The Steelers haven’t even played their first preseason game, but already we are seeing 2020 mock drafts. Here is who Draft Wire has them taking next year.
Everyone loves the NFL Draft, so it’s never too early to start thinking ahead to next season. Though the Steelers haven’t even played their first preseason game, we are already starting to see which players are being mocked to the Steelers in the first round next April.
Luke Easterling of USA Today’s Draft Wire recently took to comprising a full first round mock draft in 2020. He has the Steelers selecting at pick 22 overall and going with LSU defensive lineman, Rashard Lawrence.
— Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling) August 5, 2019
Lawrence is listed at 6’3” and 317 pounds and would be a player they could plug into their defensive line rotation right away. Javon Hargrave is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and it is still unsure whether or not the Steelers will be able to get a deal done with the big defensive lineman.
Easterling doesn’t provide his reasoning for the pick, but perhaps he believes that Hargrave will be wearing different colors next season. Hargrave had a breakout season in 2018 where he recorded 6.5 sacks and 8 quarterback hits.
It would be wise of the Steelers to look to retain Hargrave moving forward. However, if he cannot be retained, Lawrence would make a lot of sense here. He is a versatile defensive lineman who has experience at both defensive end and defensive tackle. He is coming off his best season as a junior, where he recorded 54 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 4.0 sacks.
A lot will change between now and the end of the 2019 season, and we are hoping that the Steelers are picking much later than 22 overall. Lawrence would be a solid fit on the defensive line.
If Pittsburgh is able to retain Hargrave, however, I can’t see this happening. Their defensive line is one of the best positional groups on their team. They will likely look to address an area of weakness next year – one we may not even know about until that time comes.