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NFL Draft

Toledo Coach Jason Candle Believes Steelers a Great Fit for Diontae Johnson

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When drafting a player, an organization is hoping to acquire someone who’s not only talented but also a person with great character

That second part is sometimes easier said then done but early indications are the Steelers have accomplished that with 3rd round pick Diontae Johnson.

Here’s a pretty solid endorsement from wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.

“I’ve been doing this for 40 years and he was one of the best interviews and guys I’ve been around in a long time.”

Johnson received more praise this morning from Toledo Head Coach Jason Candle, who spoke to Steelers Now. 

“I believe the Steelers drafted a young man that’s very hungry and eager to learn and get better everyday and someone that will be a great teammate,” said Candle. “His playmaking ability speaks for itself. He arguably had the two best games of his career against Miami, Fla. who have great defensive backs. His productivity and overall growth have improved every year which leads me to believe he has a lot of good football ahead if him.”

”They’ve put stock and trust in him by drafting him that high and that he gives it back to them and repays their trust. Diontae is a relationship based guy and his position coach and him along with his teammates will have solid relationships. When your level of comfort is there, then I feel your talent has a real chance to surface. Diontae has a whole lot of talent.”

The Steelers have a long history of developing wide receivers and Candle believes Johnson will be another player that’s added to this list. Another reason this has a chance to happen is that a future Hall of a Fame quarterback will be throwing to him.

”That’s huge,” said Candle. “Plus, he’s going to an organization that’s been successful. There’s a lot of reason that their success has been sustained and a lot has to do with the quarterback. Ben has the ability to effect everyone in a positive way especially the wideouts. Diontae is a relationship based guy so it’ll be fun to watch them gel together.”

Last night was a big night for Johnson as well as for Toledo football who’ve put another player in the NFL.

”We’re very proud of Diontae and the other guys who potentially can get their names called today. Diontae is our 5th draft pick in the last 3 years. We’re excited that he’s going to a great organization and we’re excited that the Toledo football brand is starting to spread as well. Toledo has a history of recruiting WPIAL players and have a deep respect for the job that the high school coaches do there. Football is important in Western Pennsylvania and we’re just excited that Toledo football has another connection to that area with Diontae and the Steelers.”

NFL Draft

Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks

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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.

Click here to also watch Mike and others discuss if the Steelers should have instead traded for Leonard Fournette on Pittsburgh Sports Live.

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2020 NFL Draft

Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft

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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.

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2020 NFL Draft

Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show

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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.

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