After trading up for Devin Bush, it would be expected that the Pittsburgh Steelers mortgaged most of their 2019 draft to ensure a top ten pick. However, they enter Friday with two expected picks, and four more on Saturday to boot. With those four picks, the team could try to trade back up into the third round or could maneuver within the draft to find the fits that they desire.
After ranking some of the best prospects available, these are the five that the Steelers should be eyeing the most with their two picks on Friday.
Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
Expected area of selection: 66
Julian Love is a player that Steelers fans will want to keep an eye on this evening. Love is a talented cornerback who has a lot of versatility. He has played both sides of the boundary, the slot and even played free safety when asked to. He has played press and off-ball, zone and man. He can get out-physical at times and does not have elite speed, or measurables.
However, he has great ball production at Notre Dame, the Steelers were at the Notre Dame Pro Day, so interest is there, and Dane Brugler of the Athletic has tied the Steelers to Love in his latest mock, where Love falls to them at 66. Love fits the need, he checks the boxes, and he has been linked to the team. If he were picked at 66 it should not surprise anyone.
Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
Expected area of selection: 83
Sticking with the recent mock draft by Brugler, he has the Steelers tied to Miles Boykin in round three. This tends to make sense as well as the Steelers not only went to South Bend to watch Boykin and Love, they brought Boykin into Pittsburgh as well. Boykin is a player we have identified as well, and at 83, would be an excellent selection.
Chase Winovich, Edge, Michigan
Expected area of selection: 59
The trade up for Devin Bush may have hindered the Steelers chances to add his teammate Chase Winovich the most. However, Brugler does have him falling to 59th overall in his mock. The Steelers still have a little bit of ammunition left. They clearly have interest in Winovich on top of Bush, and they have a need with Bud Dupree expected to enter free agency next year. If the Steelers move up ten spots from the start of round three back into round two, could it be for Chase Winovich?
Ben Banogu, Edge, TCU
Expected area of selection: 85
If the Steelers do miss out on Winovhich, as expected, they still will need to look for a pass rusher to avoid the cupboards going bare across from T.J. Watt. Ben Banogu is an intriguing prospect who is raw, but is a ball of clay ready to be molded. Athletically, his upside is high as it comes. He tested similar to a player like Khalil Mack.
|Ben Banogu||Khalil Mack||Kamerion Wimbley||Jamie Collins||Jordan Willis|
|6′ 3½”||6′ 3″||6′ 4″||6′ 3″||6′ 4″|
|250 lbs||251 lbs||248 lbs||250 lbs||255 lbs|
|23 reps||23 reps||24 reps||19 reps||24 reps|
However, on the field, you may have a player closer to Kamerion Wimbley or Jordan Willis. Banogu was underdeveloped at TCU and did not show how to use pass rush moves, or his flexibility to beat tackles. Instead, TCU used his speed to roam sideline to sideline and attack up the middle on twists and stunts.
As a speed rusher with upside Banogu could get on the field in specific situations next season and has the upside to push Bud Dupree longterm. In the late third round, this is what you want.
Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
Expected area of selection: 82
Hooker is an interesting prospect because he does not have a defined position. He played everywhere from free to strong safety and even played on the outside, in the slot and dime. Mike Tomlin mentioned before the draft that today’s NFL is more matchup-based than ever and nickel and dime players need to be considered starters. Hooker may fall without a defined position, could the Steelers find a “starter” for the matchup player role.
Other names to keep in mind: Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, Rock Ya-Sin, Justin Layne, David Lon, Sean Bunting, Hakeem Butler, Deebo Samuel