The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a season that was pretty impressive all things considered. Ben Roethlisberger went down early in the year and Mike Tomlin got the most out of the QB tandem of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. The team won eight games behind a solid defense and sound coaching, though if the franchise is going to get back to the level it’s been accustomed to during the Roethlisberger-era, it’ll need to hit on some prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Pittsburgh is without a first-round pick, as the team dealt it to Miami for Minkah Fitzpatrick. While the trade was heavily criticized, Fitzpatrick helped raise the ceiling on the defense and the team would surely rather have the defensive back than the No. 18 overall selection in this year’s draft.
Round 2 – No. 49 – Bradley Anae, Edge, Utah
Without a first-rounder, the Steelers can not afford to miss on this pick. Anae has some weaknesses in his game (stopping the run is chief among them), however, his ability to situationally rush the passer will be useful from day one.
Round 3 – No. 102 – Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky
JuJu Smith-Schuster proved to be a true No. 1 wide receiver during his first campaign sans Antonio Brown. Behind him…was a mess. Diontae Johnson showed some flashes but was widely inconsistent. James Washington was kind of just there and no one else stepped up.
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There’s a real chance Lynn Bowden isn’t here late in the third round but the Steelers would be thrilled if he is. The 5’11” wide receiver showcased his athletism and playmaking ability while at Kentucky, where he was forced to play some quarterback last season because of a rash of injuries at the position. Bowden would give the Steelers an electric play-maker who should get snaps right away in Tomlin’s offense.
Round 4 – No. 124 -Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
Matt Hennessy was one of Temple’s best players over the course of the 2019 season. The 6’4″, 307 lb center would immediately be a solid back-up for Pittsburgh, providing depth to a solid unit, and he could be the long-term answer to replace Maurkice Pouncey, who has declined in recent years.
Round 4 – No. 135 – Casey Toohill, LB, Stanford
The Steelers aren’t getting through the draft without selecting a linebacker and Casey Toohill would be a nice fit. The risk with Toohill is his resume. He didn’t flash NFL potential until his senior season at Stanford. Still, at worst, he’d provide depth for the club at the position.
Round 6 – No. 198 – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Signing Eric Ebron could allow the Steelers to prioritize other positions in the draft. However, if the team wants to take a low-risk flyer on someone who could develop into a major long-term piece behind Ebron, Hopkins is the guy. The 6’4″ 245 lbs tight end had an impressive combine, running a 4.66 40-yard dash.
Round 7 – No. 232 – Jalen Elliott, S, Notre Dame
Adding depth in the secondary would be a good move for the Steelers. Elliott didn’t have the best NFL combine, though while at Notre Dame, he showcased his nose for the football and he should be able to contribute on special teams immediately.
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