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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Assembled Most Athletic 2024 Draft Class



Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Fautanu

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2024 draft haul has been raved about by many draft analyst, but it’s also the most athletic class, according to Next Gen Stats. The Steelers only selected one player with an athleticism score under 75 in their first seven draft picks.

Three of the Steelers’ first five picks in the draft were offensive lineman, but they’re not heavy, slow-footed O-linemen. They can get out in space and move.

First-round pick Troy Fatanu had a 67 athletic score, second-round pick Zach Frazier recorded a 75 and fourth-round pick Mason McCormick graded out especially well with a 93, the highest among the Steelers’ seven draft picks.

Fautanu is an outstanding athletic, running a 5.01-second 40-yard dash and posting 29 reps on the bench press for a 9.62 Relative Athletic Score out of 10.

Frazier is not as athletic as Graham Barton, but he’s still very good. His superb technique makes up for any mishaps due athleticism. Frazier is a rugged, tough center who was a four-time state champion wrestler in West Virginia. That shows up in his film, as he effortlessly works angles in open spaces and has great leverage and hand placement.

Third-round pick Roman Wilson is somewhat undersized, checking in at 5-foot-10 3/4 and 185 pounds, but showed excellent athleticism in pre-draft testing. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, a 4.07-second shuttle and 6.89-second three-cone drill at the 2024 NFL Combine, resulting in an 8.59 RAS out of 10. Wilson played both inside and outside at Michigan, spending 91% of his time in the slot as a junior in 2022 and 65.5% of his time in the slot last season, per Pro Football Focus.

The Steelers’ second third-round selection Payton Wilson is a tremendous sideline-to-sideline backer that’s capable of patrolling the middle of the field by using his rangy athleticism to cover an enormous amount of ground. There are some negatives, such as the fact that he lacks the preferred length to stack and shed blocks at the second level. He’s athletic, loves to hit and his film checks a lot of boxes for what teams look for at the position, provided he can stay on the field.

Wilson ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash in the pre-draft process, a 4.2-second short shuttle and a 6.85-second three-cone drill for a 9.89 RAS out of 10.

Mason 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. He scored a 9.96 RAS out of a possible 10.00.

The Steelers brought sixth-round pick Logan Lee into Pittsburgh as one of their 30 pre-draft visitors. They also scouted Lee at the 2024 NFL Combine, where the Orion, Illinois native checked in at 6-foot-5 and 281 pounds, with 32 1/4-inch arms. He ran a 5.05-second 40-yard dash, 4.37-second shuttle and 7.16-second three-cone drill, and posted a vertical jump of 31.5 inches and a broad jump of 9-foot-6 inches. He has a total RAS of 9.20 out of 10.

Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said Lee has the girth at 295 pounds to play outside because he has a little speed but he mostly an interior guy in their 3-4 packages.

Nick Farabugh of Steelers Now said Steelers’ second sixth-round selection Ryan Watts is a freak show in the way he tested at the NFL Combine. Watts scored a 9.12 RAS out of a possible 10.00.

Watts is a huge 6-foot-3 cornerback but has some versatility and might have to kick to safety. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the combine while jumping out of the gym with a 40.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-5-inch broad jump, 4.13 short shuttle, and 6.82 3-cone drills.

Alan Saunders and Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh for this story.