Zach Gotlieb | April 15th, 2020
A less than ideal season starting with the drama with Antonio Brown to finishing without Ben Roethlisberger and out of the playoffs makes this offseason and draft particularly important. Even though they’ve been cap-strapped, signings like Stefen Wisniewski and Eric Ebron have helped address needs with veteran players. They only have six picks in this draft, which means they have to make every one count if they want to retool in hopes of keeping up with the Baltimore Ravens next year.
For this mock, I used The Draft Network with no trades.
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Round 2, Pick 49: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Yes, the Steelers have James Conner, who’s talented and been productive, but he’s also been injured. Edwards-Helaire is a guy that can do just about anything. He runs hard, but smart with great vision. He’s got decent hands and with his solid route-running ability, he can even split out in the slot at times too. He can quickly come in and be a solid 1-2 punch with Connor and make for a dynamic backfield for defenses to worry about.
Round 3, Pick 102: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
Acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins was a big move that was definitely worth the first-round pick they gave up. That said, Fitzpatrick needs a real running mate in the defensive backfield. Terrell Edmunds is fine, but not quite enough. Wallace is an aggressive player that likes to get his hands dirty. Best in middle of the field roles, but is excellent at crowding receivers in the area and creating contested catches.
Round 4, Pick 124: Shane Lemieux, iOL, Oregon
With the signing of Wisniewski, that figures to set the interior line starting lineup, at least for week one. That said, all three starters on the interior are 30 or 31, which means that starting to look for younger pieces to eventually succeed these three is a must. Lemieux is a tenacious run blocker and plays with great intensity. His run blocking game is ahead of his pass protection, but both have not hit their ceilings. He would benefit greatly from working with Wisniewski and David DeCastro. He would also suit as their apprentice going into next season.
Round 4, Pick 135: Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
Willekes is an interesting prospect. He has to get stronger but plays with good technique. He’s a competitor that plays with a motor that’s non-stop. He’s not going to be a starter this season after putting the franchise tag on Bud Dupree and having T.J. Watt on the other side. However, he could potentially carve out a rotational role.
Round 6, Pick 198: James Lynch, iDL, Baylor
With Javon Hargrave gone, finding another defensive line presence is a need that needs to be addressed. Lynch has a big frame and plays with a ton of strength. He’s able to overpower tackles and guards and finds himself in the backfield a ton. He’s still got some upside and ability that can be molded into a productive NFL lineman
Round 7, Pick 232: James Proche, WR, SMU
Proche could end up being a late-round steal and a gem. He’s got great hands and a natural ability to find the ball. He’s not a great route runner and doesn’t break a ton of tackles, but he’s creative after the catch, and his ball skills give him a leg up even on inaccurate throws and throw into traffic. JuJu Smith-Schuster is an impressive receiver and is far and away the number one receiver, but there are some questions behind him. James Washington and Ryan Switzer are solid receivers. Still, they don’t have the ball skills that Proche has, and the ability to grow into a really good receiver as he learns and grows his route running ability.
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