Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh ignores RB and OT until day three
By Andrew Falce
While fans are clamoring for an offensive heavy draft, more than likely the Steelers take at least one defender before the end of day two. Historically, the Steelers don’t invest all of their top picks onto one side of the ball, and 2021 should be no different as the Steelers will have plenty of needs on the defense. Considering the questions at cornerback, adding one early makes a lot of sense for the team. Given the deep nature of this class, getting Asante Samuels Jr. in the third would be a solid value pick.
Funnily enough, I had slotted Samuels to the Steelers with the first pick of my previous mock draft, but a worse second half of the year mixed in with a strong cornerback class overall makes his projection seem more like a third-rounder. The Steelers would do well to target him, as he has the obvious bloodlines (his father was an NFL corner) and talent to play for this defense. As well, he could even line up in the slot early on, which may be necessary given the fact that Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton are both free agents.
Even if the Steelers retain one of those free agents, Joe Haden is likely winding down his days as a Steelers player (he could even be cut this offseason). The team seemed to try and hide Justin Layne down the stretch, meaning adding a good man cover corner in Samuel could pay dividends down the road. He could start in the slot as early as his rookie year before making the more permanent move to the outside. The team will need to add a corner at some point, just don’t be surprised if it is higher than most expect.