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2024 NFL Draft

Shrine Bowl Takeaways: Steelers WR Need, QBs Lackluster

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued to evaluate prospects at the Shrine Bowl. Who stood out?



Pittsburgh Steelers Shrine Bowl

FRISCO, Texas — The Pittsburgh Steelers and 31 other teams are in Frisco scouting potential prospects that can help bolster their teams. As we enter day three of the process, who is continuing to stand out at the Shrine Bowl, and what can be taken away from Monday’s session?

Two New OL Rise

The offensive line here has proven to have a few solid options that will likely go on day three of the NFL Draft. But on Monday, I wanted to highlight two others that have stuck out all week but have not been mentioned in my previous breakdowns.

First, I mentioned Garret Greenfield as one of the South Dakota State standouts, but interior offensive lineman Mason McCormick proved he could hang, too. McCormick is a stout, well-built pass rusher 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 who has some real starting potential in the NFL.

Then, NC State center Dylan McMahon has been solid all week. There’s not much flash to his game, but he rarely loses reps, and when he does, he loses extremely slowly. McMahon does not have great length, and that can show up with some of the lengthier rushers, but he has excellent core strength and balance to hold off those power rushes. He uses great hand quickness and gets that off-hand placed well inside the pads of these defenders to try and make up for that lack of length. He is a guy I came into the week knowing very little about, but I came out thinking he was a draftable prospect.

Two Twitchy Wide Receivers

The Steelers could use a slot wide receiver. Although they have someone in that vain already when you talk about Calvin Austin III, one of his former teammates could make sense for that role, or at least, has stood out in a big way so far in Frisco.

USC’s Tahj Washington, who played for two years at Memphis with Austin, has been a joy to watch. Washington’s tape is fun, and he’s got awesome explosiveness when he cuts on the inside of his foot and gets vertical. Some of the throws from these quarterbacks have fallen short and Washington has made them look good. For someone at his size, Washington has all the toughness needed to make combat catches in the slot. And he does a great job of vertically going up to get it. I knew what I was going to get in a guy like Malik Washington. For Tahj, I was interested due to the talent, but he has exceeded it. He runs crisp routes all over the field and checks the boxes.

Meanwhile, Oregon State’s Anthony Gould is of a similar mold, but quicker. Gould is going to run a blazing fast 40-yard dash time. That is coming. But his quickness and nuance in the routes are what makes it for me. He has such great footwork, but the way he uses his eyes deceives defensive backs as well as anyone in Frisco. He has a great build to break those arm tackles on screen plays, and can win at all three levels. The Shrine Bowl has a type, but maybe this draft just has one. Gould is a nice player who should find a role in the NFL.

Lack of QB Targets

I was interested to see if any of the quarterbacks would pop this week. Of the guys here, Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed is probably the guy who I have liked the most. He throws an accurate ball, but lacks great arm talent. In addition, it seems he panics under pressure and drops his eyes. But I like the accuracy and decisiveness that he shows. He could be a late day three guy who could pop up to a backup.

Outside of him, of the guys actually playing, the balls have either been all over the field or reads have been severely lacking. It’s not a great group in Frisco this year, although guys like Kedon Slovis and Jack Plummer have intriguing traits within the arm talent realm.

Jordan Travis is an excellent interview. His film tells his story better than any week down in Frisco will, but it is not hard to see why Florida State and his teammates rallied around him and he was able to lead those guys. I’m a fan of his from an intangibles standpoint. Outside of that, it’s been a rough go of things from the quarterback position.

Khristian Boyd, Again

Yesterday, I mentioned Khristian Boyd as someone who stood out in a massive way. He did so again, and in my eyes, he has maybe had the best week out of anyone in Frisco. He is earning himself some serious money.

Boyd’s hands are violent. He has great explosiveness off the snap of the football to stun those interior rushers and create displacement at the line of scrimmage. Boyd plays like a perfect three-technique who would destroy sub-packages. The Steelers have some interest in him, too. And I’m not surprised. He first asked what they liked about the position and what could be perfect to pair with Keeanu Benton. Montravius Adams is a free agent, and as a day-three pick, I could easily see the team loving Boyd and trying to take him.

Boyd should see his stock go up. He came into this event likely on the edge of not being picked, but should comfortably at least rise into the middle of day three. In the fourth-round, I know I would feel extremely confident in what Boyd could bring to the table.

Chirpy CB Jarius Monroe

The Steelers need cornerbacks. But what they need just as much as a cornerback is some swagger on the defense. To me, it’s always a good thing to have someone with a little bit of an edge to them. Jarius Monroe out of Tulane is a cornerback who has showed out every single day. When talking to him, he is so obviously a guy that wears a massive chip on his shoulder and that wraps around his game.

They have played him at cornerback, slot, and safety. He has made plays on the ball from each spot, and you will know when he makes a play. But he has great instincts and a willingness to chip into help in the run game. Monroe has played well throughout the week and should see his stock shift.

Steelers and the WR Class

This takeaway is as much about the class as a whole, but when guys like both Washingtons, Gould, Jalen Coker, Bub Means, and others are showing out at the Shrine Bowl, it reminds me that a lot of these guys would end up at the Senior Bowl in most years. The Steelers need a slot receiver, or at least someone to fit into that WR3 role. Man, I’m not sure how they pass on this class. It’s one of those unusually deep classes that you probably should dip into at all costs.

Like the Steelers did with Darnell Washington last year at tight end when that class was historically great, they should do the same with wide receiver. What round will they grab someone in? Not sure, but they can find someone with one of their two fourth-round picks this draft season. They legitimately have a need there, and could get someone who can contribute in the fourth round with the depth of this class.