The State of the Steelers:
The Steelers are at an interesting point for their franchise. They were able to take advantage of the expanded playoff last season by sneaking into the 7 seed in the AFC, before promptly getting sent back to Pittsburgh by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wildcard round.
The retirement of long-time starter Ben Roethlisberger means the Steelers suddenly look more like a team that is entering a rebuild rather than the competitive team we have seen for the past number of years. The Steelers have three picks in the Top 100 and will be looking to inject their roster with some much needed talent and productivity.
Corral is a mobile quarterback with great pocket awareness and athletic ability, but he must refine his spot-on accuracy to all levels and decision-making skills in order to become a reason you win games in the NFL.
While the Steelers signed Mitchell Trubisky to a short-term deal and may be a candidate to trade up for a different quarterback, Corral offers a good scheme fit for Matt Canada’s offense that featured the second-highest usage of RPOs in the NFL last season.
Penning is a physically dominant and imposing run blocker with an ideal frame for an NFL tackle, but he needs to keep developing his hand use and improve his pad level to round out his overall profile taking the big step up in competition.
Penning is a massive and mean mauler on the left side who would provide an upgrade over last year’s rookie starter Dan Moore and pair with right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor to help reestablish a strong offensive line.
Dotson’s size and toughness limit him in certain situations, but his explosiveness and body control allow him to make spectacular plays at all levels of the field.
The Steelers face a lack of depth behind their top two starters, Dotson would bring explosiveness and inside/outside versatility to a wide receiver room that is in need of a reload.
Jones is a physical and technical defensive tackle who has the strength and hand use that transition to the NFL, though he needs to get more agile and improve as a pass rusher in order to see time on all three downs.
Jones is a powerful nose tackle who could step in and help establish a defensive identity as the new anchor in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense that ranked dead last in the NFL in total rushing yards and yards per carry allowed.
McCreary projects best as a 3rd corner with good height, speed, and athleticism to play in the slot or out wide, and despite his short arms, he is at his best in press coverage.
Although the team recently added in free agency, a versatile player like McCreary would immediately beef up their cornerback depth while also possibly providing an upgrade over their current starters.
Leal is an athletic and agile defensive lineman at his size, who offers great versatility as a pass rusher but needs to work on his interior run defense to keep that flexibility on all three downs.
Leal may be relegated to only passing down work at first but would be a great long-term piece to develop behind the current veteran starters.
Ross has the combination of size, athleticism, and quick-twitch to contribute in a variety of ways in a receiving room at the next level, but must overcome injury and production concerns to do so.
Ross is a good player and was very productive at the beginning of his career but finds himself sliding in draft boards due to recent injury history and subpar QB play.
Cook is a strong, physical safety who has the tackling ability and zone awareness to be the first safety off the bench, but he needs to improve in man coverage and with his pursuit angles to get the bump to a starting role.
Cook would provide some much needed talent to the Steelers’ strong safety spot. He fits well as a player that can be moved around the field on defense next to star free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Malone is a freaky athlete with the quickness and pursuit ability to be an effective pass rusher at the next level, though he’ll need to get stronger, become a more consistent tackler, and refine his skills in order to maximize his overall skill set.
The Steelers have little edge depth behind Alex Highsmith and reigning DPOY T.J. Watt. Malone brings depth in the form of a growable and twitchy pass rusher.
To learn more about the Steelers and their needs, visit their team page on our NFL Draft website here.