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NFL Combine

Day 3 Steelers Combine Takeaways: Top WR Targets, Pittsburgh Ignores QB



Pittsburgh Steelers

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Combine is upon us once again, and while athletic testing in shorts has its weaknesses, the event is massive. Between interviews, medicals, and testing, teams will learn more about players than they were just about anywhere else. On Friday, the defensive back and tight ends tested while the wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks met with the media. What about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft process did we learn? Here are Steelers Now’s takeaways from the day.

Alan Saunders

🏈 You can take your Quinyon Mitchell posters off the wall. The Toledo cornerback that the Steelers scouted so heavily in-season and at the Senior Bowl has firmly played his way into a draft slot that will fall well above Pittsburgh’s No. 20 overall pick. For me, he’s the top cornerback in the class, especially with Kool-Aid McKinstry and Nate Wiggins both popping medical issues at the combine this week.

🏈 I think the high level of wide receiver that the Steelers have been targeting in interviews this week really puts the writing on the wall for me that the end is near for Diontae Johnson’s time with the Steelers. Of the team’s pre-existing offensive players, he is probably the worst fit for Arthur Smith’s offense, he’s entering the final year of his contract and the Steelers rarely give third deals to wide receivers, anyway. A player that could be a WR3 in 2024 and shift to a WR2 role in 2025 fits a lot of the options the Steelers have talked to.

🏈 Don’t rule out running back late on Day Three. The Steelers have two very solid ones, but this is a position of strong future need, with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren both currently slated to hit free agency after the 2025 season. The Steelers probably aren’t going to want to give big-money contracts to both of them. Drafting someone now that could be a potential replacement for one would be a smooth move.

Nick Farabaugh

🏈 The Steelers had virtually no interest in meeting with quarterbacks at the NFL Combine. It’s not a surprising twist, as they have seen most quarterbacks either at the Shrine Bowl or the Senior Bowl. But no formal meetings speak to the overall lack of interest in the class. This team seems likely to go the veteran route around Kenny Pickett. They may even add two in free agency, which would not be that surprising. A young quarterback should be an addition at some point in the cycle, but it doesn’t seem to be the top priority.

🏈The day’s biggest riser might have been Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil. I knew he fit what the Steelers wanted, he is a virtual copy of Mike Hilton, but more than that his athletic testing popped. Sainristil ran a nice 4.47 40-yard dash and paired it with top-notch explosiveness. On tape, the athleticism might not pop out as the top quality, but make no mistake, it’s there. If the teams value him as they should, Sainristil should be a second-round pick, and it is a legitimate option at 51 for the team.