In my first mock draft I had Boise St. linebacker Leighton Vander Esch as the Steelers first round pick. I’m more convinced than ever that this he will be the pick now that the two sides have met in person. There are some rumblings that LVE might not make it to pick 28 though. If that’s the case here’s my contingency plan, and how it would affect the rest of the Steelers draft:
Round 1: Derrius Guice – RB – LSU
There’s too much smoke here to ignore. The Steelers have already met with Guice in person, and both Tomlin and Colbert were at the LSU pro day. Le’Veon Bell is all but gone after the 2018 season anyway, so why not go running back here. I prefer Sony Michel personally, but I’m not drafting so Guice will be the choice. Let the Le’Veon Bell trade talks begin.
Round 2: Jerome Baker – ILB – Ohio St.
Loved Lorenzo Carter as a fit for the Steelers in my last mock, but again it’s looking like he will be gone by the time the Steelers pick. Jerome Baker is a smaller more athletic type of inside linebacker. In today’s NFL, it’s almost as important to be able to cover backs out of the backfield as it is to tackle them in the run game. Baker fits that bill, and gives them a different type of linebacker than is currently on the roster.
Round 3: Terrell Edmunds – S – Virginia Tech
Terrell’s brother Tremaine is a top 20 lock at linebacker, and his dad Ferrell was a Pro-Bowl tight end with the Miami Dolphins. Terrell had a very good showing at the combine, including a 4.47 forty yard dash. He may be a bit of a project, spending his first year or so on special teams. With his kind of athletic ability, Edmunds could be a steal in the third round. Keep in mind that Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Keith Butler were all at the Virginia Tech pro day.
Round 5: Leon Jacobs – OLB – Wisconsin
Big time athlete who played all over the place at Wisconsin. He played both inside and outside linebacker, as well as fullback during his college career. Jacobs is a raw prospect that will need time to develop. He ran a 4.48 forty yard dash at nearly 250lbs at the combine.
Round 5: Marcell Ateman – WR – Oklahoma St.
At nearly 6’5″, Ateman’s size may be his best trait. He’s not fast or athletic, but he was productive at Oklahoma St. Ateman had 59 catches for 1156 yards in his final year in school. That’s an impressive 19.6 yards per catch to go along with 8 touchdowns. It’s worth a 5th round flier to see if Ateman can develop into something in the NFL.