This article originally appeared on pittsburghsportsnow.com.
Pitt running back Qadree Ollison is likely to be taken on the third day of the 2019 NFL Draft, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said on Monday.
Ollison, who finished sixth in Pitt history with 2,859 career rushing yards, impressed with a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and improved on his three-cone drill and short shuttle times at Pitt’s pro day.
The result is an experienced, athletic big back that McShay thinks some team will see as a complementary piece to their backfield this weekend.
“I like Qadree on tape,” McShay said. “He’s big, physical, 228 pounds and he ran a 4.58, which is solid for his size. I think he’s been a competitive, tough guy. I think when you look at his career, never a huge playmaker in terms of big production, but he still averaged over six yards per carry last year and was consistent.”
The last Pitt running back to be selected in the draft was James Conner in the second round in 2017. McShay expects his former backfield-mate to go sometime on the third day of the draft on Saturday.
“I think he could be a good back as a rotational No. 2 in the NFL and I think he’s very likely to be, I would say, a fifth or sixth round pick,” McShay said.
The Pittsburgh Steelers own six picks in the final four rounds and sent several staffers to Ollison’s pro day at Pitt. The Buffalo Bills have also shown interest in the Niagara Falls, New York native.
Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks
Instead of trading for a proven running back like Leonard Fournette, the Steelers simply drafted a rookie with their 4th round pick. That rookie is Anthony McFarland out of the University of Maryland. To fully explain what McFarland brings to the table, Mike Asti was joined by Adam Zielonka, who is a sports reporter for the Washington Times. Zielonka also touched Antoine Brooks, the other Maryland product drafted by the Steelers.
Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is offering an explanation as to why he wanted three rounds added to the 2020 NFL Draft.
Speaking with NBC Sport’s Mike Florio on the PFT PM podcast Tuesday, Colbert took the opportunity to clarify his suggestion.
“The reasoning was, part of it was selfish,” Colbert said. “You wanted to have a safety net because we’re dealing with less information, and the more picks you have, maybe you’ll have a little bit of a safety net again.”
With the league’s self-implemented travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs were unable to conduct their normal scouting activities prior to the Draft. This included Pro Days, private workouts and in-person interviews.
Less opportunities to watch and speak with prospects results in a larger margin for error.
Colbert went on to say that it also would have benefited some of the fringe prospects in the Draft that never had the chance to showcase themselves at a Pro Day or other setting.
“The other thing was it would give the marginal player that didn’t get his opportunity to go to a Pro Day and to perform. Maybe there will be more players drafted and then those players will then again have the chance they might not get.”
Now without rookie minicamps, the challenges are mounting for clubs and NFL hopefuls.
“Every year a team might stumble upon a tryout player,” Colbert said. “Maybe if we ever get on the field, we can think of a way to help those because there’s a big group of players that aren’t getting opportunities because of the situation.”
Colbert reminded Florio that the Steelers discovered Devlin “Duck” Hodges as a tryout in camp last year.
It is unclear when teams will be allowed to return to the practice field for their offseason programs, with clubs currently conducting theirs entirely from home.
Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show
It was eat, sleep, draft coverage, repeat for Mike Asti and the Steelers Now crew this past week. And now that the draft is over, Mike Asti evaluates each pick and gives his thoughts on some moves he says the Steelers should have made.