Well folks, we are almost a month away from the 2018 NFL draft. Teams have interviewed players and had dinner with some after pro days. So Steelers fans, here is my mock draft of how I think the draft will shake out for the black and gold.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
It has been widely reported that the Steelers have high interest in this player. He’s extremely physical and has good quickness to the ball. He is flying under the radar right now because he played at a smaller school. Other names that could be in consideration if they’re available are Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama), Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama), Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
The Steelers have been heavily linked to Jesse Bates. They had dinner with him after his pro day. If Bates falls to the Steelers in round two, I don’t see them passing on this pick. Bates excelles in coverage and can move to the ball quickly. He would be a great get for the Steelers in the 2nd round.
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Penny has not been linked to the Steelers yet, but he would be a perfect fit. He can run, catch, and play special teams. His ability to return kicks and punts will be very attractive to the Steelers when the draft rolls around. With Penny being able to add on special teams, he can improve one of the worst return teams in the league. He will provide quality depth with James Connor and Le’Veon Bell.
Round 5, Pick 1
Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
Troy Fumagalli had a lot of draft buzz early on, but since then, it has kind of died down. He’s an athletic, pass catching tight end. He will provide competition for the tight end group that the Steelers have. He will need to prove himself on special teams, but he can add a big target in the red zone.
Round 5, Pick 2
Kentavius Street, DL, North Carolina State
Kentavius Street is more of a project player, but in the later rounds, you look for upside. He performed very well at the Senior Bowl. He played along side Bradley Chubb, who is going to be a top ten pick in this year’s draft. Street can provide position flexibility for the defensive line and provide more depth.
Round 7, Pick 1
Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Alex Cappa has the ability to be the next Kelvin Beachum. He had a good Senior Bowl and a good week of practices down there. After Chris Hubbard left in free agency, the Steelers need to add more depth and competition. Cappa adds competition and could be a versatile Swiss army knife like Hubbard was.
Round 7, Pick 2
Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
Jason Cabinda will add more depth to a thin group at inside linebacker. Cabinda is very physical at the point of attack and is a smart player. He is built to be a special teams demon. The Steelers will be interested in players that can help immediately on special teams right away, especially after cutting special team specialists like Robert Golden.
The Steelers will look to be drafting heavy on defense once again this season. Not that it is a surprise, nor should be, due to the playoff loss where the defense could not stop the Jaguars offense.
In this mock draft, they plug the holes at inside linebacker and safety. Free agency just started a few days ago, so this could change with signings that may happen. But until then, this mock draft addresses many of the Steelers needs.