As the Pro-Day circuit winds down this week, we get some clues as to who might be the Steelers first round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Generally that pick comes from a school that both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have visited together. The list currently stands at eight with those schools being Clemson, Georgia, Auburn, Florida St., Alabama, Auburn, Penn St., Michigan, Ohio St., and Notre Dame.
Cross checking those schools with the team’s major needs gives us a decent idea who the Steelers may select. There are other factors such as athletic ability, age, and size. Taking all the clues into consideration, here is our best guess in five tries as to who will be the Steelers first round pick:
1. Pat Freiermuth – TE – Penn St.:
The Pittsburgh Steelers have exactly one serviceable tight end on the roster right now, and that’s Eric Ebron. Given that fact, we can easily deduce that this position will be a high priority for them in this draft. Now add that not only were Colbert and Tomlin at the Penn St. pro-day, but also tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts attended as well.
Roberts worked out Freiermuth, but he did not do any athletic testing because he is recovering from an injury. This is a player that Pittsburgh has shown lots of interest in. Pat Freiermuth is generally considered a borderline first round pick, but if the Steelers want him they will need to take him at 24. It is pretty certain this player will not make it all the way to 55 when the team selects next.
2. Eric Stokes – CB – Georgia:
The Steelers have a rather large hole at corner now that they have released Steven Nelson. We still hold out hope they may be planning a big move for a veteran before the off-season is over. Steelers Trade: Could Stephon Gilmore be heading to the Pittsburgh?
If Colbert does not make a move, a stud outside corner becomes among the most pressing needs for this team. Eric Stokes is exactly what the Steelers covet at this position. At 6’0”, and with an arm length of 32.25 he is the tall and long corner the Steelers love. Throw in his ridiculous athletic numbers like his 4.34/40 yard dash, and Stokes has Steelers written all over him.
3. Landon Dickerson – C – Alabama:
Despite this team always maintaining they will take the best player available when they pick in the first round, that “best player” inevitably ends up being at a position of need. And there may be no more needy position on this roster than center right now. The thought of entering the season with BJ Finney as the team’s starting center is incomprehensible.
If Landon Dickerson hadn’t had so many injuries during his college career this would be a slam dunk selection for the Steelers. Unfortunately Dickerson has had four straight season ending injuries at Alabama. The latest being an ACL injury in the SEC Championship game which required surgery.
Having said all that if Landon Dickerson is given a clean bill of health by doctors he will unlikely make it all the way to 55 in the second round. Pittsburgh will have a tough choice here, with the upside being a multiple time All-Pro center.
4. Liam Eichenberg – OT – Notre Dame:
Eichenberg isn’t the most flashy or athletic tackle in this class, but he he is one of the more refined. He has the height and length the Steelers look for in a tackle being a reported 6’6” and 305 pounds. Liam Eichenberg would certainly be an upgrade to to any tackle currently on the roster right now. This would be among the safest picks the Steelers could make.
5. Jason Oweh – EDGE – Penn St.:
Call this a hunch, but I have a feeling we may be in for a surprise with the Steelers first round pick. Jason Oweh is an edge rusher from Penn St. who tested off the charts at his pro-day. Oweh scored a 9.92 out of 10 on his Relative Athletic Score which included an astounding 4.37/40 yard dash time at nearly 260 pounds. https://relativeathleticscores.com/ras-information/?PlayerID=18983
We all know how much the Pittsburgh Steelers love athletic freaks. There may be no more of that than Jason Oweh in 2021. Here’s the rub though. Oweh did not register a single sack in 2020 despite all his gaudy athletic numbers. He leaves Penn St. with only 7 career sacks in 20 games. This is the ultimate test versus tape player we have here.
Having said all that we can see the Steelers falling in love with the athleticism of this player. Honestly there is a lot to like in that regard. The tape isn’t all bad either despite the lack of sacks. Kevin Colbert likes to surprise us at times in the first round. Jason Oweh would be a good candidate for that in 2021.