Last year saw two TEs go before pick 49, with both of them going in the first and both of them being from Iowa. T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant both flashed some promise in their rookie years and look like building blocks for their teams. While he doesn’t count, Irv Smith Jr. went at pick 50 and put together a solid year as well.
2018 also saw two TEs go before pick 49, with Hayden Hurst and Mike Gesicki both being selected. Important to note, but again not counting is the numbers, is Dallas Goedert who went at pick 49. All three have shown a lot of promise, even if Hurst just got traded to the Falcons. Frankly, all three of these guys present better long-term potential than anyone the Steelers currently have.
2017 is going to skew the numbers, as five TE’s were selected before pick 49. O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, and David Njoku all heard their names in the 1st round while Gerald Everett and Adam Shaheen were taken in the 2nd. Outside of Shaheen, all of these options have shown flashes as long term options for their team.
Crunching the numbers, the average number of TEs taken before pick 49 is three. This means that a player like Brycen Hopkins would be the realistic target at 49, while a best-case scenario says Hunter Bryant will be available and the worst-case says Harrison Bryant will be there. While this class isn’t great, teams are always looking to add that mismatch target at TE, so don’t be surprised to see some of these names go earlier than expected.
Out of both the WR and TE options, the WR options do seem much more appealing. It comes down to depth, and the depth of the WR class is far superior to the TE depth. Based on this, if the Steelers do target a pass catcher at 49, more than likely that target would be a WR.
There should be a wide variety of pass-catching options for the Steelers at pick 49. Even if it isn’t the biggest need, the value that falls may be too hard to pass for the Steelers. When adding a pass-catcher to the 2nd round of your mock drafts, be aware of who will likely be available before choosing a prospect.