The Steelers lost Lawrence Timmons last offseason, but they needed an upgrade over him anyway, and they still haven't found it. Finding a talented linebacker to play next to Ryan Shazier could take Pittsburgh's defense to the next level.
Pick change; previously Hayden Hurst, TE
Rd. 2, Pk. 30
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
The Steelers could stand to obtain a viable backup behind Le'Veon Bell.
Rd. 3, Pk. 29
Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
Ben Roethlisberger has contemplated retirement, so the Steelers need to find their quarterback of the future. The Steelers took an overrated quarterback prospect from Oklahoma before, so they could do it again.
The Steelers could start planning for life after Big Ben. Sources have told me Pittsburgh likes Kizer.
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set and the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve.
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well-thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL before the season. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Josh Jones, S, N.C. State
The Steelers could use another safety.
Jones (6-2, 215) was a solid player for the Wolfpack over the past three seasons. He is a strong safety type for the NFL and plays with an aggressive and relentless nature. Jones had 109 tackles with eight passes batted and three interceptions as a junior before deciding to skip his senior year. He recorded 63 tackles as a sophomore with 56 stops in 2014. Jones snagged four interceptions as a redshirt freshman.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
The Steelers could use a receiving tight end for their offense.
Butt had 46 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 before suffering some knee tears in his bowl game. He contributed as a freshman (20-235-2) and sophomore (21-211-2), but took his game to another level under head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015. Butt notched 51 receptions for 654 yards with three touchdowns that season.
The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder is a good receiver down the seam and uses his size to his advantage. Butt looked very good as a receiver and pass blocker in Harbaugh's pro-style offense. Butt could stand to get nastier and improve his run blocking; however, he did show progress on that front as a senior.
The Steelers could use an edge rusher, and Phillips could be a steal.
In 2016, Phillips recorded 56 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble. Some sources absolutely love Phillips, but others are lukewarm on him. The teams that love Phillips (6-3, 237) say he is super athletic and twitchy. They feel that his speed and athleticism are very similar to Leonard Floyd. Like Floyd at Georgia, Phillips can struggle somewhat on run downs. However, they feel that he is a very gifted, natural pass-rushing talent. They see him as a potential early rounder. As one could expect, the teams that aren't in love with Phillips don't see him as a high pick.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
The Steelers could use some wide receiver depth and have shown interest in Reynolds.
Reynolds totaled 61 receptions for 1,039 yards and 12 scores in 2016. He was a reliable receiver for the Aggies. Reynolds (6-2, 187) put together a quality week at the Senior Bowl, too. He showed the ability to get some late separation and is excellent on 50-50 contested catches. In 2015, Reynolds caught 51 passes for 907 yards and five touchdowns. He had a quality 2014 season with 52 receptions for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
The Steelers grab a backup running back.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
Pittsburgh grabs more cornerback competition and has shown interest in Myrick.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
The Steelers hosted Adams. He could provide them with some edge-rushing competition.
The Steelers could use a safety to pair with Sean Davis. <br> <br>
In 2017, Harrison has 50 tackles with three interceptions, three sacks and two passes batted. He was impressive during the 2016 season, when he totaled 86 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. <br> <br>
Harrison (6-3, 216) is a tall safety with good length to cover big receivers and tight ends. He will probably fit as a strong safety type in the NFL. Sources rave about Harrison's skill set and say that he is a first-round talent. The question will be if he produces enough and/or gets overshadowed by Minkah Fitzpatrick.
It's true they need a QB IF Ben retires and I like Rudolph but more so in RD2. They also need a TE to replace Heath Miller, but knowing the team drafts young guys they can teach their system Hurst didn't fit for them anyway. However, they do also need a S to replace Mitchell because he just isn't the long term solution in this youth movement. I was shocked when Oakland reached for him in RD2 and I'm no less surprised today because he isn't all that. I'd say TE-1, QB-2, S-3 unless Ben stays then skip QB and take a S in 2. They'll also need a CB because I can't see them paying Bell next year and keeping Haden at 12m$. So keep an eye on Cam Sutton to see if he fits this bill.
The Steelers could use an inside linebacker to replace Lawrence Timmons. <br> <br>
Jefferson has 100 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He's played his best this season and is playing hard for Texas. In 2016, he recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. Jefferson (6-3, 238) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackles with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate. <br> <br>
The junior possesses a nice combination of size and speed, plus a ton of athletic upside. However, some sources have said they've heard that Jefferson doesn't love football. They say that can be seen in his work ethic, preparation and lack of production. Jefferson was supposedly unhappy with how he was used by the last staff and that led to that perception, but either side of the argument brings concerns for NFL evaluators.
If you're keeping track at home, name the amount of times your starting QB has openly talked about retirement. The highest number should come from three teams; the Saints, the Patriots, and the Steelers. While Brees and Brady have discussed retirement almost incredulously, Ben Roethlisberger seems closer and closer to embracing it as he's taken hit after hit after hit in Pittsburgh. While Ben might have 2-3 seasons left, he's also been out more and more in recent years, and adding Allen, a QB in much of the same vein in terms of build and play style as Big Ben, could give Pittsburgh plenty of time to determine just how serious Roethlisberger is.
Well after that shocker of a pick, another QB heads off the board as Big Ben retires and the steelers do not feel that Josh Dobbs can take over, so they draft talented Pocket passer out of Wazzu, Luke Falk, a QB many people see as a late first early second sleeper.