The Pittsburgh Steelers have begun the next step in the draft process, as Monday marked the first group of players to officially visit the team’s facility, per Joe Rutter of the TribLive.com.
Five players have met with the team thus far, all five of them playing on the offensive side of the football.
Running backs Miles Sanders (Penn State) and Damien Harris (Alabama) were the two ball-carriers at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, which comes to no surprise as the Steelers attended both of their respective Pro Days. Pittsburgh continues to show interest in adding a third running back to their young stable that features James Conner and Jaylen Samuels.
The team can have up to 30 players in for pre-draft visits, but Sanders will not count against the books since he played high school football at Woodland Hills High School. Sanders, who replaced one of the best running backs in recent college football history in Saquon Barkley, is expected to be one of the first ball-carriers off the board when the draft starts.
Receivers Andy Isabella (UMass) and Dillon Mitchell (Oregon) were the first pass-catchers to visit with the Steelers. Despite the signing of Donte Moncrief in the off-season, the Steelers will still look to solidify their receiving corps through the draft. Isabella will likely be featured in the slot at the pro level, while Mitchell is more likely to be featured as an outside receiver.
The sole tight end and final of five visitors on Monday was Notre Dame’s Alize Mack, a player that was featured in our first mock draft two months ago. The departure of Jesse James to Detroit leaves a considerable gap in the team’s tight end depth behind Vance McDonald, and with no tight ends being signed in the free agency period, the Steelers will ultimately look to the NFL Draft to find a replacement.
With less than a month away from draft day, the Steelers will continue to bring in prospects and attempt to find the right fit.
Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks
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.
Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft
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.
Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show
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.