With the current state of affairs in this country, it will be tougher than ever to try to piece together clues on who the Steelers might be interested in.  We won’t have the usual list of pre-draft visits.  Nor will we have an extensive list on which school’s pro-days Kevin Colbert has visited.  We do have some other indicators such as SPARQ scores, team needs, and the combine.  Here is the third version of our Steelers mock draft pulling together everything we can gather so far:

Round 2: Jalen Hurts – QB – Oklahoma

The Numbers:

6’1” – 221lbs

9.75” – hands

4.59 – 40 yard dash

35” vertical – 125” broad

127 SPARQ score (#1 overall at QB)

The Skinny:

Steelers brass can tell us all they want that they’re comfortable at backup quarterback, we’re not buying it.  Both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were atrocious last season.  Had the team even gotten average quarterback play in 2019, they would have made the post season with ease.

Jalen Hurts took a giant leap after joining the pass happy Oklahoma Sooners in 2020.  He threw for over 3,800 yards and 32 touchdowns in coach Lincoln Riley’s system.  He also ran for another 1,300 yards and twenty more touchdowns.  While at the combine, Hurts impressed scouts with his accuracy and football IQ.

Jalen Hurts is the perfect kind of developmental quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He could take time to learn under Ben Roehtlisberger, while even taken on a “slash” type role we discussed in an earlier post. Could Jalen Hurts be the next Kordell Stewart?

Round 3: A. J. Dillon – RB – Boston College

The Numbers:

6’0” – 247lbs

4.53 – 40 yard dash

41” vertical – 131” broad

23 reps on the bench

144 SPARQ score (#1 at running back)

The Skinny:

Kevin Colbert likes his running backs big, and his athletes SPARQY.  Well that criteria makes AJ Dillon an absolute perfect fit.  This is a guy who ran a 4.53/40, at almost 250 pounds…. that’s absurd!  The comparisons to Titans back Derrick Henry have been made on more than one occasion with this player. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2878146-nfl-scouting-combine-notebook-aj-dillon-storms-up-the-draft-board#slide0

This kind of back does come with its limitations.  AJ Dillon isn’t shifty or patient.  What he can be is the type of hybrid defense buster that can be very useful in today’s NFL.  With so many teams making their defenses smaller and quicker to combat passing games, a big back like Dillon can be a huge weapon.  Let’s also not forget owner Art Rooney’s decree to improve the running game as we discussed in our mock 2.0. 2020 Steelers Mock Draft 2.0: SPARQ addition 

Round 4a: Alton Robinson – Edge – Syracuse

The Numbers:

6’3” – 264 lbs

4.69 – 40 yard dash

35.5” vertical – 119” broad

7.32 – 3 cone

127.3 SPARQ score (4th overall at edge)

The Skinny:

One of the areas of need for the Steelers is depth at outside linebacker.  The only players currently on the roster as backups are two undrafted free agents.  Tuzar Skipper and Ola Adeniyi have done very little thus far to prove they are capable of being short term starters in case of injury.  Alton Robinson would immediately leap these two on the depth chart if he were selected.

Robinson actually compares favorably to Bud Dupree in terms of physical traits.  The one notable exception being Dupree jumped considerably better in both the broad and vertical.  As far as production, Robinson had 32 career tackles for loss and 19 sacks while at Syracuse.  This would be an excellent developmental edge rusher for the Steelers, while providing some special teams contributions in the mean time.

Round 4b: John Simpson – G – Clemson

The Numbers:

6’4” – 321lbs

34.2 inch arms

30” vertical – 107” broad

34 reps on bench

104.7 SPARQ score (15th overall at IOL)

The Skinny:

This is a player we just can’t get away from.  John Simpson was in our mock 2.0, and is back again in this version.  He just feels like a Steelers guard.  A massive frame with decent athletic ability is exactly what the team looks for on the interior offensive line. Drafting  Simpson would also be another step in improving the teams running game.

Round 6: Tanner Muse – S – Clemson

The Numbers:

6’2” – 227lbs

4.41 – 40 yard dash

34.5” vertical – 124” broad

20 reps on the bench

132.6 SPARQ score (5th overall at safety)

The Skinny:

We tried hard to be different at this position and find another name that the Steelers might like at this point in the draft, but had no luck.  Tanner Muse has been popping up in a lot of Steelers mock drafts because of the dinner he had with the team’s brass at the Clemson pro-day.  He absolutely killed it a the draft combine, throwing up some impressive numbers.  So much so Muse may be gone by the fifth round.  Most mock simulators still have him available in the sixth round so he’s the choice.  Pittsburgh desperately needs to add depth to the safety position.

Round 7: Carter Coughlin – Edge – Minnesota

The Numbers:

6’3” – 236lbs

31.5 inch arms

4.57 – 40 yard dash

36” vertical – 126” broad

133 SPARQ score (3rd overall at edge)

The Skinny:

Kind of a project here this deep in the draft. Coughlin tested extremely well at the combine, but is much smaller than the Steelers prefer at edge.  He does compare favorably to Travis Feeney who was another lighter edge rusher the team took a flyer on in the 2016 draft.  Feeney’s issue was staying healthy, something that plagued him in college and in the pros.  Coughlin has no such issues as he started every game since his sophomore year.  At the very least he should provide a decent special teams player for Pittsburgh.