Connect with us

Steelers News

Mel Kiper Tabs Speedy Texas WR as Potential First Round Pick for Steelers



Steelers Xavier Worthy

Longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. at 2oth overall in his latest mock draft, but he thinks Texas receiver Xavier Worthy could also be an option.

“I thought about Xavier Worthy here, ’cause you have (George) Pickens. You add Worthy, you have 4.21 speed who’s dynamic and I know you’ll scream at me, ‘He’s 165 pounds, Mel!’ I get it. But he’s a heck of a player and guess what? He’s a tough kid,” Kiper said on First Draft with Field Yates. “He’s not just a track guy with speed and all that. He’s a football player. And I think it’s gonna be tough for Mike Tomlin knowing that, to bypass that…to not take Worthy. But Brian Thomas is a talent who averaged 17 yards per catch, 17 touchdowns.

“Will he be there? If he is, will it be Tampa Bay? It seems like they could go wide receiver. It’s going to be interesting to see. But Xavier Worthy, I didn’t feel good at pushing him down past this pick. I had it scratched, it went to Brian Thomas Jr., so Worthy to me, has to be in the discussion. When you’re that fast, you’re that good. Wasn’t like he was just a speed guy. He was a heck of a player at Texas.”

Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni headed to Austin on Wednesday to see AD Mitchell, Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington.

But it was Worthy who the Steelers spent extensive time with after the pro day, according to Tony Pauline.

“After practice on Wednesday, he met extensively with the Steelers and Colts,” Pauline wrote.

Worthy stunned onlookers at Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL Combine by running a 4.21 official 40-yard dash time, the fastest anyone in NFL history has ran at the event. It breaks the record set by John Ross, who ran a 4.22 40-yard dash. Worthy weighed in at just 165 pounds, but he has speed and explosiveness, the hallmarks of his game as a receiver.

Worthy’s strengths are exemplified by his deep threat abilities, and alongside Adonai Mitchell, he became one of the most feared deep threats in the country. Unsurprisingly, he was a contender to set the record, as Worthy was a track star in high school and has legitimate world-class speed. He just proved that very correct through his testing numbers.

And Worthy is an interesting target for the Steelers considering he is not a perfect plug-and-play receiver that is prototypical into the Arthur Smith offense. But Worthy, Mitchell, and Whittington all will be drafted, and take on different strengths with their new teams.

Mitchell is an incredibly deceptive route runner who can create space for himself with regularity. There’s plenty of nuance to his game, as he’ll use head fakes, jab steps and rocker steps to sell defenders lies. His feet are light on contact and he can vary his pace to lull defenders to sleep before exploding out his breaks. Mitchell can be best described as a loose athlete, with surprising explosiveness and long strides once he is able to fully open his hips. He might be the most obvious fit for the Steelers, but it’s clear they have interest in Worthy.

The last time the Steelers selected a Texas Longhorn in the first round was nose tackle Casey Hampton in 2001. The last time the Steelers drafted a Texas wide receiver was Limas Sweed in 2008.