There were some surprising twists and turns in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here are five players the Steelers must consider if they slip to pick 49.
If the Steelers were hoping for their pick of the crop at wide receiver with the 49th pick in the draft, then things didn’t go so well for them in round one. Six receivers, including Pittsburgh hopefuls Jalen Reagor and Brandon Aiyuk, went off the board in the first 25 picks of the draft. Though this was somewhat discouraging, the talent left on the board certainly is not.
Despite the run on Pittsburgh positions of need that included both wide receivers and offensive linemen, there are numerous players many of us did not expect to be here at this point. Though they may not necessarily fill a big position of need, here are five players the Steelers must consider if they happen to slip to the middle of the second round:
EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
Here is a guy I wouldn’t have been surprised to see gone in the teens yesterday. Yetur Gross-Matos is a long, talented, and productive football player who turned heads at Penn State. Though he may not last long into the second round, his tools and upside would be seemingly impossible to pass on if he were to continue to slip through the cracks.
FS Grant Delpit
I know Grant Delpit and Minkah Fitzpatrick do many of the same things, but he’s too good of a football player to neglect him altogether. Delpit can be a difference-maker on the back end, and the Steelers covet players who can take the ball away. Though Terrell Edmunds still has two years left on his rookie deal, perhaps they could find a way to make all three of them work in the secondary (possibly moving Edmunds to more of a hybrid dime backer role). Either way, it’s something they should consider.
DE A.J. Epenesa
I know A.J. Epenesa was an edge defender at Iowa, and think he could still be solid there in the NFL, but he offers some very intriguing upside as a 5-technique for the Steelers who could kick inside to 3-tech on passing down. Epenesa has tons of length and strength to his game. He can make the transition just like Cam Heyward did coming out of Ohio State in 2011. This would be a treat.
CB Trevon Diggs
There are some questions surrounding Trevon Diggs’ speed, but he presents tremendous value in the middle of the second round. Diggs is a player who has a chance to be a game-changer at the next level. I know cornerback isn’t on the Steelers radar this high, but perhaps they make an exception for a talented football player.
CB Jaylon Johnson
This is a guy I like more than most. Jaylon Johnson had really good tape at Utah and shut down opposing wide receivers at the age of 20 this past season. There are some concerns about his shoulder that has required multiple surgeries, but his blend of size, athletic traits, and football IQ make him a high-floor player in the NFL – assuming he stays relatively healthy.
It’s certainly possible that all five of these players could be off the board before the Steelers make their selection in round two. Though they don’t necessarily fill positions on need, these are players they should definitely consider drafting at pick 49.