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.
NFL Releases Pro Day Schedules
The 2021 NFL Combine should be kicking off this week in Indianapolis, but like so many other things in the past year, it has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL has decided not to risk bringing together prospects, scouts and media from around the country and will instead be relying on the schools’ individual pro days to evaluate prospects.
With that in mind, the league has taken a greater measure of control over the process, and on Wednesday, released a preliminary schedule for each team’s pro day.
March 5: Kansas
March 9: Kansas State, Northwestern, Wisconsin-Whitewater
March 10: Arkansas, Marshall, Maryland, Wisconsin
March 11: Clemson, Nevada, Texas
March 12: Arkansas State, North Dakota State, Oklahoma
March 15: Army, Kent State, Middle Tennessee St., Vanderbilt
March 16: Georgia Tech, Temple
March 17: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Pitt, San Jose St.
March 18: Auburn, Buffalo, Central Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe,
Stanford, Troy, West Virginia
March 19: Memphis, Ohio, TCU
March 22: Air Force, Bowling Green, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida State, Iowa, Missouri, Toledo
March 23: Alabama, Central Michigan, Iowa State, Nebraska, Purdue
March 24: Michigan State, Mississippi State, South Carolina, USC, Virginia
March 25: Georgia Southern, UMass, Ole Miss, North Texas, Penn State, San Diego St., SMU, Tennessee, Western Michigan
March 26: Boston College, BYU, Michigan, South Dakota State, Virginia Tech
March 29: Arizona State, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), North Carolina
March 30: Alabama, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, NC State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tulane, Washington
March 31: Boise State, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Notre Dame, Wake Forest
April 1: UCF, Minnesota, Charlotte, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, USF, Western Kentucky
April 2: Oregon, Tulsa
April 7: Texas Tech
April 9: UAB, Ball State, Houston
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NFL Releases Further Details of Altered Draft Process
After cancelling the in-person NFL Scouting Combine last week due to COVID-19 concerns, the league released further details of the significantly altered draft process in a memo to clubs Friday.
Teams are prohibited from timing, testing, interviewing or examining draft prospects at any location other than all-star games or the respective player’s pro day.
Clubs are also banned from hosting draft prospects for facilities visits, dinners, film sessions and private workouts. Violations of these rules would be subject to punishment in line with the NFL’s anti-tampering policy.
Further muddying the process, clubs will only be allowed to have a maximum of three individuals attend pro days. However, all times and measurements are said to be made available league-wide.
Lastly, the league also released further details and restrictions on the pre-draft interview process. While in-person interviews and visits will be prohibited, they can be conducted virtually or via telephone.
Clubs can schedule up to five video conferences or phone calls with a prospect, with each conversation limited to one hour. Virtual psychological tests will not count against the five interview limit.
Teams can begin conducting interviews with draft eligible underclassmen on Monday, Jan. 25.
Interviews with seniors can begin on Monday, Feb. 1.