Despite holding a higher pick than usual, the intrigue and mystery around who the Pittsburgh Steelers will select 20th overall is as high as ever. Mock drafts have thrown around names from the usual suspects to the surprise picks that resemble Artie Burns or Terrell Edmunds. However, nobody knows for sure who the team has pinned down as their target for 20th overall.
After going through the list of players who should be considered “locks” to go in the top 20, these are the ten players who are most commonly available, most connected to the Steelers, and fill a position of need. First, we need to take the 16 sure-fire locks off of the board.
Kyler Murray is going to go first overall, and if he doesn’t, he will not leave the top four. Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones have gotten mixed rankings from there, with the potential that all four could be gone before 20.
The Steelers need to root for quarterbacks to go early and often because all four would push the top non-quarterbacks down. With so much debate around the names, it seems like a good bet that at least three will go before 20.
Offensive Line- (4)
Similarly to quarterback, it is not exactly decided which four will be the consensus. However, between Andre Dillard, Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Garrett Bradbury, Eric McCoy, and Cody Ford, it is hard to see just three go in the top 19. Still, it is equally hard to see all six go before the Steelers pick, although that certainly would help. Steelers fans will want four to go, but five is certainly plausible.
Tight End- (1)
T.J. Hockenson is viewed as one of the safest prospects in the class. His teammate Noah Fant may join him in the top 19, and Steelers fans should hope for Fant to get drafted in the top 19 picks.
Defensive Line- (3)
Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver are expected to go in the top ten. Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, the Clemson lineman will go in the first round. One of the two is a lock to go top 20, based on preference.
Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, and Brian Burns are high upside players at premium positions.
Most people in the media have Devin White tied to the Buccaneers at five. It seems as though he would last two or three picks lower.
Total Locks to be drafted: 16
The Steelers are going to hope to see those three picks between 16 and 20 spent on offensive line, quarterback, and tight end. Josh Jacobs and Hollywood Brown are other offensive options who the Steelers could see push defensive options down.
Here are ten players who the Steelers could take considering the locks.
- Devin Bush
Bush is the closest to joining the 16 locks. This is where rooting for quarterbacks and offensive lineman to go high will matter. If there is a player they trade up for, it would be Devin Bush.
2. Greedy Williams
Williams has height, length, and speed that the Steelers covet at cornerback. He can play press-man and zone coverage and brings ball skills to the table as well. He is more likely to be around at 20 than Bush but will need some help to get pushed down.
3. Clelin Ferrell
Ferrell is a refined pass rusher with a well-pronounced career on the Clemson defensive line. He can join a rotation with Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt with the character, talent, and discipline to be a longterm NFL talent. His storied career and character may see him joining teammates in the top 19 picks but is more likely to fall to 20 than Bush.
4. Byron Murphy
Considering the 16 locks, it would be surprising to see all four of these options gone by pick 20. Murphy will fall to 20 because he is a zone cornerback without great length but showed more physical and disciplined than Williams at cornerback in college.
The surprise candidates
5. Julian Love
Not many are considering Julian Love who has first-round talent and checks every box that the Steelers look for in their cornerbacks. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin were at his Pro Day to see him improve on his 40 and go from over 4.5 to under.
His deep speed is in question but no one can question his understanding, footwork and ball skills that make him a safe pick at 20, with a safe chance to be there at 20.
6. Justin Layne
Layne is betting on upside at cornerback in a former wide receiver. Kevin Colbert went to the Michigan State Pro Day, likely to see how high he may have to take a player with great size and zone awareness, but raw technical traits.
Still, would you really be surprised if the Steelers reached on a high upside cornerback with raw ability?
7. Darnell Savage
Darnell Savage checks a lot of boxes. He is physical, he has made game-changing plays on the football and is one of the fastest players in the draft. Many would call it a reach, but rumors have come out that he could sneak into round one.
The Steelers brought him into Pittsburgh for a visit and Mike Tomlin has connections at Maryland. Do they know that Savage is ready to blossom in the NFL?
8. Sean Bunting
The Steelers are not known for drafting small school players in round one, but they are known for drafting high-end athletes in round one and Bunting is just that. Like Savage, the closer we get to the draft, the higher his name has crept in mocks. Could he sneak into round one?
9. Chase Winovich
The Steelers would add a productive player with high-end athleticism and local ties to the team that could make him a Steelers lifer. 20 is a bit high for Chase Winovich, but in predicting what the Steelers could do, he is on the table for 20th overall.
10. Rock Ya-Sin
The Steelers could go with Rock Ya-Sin a raw cornerback with upside. A former wrestler, Ya-Sin does not have much experience but is a coach favorite who climbed the ranks from a walk-on at Temple to a potential round one option.
Ravens Will Defer 2020 Season Tickets To 2021
The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday they will defer 2020 season tickets until 2021.
Single-game ticket sales for the 2020 season will also be discontinued, with refunds being issued to fans that have already bought them, the team said in a press release.
2020 Ravens season tickets will be deferred to 2021.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 8, 2020
If permitted under state and local government regulations to have fans attend games in 2020, a reduced seating capacity at M&T Bank Stadium will be in place of fewer than 14,000 seats per game.
📰: https://t.co/Y83BkJUYDV pic.twitter.com/FN9jWTyTea
Still, the Ravens are holding out hope that fans will be allowed in stadiums this season, albeit in a limited capacity, with an expectation of less than 14,000 seat available. Baltimore added that attendance by fans and overall volume will be determined by “social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by health experts, governmental officials and the NFL.”
“To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary,” stated Ravens president Dick Cass. “We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible.”
While the Ravens appear to be lacking optimism regarding fan attendance in 2020, the also said they would resume selling tickets if the NFL releases a seating manifest that allows for fans come the fall.
“With over 62,000 season tickets already sold, there is no equitable way to accommodate in a limited stadium capacity all PSL Owners who are interested in maintaining season tickets for 2020,” stated senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman. “Under these unusual circumstances, it’s best to simplify the ticket sales process and allow fans to decide which games they want to attend, while giving our PSL Owners priority in accessing tickets.”
The NFL has not made any definitive decision regarding empty stadiums, but the Ravens seem to be the first organization to take a proactive approach fearing the worst.
Pittsburgh is still selling single game tickets, but in a limited capacity in anticipation of social distancing guidelines. The team also has a disclaimer on their website warning buyers of potential rescheduling or postponement of games, stating full refunds will be available for games that are not played.
James Conner Surprises Mom with New House
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner warmed hearts last month when he surprised his father with a new truck.
Now, he is taking care of mom.
Conner recently surprised his mother with a brand new house, sharing her emotional reaction to Twitter on Saturday.
Welcome HOME Ma! You’ve sacrificed so much and we can’t thank you enough! You’re the reason I go to work day in and day out, to finally give you a place you can call Home. I Love you❤️🏡💪🏽💯🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/c25KyOphAo— James Conner (@JamesConner_) July 4, 2020
Conner was able to pull off the surprise for his mother, Kelly Bibbs, with the help of his brothers. While Bibbs may have not realized what exactly was going on at first, seeing her son James and the golden balloons arranged to say “Welcome Home” quickly gave it away.
Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry shared their thoughts on the big surprise, among other on social media.
Wow! The best thing I’ve seen in a long time! https://t.co/BO3x1RkvDL— Eddie Faulkner (@coachfaulk) July 4, 2020
❤️ Absolutely, man that’s a amazing feeling… Making sure your people Straight forever ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) July 5, 2020
Conner’s gesture is a continuation of an offseason of giving that saw him gift his father a brand new truck back on June 6.
Bought my pops a truck! He was hype 😂🙏🏽💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/QSrH2bdiTS— James Conner (@JamesConner_) June 6, 2020
Entering his fourth season out of Pitt, Conner is looking for a bounce back season following an injury plagued 2019 campaign. He rushed for 464 yards and four touchdowns, but played in only ten games for the Steelers.
Last season was a far cry from 2018, when Conner was a breakout sensation replacing Le’Veon Bell. He ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl honors.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year-old has something to prove in 2020.
Report: NFL Teams Could Trim Training Camp Rosters More Than 13%
NFL teams are reportedly considering bringing fewer players than normal to training camp this year in an effort to combat COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Instead of bringing the regular 90 players, Schefter’s sources say teams could bring just 80, or even 75 players to camp this August.
In an effort to combat COVID-19, NFL teams are likely to bring fewer than the regular 90 players they ordinarily bring to training camp, per league sources. One source is predicting 80 per team, another 75, but no one is expecting 90. More coming up on https://t.co/rDZaVFhcDQ.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 2, 2020
While it appears teams have the right idea in mind by trying to minimize the risk of COVID-19, shrinking training camp rosters will limit opportunities for fringe players attempting to find a landing spot.
Still, smaller rosters will allow for proposed social distancing in training camp in compliance with the league’s protocols announced last month. There are also plans to expand practice squad rosters to handle the likely inactives that will arise from positive tests, which will return roster slots to those barred from camp.
In another move to combat the coronavirus, several reports indicate the league is slashing the 2020 preseason in half. Each team will play their Week 2 and 3 exhibition games, but Weeks and 4 will be canceled. The Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Cowboys has already been called off.
These last two moves by the league are the first two instances of the NFL bending to the virus. The league had previously held the NFL Draft and free agency on time unimpeded, and is currently still planning on having fans in attendance this season, although that seems like a long-shot currently.