Steelers go edge defender in the second round of recent NFL mock draft

Yahoo Sports recently released their pre-NFL Combine first and second-round mock draft. Here’s what they had the Steelers doing in round two.

With free agency not yet underway, it’s hard to get a good feel for which direction the Steelers may go early in April’s NFL Draft. Pittsburgh’s offense was clearly lacking last season as they finished 30th in the league by the end of the season.

While the Steelers could use upgrades at tight end, running back, wide receiver, and even along the offensive line, a recent two-round NFL mock draft has them going a different direction with pick 49. Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports has Pittsburgh landing edge defender, Johnathan Greenard, with their second-round draft choice. Here is what he had to say about the selection:

Florida EDGE Jonathan Greenard

Even if Bud Dupree is back, it could be on the franchise tag. The Steelers had a terrific defense last season, but they need to protect against Dupree’s eventual loss and give T.J. Watt a running mate. Greenard was great for the Gators after transferring from Louisville, outshining Jabari Zuniga as Florida’s best pass rusher. If there’s a pass rusher in this range who fits the Steelers’ mold, it’s Greenard.

Listed at 6’4” and 262 pounds, Greenard is a big edge defender prospect with some intriguing tools and excellent power for the position. Greenard played three seasons at Louisville before transferring to Florida for his 2019 season.

Due to NCAA rules, Greenard was forced to sit out the 2018 season. However, he put up incredible numbers in his final season – tallying 53 tackles, 16.0 tackles for a loss, 10.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and an interception. With incredible size and production, if Greenard tests well at the NFL Combine, he will solidify himself as a day-two selection.

Though Greenard was Edholm’s pick for the Steelers. It’s hard to read too much into it at this point. Whether or not Bud Dupree returns to Pittsburgh, the Steelers could certainly use some depth at the position. However, I think they are unlikely to address edge rusher (or maybe even defense at all) in the second round.

In a closing Super Bowl window with a quarterback who is set to turn 38 years old next month, I thoroughly believe the Steelers will do everything in their power to get Ben Roethlisberger some weapons in his last few seasons with the team. Tight end, running back, and wide receiver are all real possibilities, and there are some skills players in this draft who could come in and help Pittsburgh win right away.

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If for some reason Dupree does not return next season, this certainly opens the door to an edge defender being drafted in round two. However, based on Pittsburgh’s needs and drafting trends, I think they give Ben more options to work with. We will have a better picture of the Steelers intentions after free agency.

 

 

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