Steelers draft: Oklahoma center Creed Humphry will be in play at pick 24

Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Creed Humphrey (56). Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Creed Humphrey (56). Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers will be looking to improve their offense this April. Here’s why Oklahoma center, Creed Humphrey could now be high on Pittsburgh’s radar. 

The 2021 Senior Bowl week is now complete and there are plenty of notes to come away with. After watching every offensive line snap twice from the past week of practices, it was evident which players stood above the rest, and this is shaping up to be a quality group of offensive linemen.

Small-school players like North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz and Wisconsin-Whitewater star Quinn Meinerz (the center with the belly shirt) stole the show this week, and they both brought home rewards for their impressive efforts during practice. However, quite arguably the best player at the entire Senior Bowl was Oklahoma center, Creed Humphrey.

Humphrey is a name I’ve casually thrown around towards the Steelers early in the draft process, but I really felt like he was going to be a guy that would end up falling between their first and second-round pick. Now, I thoroughly believe he’s a guy that should be in play for Pittsburgh with the 24th overall pick.

Creed Humphrey at pick 24 makes sense for Steelers

It doesn’t get much less flashy than taking a center in the first round. Many Steelers fans have an interest in Alabama stars like OT Alex Leatherwood and RB Najee Harris, but they each come with their own concerns. Leatherwood had a solid week of practice after a terrible first day, but his inconsistent feet and sluggish get-off are a bit concerning to me. Meanwhile, though Harris projects as a do-it-all back at the next level, I’d have an extremely difficult time drafting a 23-year-old running back in the first round who severely lacks top-end speed.

Though Humphrey is certainly less talked about at this point among Steelers circles than Leatherwood or Harris, he’s the safest (and perhaps most necessary) player of the three.

The Steelers clearly had a gaping hole at center over the past two seasons. Disregard the fact that Maurkice Pouncey was unjustifiably voted to Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020. He has been among the worst centers in the league in each of the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus, and it showed on film.

Creed Humphrey not only projects as one of the safest players in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he would instantly provide an upgrade at the center position – one where Pittsburgh cannot justify bringing Pouncey back at his current salary (if he elects to return). In both his college tape and the Senior Bowl practices, Humphrey shows a terrific blend of traits. He is quick off the ball with excellent feet and technique to seal off rushers. While he’s not the most powerful offensive lineman, his ability to keep defenders in front of him and anchor in pass sets is going to make him a very valuable asset at the next level.

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There are still nearly three months until the 2021 NFL Draft and Pittsburgh will no doubt be doing their homework on hundreds of players. Though there are many routes the Steelers could take in round one, I’m becoming more and more convinced that Creed Humphrey will be one of the best players available to Pittsburgh in the first round.