College Football Season has arrived! Here are some names of potential Steelers NFL Draft targets to keep an eye on …
With the NFL Regular Season rapidly approaching, I know Steeler Nation is surely counting down the days, hours, and minutes until the Steelers square off against the Redskins on Monday Night Football.
However, another season has already begun that is worth keeping an eye on, the College Football Season. I know it is difficult to keep up with the College game, as you can’t expect every fan to glue their eyes to the TV all Saturday, so I wanted to highlight several players every week to familiarize yourself with that the Steelers could potentially target in the 2017 NFL Draft.
With that being said, let’s dive into some player analysis.
TE Jake Butt, Michigan
With the post-Heath Miller era officially underway, the Steelers may potentially look to add some help at the TE position. One player to keep an eye on is Michigan Wolverine TE Jake Butt.
Although Butt may not fit the definition of a traditional Steeler’s TE who can excel as an in-line blocker, Butt fits the new mold of athletic pass catching tight ends. Standing at 6’6″, Butt would be an asset in the red zone and contested ball situations with his exceptional catch radius.
Butt is also a reliable pass catcher, as he rarely drops any passes, and can create separation with crisp routes. The Steelers could run some effective dual-TE sets with both Ladarius Green and Jake Butt. Who could have potentially foreseen that coming after years of watching Matt Spaeth as the backup tight end?
While Butt could immediately contribute as a pass catcher, he needs to improve upon his play strength and blocking abilities. Butt needs to work on fueling his blocks with his lower body and generating a stronger push at the point of attack. Additionally, Butt could showcase higher effort and develop better overall footwork and hand usage as a blocker.
As a whole I came away impressed with Butt’s game, as he is one of the best route runners in College Football. Butt would be a great addition to the Steelers offense, giving Big Ben another weapon at his disposal.
Although, they would probably need to use a first or second round selection on Butt. I am unsure if the Steelers are willing to use that early of a pick on a TE in the 2017 NFL Draft.
However, if Butt ever dons the black and gold then Steeler Nation could easily swap out their Heath chants with an entertaining “Buuuuuuuuuttttt” after his catches.
CB Desmond King, Iowa
Is there any greater cause of frustration for Steeler fans than the defense’s inability to stop opposing pass attacks? And is there any greater need for this team than additional help in the secondary?
The answer to these issues may be a prospect who already wears black and gold, and that is Iowa CB Desmond King.
Desmond King is another talented senior who, like Jake Butt, is one of the most impressive prospects at his position. King, who won the Jim Thorpe award this past season, is a technically sound cornerback who sports an NFL-ready game.
One of King’s best attributes is that he is fantastic in run support, racking up 72 tackles in 2015. King can set the edge in the run game and get off blocks to make tackles on a consistent basis.
However, the most impressive facet of King’s game is his fantastic ball skills. King racked up 8 interceptions in 2015 due to his outstanding anticipatory skills and eye discipline. King reads the quarterback’s eyes and will jump routes and break on the ball with great closing speed.
Additionally, King excels in both man and zone coverage, and can be used in a variety of ways in Keith Butler’s defense. Overall King has the potential to be a shutdown corner. King flashes impressive fluidity, has prototypical size, and possesses a complete all-around game. The Steelers could certainly improve their roster by using an early-round selection on King in 2017.
As far as weaknesses go in King’s game, there simply aren’t that many. King is not that athletically intimidating or the quickest in terms of change of direction skills, but he consistently locks down opposing wide receivers with his technique.
King looked impressive covering some of College Football’s most outstanding wideouts in 2015, including Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd. He could immediately start as an outside corner and be an excellent fit in Pittsburgh’s defense.
If Artie Burns can continue to develop, Pittsburgh could boast an impressive duo of first round corners for years to come if the Steelers acquire King in the 2017 NFL Draft.