. Don't pass because it is not the norm or because of tradition. The Steelers passed on a higher rated player in RB Nick Chubb in round one to draft a third or fourth round great athlete in Terrell Edmunds.  The draft value just wasn't there. As much as many may hate a RB in round one, which was the better value then and now? In fact, most of us had Jessie Bates III ranked higher than Edmunds. I like Edmunds, how he is developing and what he brings to the defense. But he was not a good draft value in my opinion. In fact, I would say it was a pretty poor pick in terms of value and the players who were ranked ahead that were still available, Chubb included.

 

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11 hours ago, RamblinMan99 said:

TLDR 

Look, drafting a RB in the first round is bonafide asinine.

We take the center from either Alabama or Oklahoma and we’ll be fine.  

Dickerson (Bama) is going to go much lower than you would expect due to the 4 lower body injuries he has suffered in his college playing career.

I like Humphreys but he has short arms for a center and is not as mobile as the Steelers like.  2nd round at best.

 

And be prepared for the asinine move.

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12 hours ago, RamblinMan99 said:

TLDR 

Look, drafting a RB in the first round is bonafide asinine.

We will agree to disagree. I think that you take the BPA in most cases even if that BPA is a RB and a need. 

We take the center from either Alabama or Oklahoma and we’ll be fine.  

First mock and I honestly don't know where all these players rank with no Combine and many did not yet have a pro day. I like to base it on film as well, but I honestly don't have the time to watch film (not just highlights) like I used to. These guys look like they would do the job and there are a few others. Regardless of grade or rank, my top guy for the Steelers is Quinn Mienerz. Despite small school, level of competition, etc., he has the mentality of an OL. He wants to impose his will on another man and move him where he doesn't want to go.  He and Dotson would look like pretty good IOL building blocks for the Steelers OL going forward. 

35 minutes ago, jebrick said:

Dickerson (Bama) is going to go much lower than you would expect due to the 4 lower body injuries he has suffered in his college playing career.

I think that is everyone's fear with a C with bad knees and a history of injuries. He has the size of a OT like most Baba OL's. If not for the injury concerns, I think he would be top 20 and maybe even top 15 despite playing C. Very hard not to like him, but do you gamble when there are some other very solid prospects?  

He has fire, passion, and a desire to win. He seems to have a demonstrative leadership style that rally's his teammates. I have long wanted another Greg Lloyd or Jack Lambert type who can help reestablish the culture and chemistry of tough Steelers football. While the Steelers have leaders and players that their teammates respect, I have not seen/heard that guy who will take the team on his back in terms of some of the media distractions, etc. The Steelers are more synonymous with drama and dancing than the old school tough, smash mouth on both sides of the ball team. We even heard the word soft and Steelers together in 2020. That hurts me to my heart and pisses me off!🤬

I like Humphreys but he has short arms for a center and is not as mobile as the Steelers like.  2nd round at best.

You are spot on with your grade as usual. Somethings to consider/ponder regarding the Steelers OL situation and the draft: It may be time to go back to a bit more of mauling in the trenches. You still want to protect Big Ben, but no way he should have to throw 50 times a game every week. We have to get tough up front again.

Despite the lack of ideal arm length and feet, Creed is a wrestler and he seems to have a mean streak. Jebrick, I want to see the Steelers get the Steelers toughness back. I get/understand having big, tall, physically gifted players, but while the Steelers will often check the boxes in terms of size, make-up, strength, length, and speed, sometimes you just have to go with the results. "This guy (Humphries) can play football!" If the team really loves him, they might have to take him a round early, because he probably won't last until #55. This would be a slight over-draft (No where near what I was talking about with Edmunds though). I think that a lot of these Centers will have solid careers if they can stay healthy. Do you want to hit and move people? It is a mentality.  One of my draft crushes on the IOL is Quinn Meinerz. I think Dickerson (if he can stay healthy), Humphry, Myers, and I also like Trey Hill who is not a typical Steelers type of C either, but he has that girth and likes to move people. He doesn't have the Pouncey feet the Steelers like, but he moves people. 

And be prepared for the asinine move.

I am learning that asinine is a subjective term when it comes to drafting players and evaluating them.

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