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Steelers Guard Mason McCormick Named Top Sleeper in NFL Draft

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Mason McCormick was named one of the top sleepers in the NFL Draft class after the team picked him.



Steelers fourth-round selection Mason McCormick

Pittsburgh Steelers’ fourth-round selection Mason McCormick scored a 9.96 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) out of a possible 10.00. This ranked eighth out of 1,583 offensive guards from 1987 to 2024. He’s highly regarded for his ability to get out in space and pull.

And that has earned him a lot of praise from around the NFL Draft community. Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire believes that McCormick might be the top sleeper in entire NFL Draft after Pittsburgh nailed him in the fourth round.

“McCormick was a no-star recruit, and the Sioux Falls, South Dakota native went with the only school who offered him anything. Over the next six seasons for the Jackrabbits, he allowed just three sacks, four quarterback hits, and 20 quarterback hurries in 1,605 pass-blocking reps. And his tape is full of power pulls and gap-scheme blocks that speak to his efficient power. After starring at the East-West Shrine game and the combine and training with O-line guru Duke Manyweather, McCormick found himself much more wanted than he had ever been before,” Farrar wrote.

On paper, McCormick could be a steal because of his measurables. Farrar believes that, but offensive line guru Brandon Thorn has some legitimate doubts about McCormick and his game.

“McCormick’s another one of those guys I was lower on than most. I had a fifth-round grade on McCormick. It was tough to come to terms how different his film was with how he performed at the Shrine Game and how he tested,” Thorn said on the latest episode of his Trench Warfare podcast. “He didn’t play to that level of testing, in my opinion, on film. I was just kind of overwhelmed with his film at South Dakota State. He has the size, the length, the square power, as a puller was all his best film as a puller. But in terms of base blocks, angle drive blocks, I just didn’t see it.”

McCormick dominated at South Dakota State, which is the FCS level, so the jump to the NFL will be a drastic transition process. Thorn thinks the Steelers will find out soon rather than later if McCormick has what it takes to play in the pros.

“They’re gonna find out real quickly if the corner that he seemingly turned from film to Shrine was like real, real legit or not, because he’s gonna have to block Keeanu Benton and Cam Heyward,” Thorn said. “And I think the Steelers are gonna find out real quick if he’s gonna make it or not.”

Mason McCormick was someone that the team hosted for a pre-draft visit. McCormick is another center option, but he can also play guard right away. It should be noted that McCormick played left guard his entire college career, but he worked at the center at the Shrine Bowl and is working there throughout the process, too, meaning that he could be a mid-round option.

As it stands, McCormick is a solid value pick. The 119th pick was right there in the sweet spot for a player like him, who has a little bit of rawness in his game but still has the athletic traits that stick out and could allow him to play early on. Something to note is that is arms are longer than your average guard or center at 33 7/8 inches, and he paired that with good athleticism. McCormick ran a 5.08 40-yard dash, had a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump and put up 32 bench press reps at his pro day.

McCormick is a stout, well-built pass protector and he is strong. His core strength might be his best trait, and he pairs that with fantastic grip strength to stop most interior pass rushers in their tracks. Most guys do not have the combo of pure strength and balance for where he will go, and he has some real upside to become a starter-level player in the NFL. He can get caught leaning a bit at times and his hand placement gets wide, opening up his chest and allowing defenders to push-pull him. But once he cleans up some of those technical issues, he feels like someone with some real starting potential in the NFL along the offensive line with some seasoning to his game.