The NFL Draft Combine is finally here. This week long event will show us how fast, how strong, how tall, and how athletic these prospects we have watched really are. Before the combine gets going, Steelers Sanctuary is giving it’s best guess as to who might be the Steelers first round selection. It’s still very early in the process, but these are players to keep an eye on during the combine.
1. Byron Murphy – Corner – Washington
It’s no secret the Steelers are in need of another corner heading into 2019. Joe Haden will turn 30 before the season, and Artie Burns is now a full fledged bust. In a weak corner class, Murphy stands out as clearly one of the best. He is a smaller corner than the Steelers generally prefer however. Despite that, it’s hard to see the team passing on Murphy if he is there at pick 20.
2. Jachai Polite – Edge – Florida
It’s up for debate if Kevin Colbert ranks edge rusher high on the team’s priority list for the 2019 draft. The team seems very content with Bud Dupree at that position. Dupree is entering the final year of his contract however, and depth at that position continues to be an issue. Polite should test extremely well, and prove to be the explosive athlete the Steelers love.
3. N’Keal Harry – Wide Receiver – Arizona St.
With the impending trade of Antonio Brown, wide receiver has become a major need for this offseason. It’s likely the team will need to add at least two receivers either through the draft or free agency. N’Keal Harry is an exciting receiver to watch on tape. His run-after-catch abilities are impressive to watch. With the wide receiver class being so deep, the Steelers could choose to wait until the second round to grab a wide-out. Having said that, the Steelers would be better off taking an elite receiver prospect over reaching for a defensive player in this draft.
4. Mack Wilson – Linebacker – Alabama
Linebacker may be THE number one need for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. Problem being, this happens to be a weak class at that very position. The only true difference maker in this draft is Devin White out of LSU. Unfortunately he is not likely to be around when it’s the Steelers turn to select. The next best option is a split between Mack and Devin Bush from Michigan. Word is Bush will come in under six feet tall, which is not ideal for the linebacker position. Mack Wilson isn’t much bigger, but will probably be above that threshold. Despite all their talk about taking the best player available, the Steelers have a history of reaching for need. The names Jarvis Jones, and Artie Burns immediately come to mind. Wilson is not without talent, whether or not he can be a difference maker remains to be seen.
5. Micheal Jackson – Corner – Miami
The Steelers have been known to throw us a curve in the first round (see Artie Burns, Terrell Edmunds), so I’m shooting my shot here. Pay close attention to the tall, long corners who test well during the combine. For now I’m going with Micheal Jackson for Kevin Colbert’s surprise first rounder. Keep an eye on other players like Trayvon Mullen and Lonnie Johnson as well. If either one test extremely well they could be the pick at number twenty. None should be first round picks, but with the Steelers you just never know.