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NFL Draft

NFL Combine Notebook: Tracking WR Targets

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On Friday, the wide receivers took the podium at the 2019 NFL Combine, and with that came news that the Steelers had met or planned to meet with at least five of the top receivers in the draft class.

On Saturday, Arizona State’s N’Keal Henry was added to that list, giving Kevin Colbert and company a half dozen prime targets to track as they went through the workouts on Saturday.

Marquise Brown (Oklahoma) isn’t running, as he’s still recovering from foot surgery, but here’s the results from the workouts as the receivers took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

40-YARD DASH

D.K. Metcalf 4.33 seconds*

Deebo Samuel 4.48 seconds*

A.J. Brown 4.49 seconds

N’Keal Harry 4.53 seconds

Riley Ridley 4.58 seconds*

*-unofficial time

VERTICAL JUMP

Riley Ridley 30.5 inches

A.J. Brown 36.5 inches

N’Keal Harry 38.5 inches

Deebo Samuel 39 inches

D.K. Metcalf 40.5 inches

BROAD JUMP

D.K. Metcalf 134 inches

Riley Ridley 124 inches

Deebo Samuel 122 inches

N’Keal Harry 122 inches

A.J. Brown 120 inches

3 CONE DRILL

Deebo Samuel 7.03 seconds

Riley Ridley 7.22 seconds

D.K. Metcalf 7.38 seconds

20-YARD SHUTTLE

Riley Ridley 4.28 seconds

D.K. Metcalf 4.50 seconds

BENCH PRESS

N’Keal Harry 27 reps

D.K. Metcalf 27 reps

A.J. Brown 19 reps

Deebo Samuel 15 reps

Riley Ridley 13 reps

ANALYSIS

It looks like the Steelers certainly have a type, as most of the receivers are big, physical, and with straight-line speed, a combination that is easily projectable as an outside deep threat at the NFL level. That’s interesting, because that’s not the kind of receiver Antonio Brown is at 5-foot-10 and more known for quickness than strength.

But speed trumps all at the receiver position, and Brown certainly has that. For comparison’s sake, he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at his combine.

NEXT UP

The Steelers have or will also meet with a pair inside linebacker targets in LSU’s Devin White and Alabama’s Mack Wilson, according to Joe Rutter of the Tribune-Review.

NFL Draft

Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks

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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.

Click here to also watch Mike and others discuss if the Steelers should have instead traded for Leonard Fournette on Pittsburgh Sports Live.

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2020 NFL Draft

Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft

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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.

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2020 NFL Draft

Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show

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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.

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