Steelers land an athletic tight end in latest 2020 mock draft

There’s no question the Pittsburgh Steelers could use help on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s who The Draft Wire has them taking in the second round of the draft.

With the NFL season coming to an unpleasant finish in 2019, it’s time for Steelers fans to look ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft. Though Pittsburgh surrendered their first-round pick early in the season to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers still possess the 49th overall pick this year.

The Draft Wire recently released their updated 3-round NFL mock draft, with their first pick in the second round, they have the Steelers taking Washington tight end, Hunter Bryant.

I had the opportunity to watch some tape on Bryant during a film session last week. He’s a move tight end that can line up all over the formation and has the speed to beat linebackers across the middle of the field. Though he struggles with drops sometimes, Bryant has good mobility after the catch. He’s a fluid athlete in the open field and he’s a solid route runner.

Unfortunately, Bryant does fit the bill when it comes to stature. At barely 6’2” and 239 pounds, Bryant looks more like a big receiver than an inline tight end. As a result, Hunter is an average blocker who lacks power at the point of attack.

While I don’t want to judge a book by its cover, Bryant’s lack of size limits his upside as a true number one tight end for the Steelers, and his playstyle is closer to JuJu Smith-Schuster’s than Heath Miller’s.

There’s a chance that Pittsburgh could be razor-thin at the tight end position next season. Vance McDonald is due a lofty sum of money over the next two seasons and the Steelers could save over $12 million between 2020 and 2021 by cutting him. This would leave the Steelers with just 2019 5th round pick Zach Gentry on their roster. Nick Vannett is an unrestricted free agent, and the Steelers could offer him a contract extension.

There’s no doubt Pittsburgh could use depth at the tight end position, and Bryant could provide a spark off the bench as a rookie. Though his size won’t present matchup problems down the field, he is an athletic player who knows how to get open.

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When picking in the second round, the Steelers are going to have to make some sacrifices. Hunter Bryant isn’t a prototype tight end, but he would be a solid acquisition to a big area of need for Pittsburgh.