Steelers Mock Draft: Pittsburgh takes a balanced approach after free agency
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a lot of moves this offseason. Here’s what I have them doing in the NFL Draft after the first week of free agency.
We are just days into the start of free agency, but already we are getting a clearer picture of which direction the Steelers could look to go on draft day. Pittsburgh made many moves over the past week, including cutting players like Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo, and Johnny Holton. They also signed a few free agents in Derek Watt and Stefen Wisniewski and restructured half-a-dozen contracts.
The Steelers still have a long way to go in filling the needs of their team in 2020. While more moves are sure to come, we now have a better understanding of their biggest needs heading into the draft. Here is my updated Steelers mock draft after the start of free agency:
2nd round: Cam Akers
Running back, Florida State
The Steelers haven’t hidden their desire for a running back. At the NFL Combine, they met with several of the top prospects. Cam Akers and Zach Moss are both guys who fit the size thresholds Pittsburgh looks for, but Akers checks just about every box they have – young, underclassman, big-bodied, can carry the load, and can play all three downs.
James Conner has just one year remaining on his deal, and with Pittsburgh continuing to push more money back into the future, an extension for Conner hardly seems like a priority. Conner also couldn’t be counted on in 2019 because of nagging injuries, and he has missed time in each of his first three seasons.
To make room for Akers on the roster, the Steelers may be forced to part ways with Jalen Samuels, or dedicate the fourth spot to a running back – something they hardly ever do. Samuels, however, was a tight end in college, so perhaps the Steelers can still find a way to keep him around. Akers is a much better athlete than the running backs currently on the roster. He’s a do-it-all player who projects as a starter at the next level.