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NFL Draft

NFL Draft: Top 30 Players Available

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The first round came and went with plenty of trades, moves, and surprises. However, the core of the draft is on Friday, with the second and third round picks that make up the backbone of the team. Many projected first round picks are still on the board with all of the surprises and wheeling and dealing going on. Heck, many players that were linked to the Steelers at 20th overall are still on the board.

While the Steelers do not pick until 66th overall, there are only 34 spots until their next selection. They should be looking for the unpredictable nature of the draft to push a top 30 player available down the board. With that in mind, here are the top 30 prospects still available entering round two.

1. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida 

A medical red flag seemed to push a consensus top 10 pick out of the first round. When will someone take the chance on him now that he is not in round one talks?

2. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Arguably the top cornerback in the draft, Murphy has the lack of speed and size desired in the first round.

3. Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

Ford is a mauler of an offensive lineman who can play tackle and guard.

4. Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M

An SEC center who has handled some of the better interior linemen will not last long tonight.

5. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

A volatile receiver prospect, Hakeem Butler is expected to go at some point early tonight.

6. Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

Risner has the versatility to play guard, center and tackle in the NFL. However, some may see a tweener.

7. Julian Love, CB Notre Dame 

Love has great instincts with his feet and has plenty of ball skills. However, bigger wide receivers were able to out-physyical him.

8. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Williams is a height, length and speed prospect with questionable desire against the run.

9. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Could Brown be the next AB in Pittsburgh? The Steelers would likely have to trade up.

10. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

The combine warrior had too many injury and nuance questions to go in round one.

11. Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

Juan Thornhill is one of the best pure athletes in this draft and will be a versatile chess piece in the NFL.

12. Chase Winovich, Edge, Michigan

Winovich is a high-effort player with underrated athleticism to give him upside in the NFL.

13. Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame

An extremely raw wide receiver, Boykin had a better combine than D.K. Metcalf.

14. Elgton Jenkins, C, Miss State

Another hard-nosed SEC center will be a great value in round two.

15. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington 

Rapp had round one talk until running a 4.7 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. How far did this affect his stock?

16. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida 

Gardner-Johnson is a chess piece who can line up in the slot, or as a strong and free safety.

17. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

Little has the size and reach to be a starting LT in the NFL.

18. Amani Hooker, S, Iowa

A versatile and instinctive defender who can play every position in the back end.

19. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia 

Grier has the chance to be put in a better situation in round two than if a team reached for him in round one.

20. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Drew Lock was expected to be taken in the first round

21. Christian Miller, Edge, Alabama

Miller has upside to be an elite talent but has too many injury concerns to be a round one player

22. David Long, CB, Michigan

Long is a physical press cornerback who does not have the length to press in the NFL, but has the footspeed to move into the slot.

23. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

A short but thick wide receiver who can move with the ball in his hands, think Golden Tate

24. Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

He does not run many routes, but when the ball is in his hands, big things happen.

25. Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

Henderson averaged over eight yards per carry at Memphis

26. Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan 

Bunting comes from a small school but has elite athleticism and serious upside.

27. Zach Allen, DE, Boston College 

Allen has the length to defend the run on the outside and burst to push pockets from the inside.

28. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple 

Ya-Sin has long arms and great ball skills to go with high upside as a raw prospect.

29. Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

Layne is a long, former wide receiver who is raw but has plenty of upside.

30. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Thompson has questionable deep speed, but great ball skills as a deep safety.

 

2021 NFL Draft

NFL Cancels In-Person 2021 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis; Pro Days On

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After weeks of rumors and speculation, the NFL has made it official, announcing in a memo to clubs Monday they are significant alterations to the 2021 Scouting Combine.

Annually held in Indianapolis, the league is scrapping in-person workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium, instead opting for pro days on college campuses. The NFL will coordinate with schools to ensure “consistency in testing and drills,” providing video of said workouts to all clubs.

Interviews and psychological testing of prospects normally executed at the physical combine will instead be conducted in an entirely virtual format.

As for medical evaluations, limited in-person exams will most likely be conducted over a three-day span in early April. While some evaluations will also be held virtually, an undetermined number of prospects will be invited to designated satellite locations for in-person exams. Each franchise will be permitted to dispatch a physician and athletic trainer to conduct the in-person portion.

Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft in April, the league will work directly with clubs, schools and affiliated broadcast partners to ensure media availability with Combine invitees. The NFL intends to keep with tradition and make head coaches and general managers available to the media as well.

The altered Combine format was devised and overseen by a special committee of league and club officials, including NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.

Further details regarding protocols and finalized dates will be released as the committee continues to meet and plan over the coming weeks.

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NFL

Report: NFL to Make Significant Changes to Combine Due to COVID-19

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Major changes to the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine are expected amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, plans of hosting the combine as traditionally constructed are “dead” following a conference call between league officials Friday. It is becoming increasingly likely that the medical and performance-based portions of the event will be held separately.

A number of alternatives are being considered, including regionalized medical checks, standardized pro days and interviews conducting via Zoom.

With regards to the regional medicals, the NFL could set up shop and administer the examinations at hospital in states where a large number of players are conducting their workouts and preparation, such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

The intent would be to limit travel for players, where as the team physicians conducting the examinations would likely have already received their vaccinations.

Other aspects of the medical process can be accomplished virtually, such as reviewing injury histories.

As for the pro days, NFL or individual team personnel would put players through drills at their respective schools, but standardize each workout to ensure prospects are going through the same exercises as they would in Indianapolis. Measurements and result would then be distributed league-wide as they normally would be.

League officials will continue to meet over the coming days, according to Breer, but a finalized plan is expected later this coming week.

The NFL has also weighed the option of postponing the combine until April, but still holding it in Indianapolis. While it is on the table, the move would likely requirement the 2021 NFL Draft to be postponed as well.

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NFL Draft

Steelers Clinch No. 24 Pick in 2021 NFL Draft

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Following their opening round playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers now know where they will be selecting in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh now owns the No. 24-overall selection in April’s draft.

A number of needs and questions plague the Steelers as they enter the offseason and turn their attention toward the draft process, with multiple directions they can go with their first round pick. Offensive line, running back and cornerback all appear viable options for the Steelers at No. 24.

The Steelers have not had a first round selection since trading up to draft inside linebacker Devin Bush with the tenth-overall pick in 2018. Pittsburgh did not have a first rounder in last year’s draft, sending it to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 to acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The draft is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio, though it’s unclear if that will come to pass or if the draft will once again be held virtually, as the 2020 NFL Draft was.

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