Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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Possibilities for the Steelers in rounds 2 and 3 of the draft

The Steelers don't have a first round pick in 2020, which makes forecasting what they're going to do all the more difficult and intriguing. After extensive research and talking to an array of draft experts, here are some players that I feel could be available for the Steelers with pick 49 and 102.

Dream players for pick 49: Say cheese! A couple of Wisconsin players, Zack Baun (LB) and Jonathan Taylor (RB) are the players that I would love to see fall to the Steelers here. Taylor is a possibility because teams don't value running backs the way that they used to. Only nine running backs have been drafted in the first round in the last five years. Of the running backs who are worthy of top-50 selection, each brings a little something different to the table which will lead to teams evaluating them differently. Taylor has shown great durability and production at Wisconsin. He can be a workhorse back in the NFL.

Zack Baun is a total pipe dream. He recently admitted to having a diluted urine test. That's the only reason I've even included him here. I've seen him ranked as high as 25th on some national big boards. He profiles as an off the ball 4-3 linebacker or an inside backer in the 3-4, though he had 12.5 sacks this season coming off the edge. He could give the Steelers depth at ILB with a chance to start from day 1 opposite Devin Bush. If T.J. Watt or Bud Dupree were to go down, he could maybe give them a breather in a pinch.

On to the more realistic options...

Pick 49.) Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB LSU), Michael Pittman Jr. (WR USC), Jeremy Chinn (S Southern Illinois), Terrell Lewis (EDGE Alabama), Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR Colorado).

Clyde Edwards-Helaire had nearly 500 receiving yards last year at LSU from the running back position. He had four touchdowns in their game against Alabama. Three of which came on the ground. Alabama only gave up 9 rushing touchdowns on the season. At the combine, Joe Burrow said he was the best player that he played with at LSU. He's a Maurice Jones-Drew sized back with really good power and balance.

Michael Pittman Jr. has climbed up draft boards of late. Not the deep threat you’d like for a guy that size (6'4, 223 pounds) but more of a possession receiver. Still, could be a good red zone target.

Jeremy Chinn is 6'3 and tested really well at the NFL combine. He's got the size and speed to be an ideal matchup weapon. He could play strong or free safety in the NFL.

Terrell Lewis is a quick off the ball edge rusher who still needs time to develop. Injuries slowed down his progress, but he was able to record six sacks in 10 games in 2019.

Laviska Shenault Jr. is a tough, thick WR. He reminds me of JuJu Smith-Schuster. Some people have him higher on their draft boards than 49 and others have him lower. I like the player. JuJu could potentially be a free agent after the year, after all.

Dream players for pick 102: Cam Akers (RB Florida State)

I'm not even sure how much dreaming I'd have to do in order to get Akers in a Steelers uniform. Some have mocked Akers to the Steelers at pick 49. Some have mocked him to Pittsburgh at pick 102. Regardless, he's a fit. Daniel Jeremiah of The NFL Network said he's the perfect Steelers back. (Obviously if the Steelers pick Taylor or Edwards-Helaire then they won't need to go RB here.)

Pick 102.) Zack Moss (RB Utah), Darrell Taylor (LB Tennessee), Willie Gay Jr. (LB Miss State), Troy Dye (LB Oregon), Anfernee Jennings (EDGE Alabama).

Zack Moss is a BEAST. He's a wrecking ball and tackle breaking machine. He had roughly 4,000 rushing yards at Utah. I think he could step in as a rookie and contribute.

Darrell Taylor probably doesn't profile as a great pass rusher at the NFL level, but should be solid against the run. He had 8.5 sacks this year in Knoxville. His length and athleticism are impressive.

Willie Gay Jr. Ring a bell? He was suspended for eight games for reportedly punching a teammate. He's a solid tackler who could be a nice Vince Williams replacement as a two-down linebacker. He's got a little more upside as a sideline to sideline player than Vince has shown.

People I've talked to really like Troy Dye's athletic ability and say that he could be a big time NFL player. His fault is that he's not a smart recognition linebacker. He's a project that could be a potentially high reward inside backer.

Anfernee Jennings combined for 13.5 sacks over the last two seasons (8 in 2019). He's more suited to play end in a 4-3 system but it's 2020, so what does that really mean?

There you have it, about a dozen players who could wind up with the Steelers in round two or three of the draft this year. The wild cards are going to be WR's. The Steelers have obviously had a lot of success drafting wide outs and if the right one falls to them at either spot then they probably wouldn't shy away.

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