Steelers mock draft: Trade-back allows all needs to be met

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 /
7 of 7
Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes (55)Cfb Purdue Vs Rutgers /

Seventh Round

While a receiver isn’t as pressing need this year, the depth of the class favors the Steelers picking one later on. While that opens the door for a wide variety of options and styles to be targeted, getting a pure slot receiver would be beneficial for the team long term. While J.J. Smith-Schuster is back for another year, he will likely be hoping to cash in next year. Adding a prospect like Shi Smith could give the team a backup plan.

Smith is your typical undersized slot option, but he has good speed and quickness as well as runs sharp routes which have aided his success. He lacks the physicality to win contested cases, but given he only stands 5’9 this isn’t that surprising. He is a slot-only option as a pro, but he could turn into a contributor down the road if given the opportunity. Smith would be a low-risk option that could start as early as next year depending on how the roster ends up turning out.

Finishing off the draft, the Steelers look for a direct replacement for the cut Vince Williams. While a rookie this late wouldn’t start, he could develop into a role payer down the road. Derrick Barnes from Purdue could eventually offer a lot of the same things that Williams offered in his prime. The issue is his lack of consistent production and lack of a true position.

Barnes is a tweener as a linebacker and pass rusher. That said, given his athletic profile, the Steelers could comfortably move him inside to linebacker full time and utilize him as a two-down run stuffer. He can plug gaps and blitz up the middle in order to add another element to this defense. It may take him a few seasons to earn playing time, but he should be a good special teams’ player in the meantime. Barnes is an intriguing late-round option that the team should be paying attention to.

Must Read. Steelers scouting profile: Asante Samuel Jr. is a pass at 24. light

While trading back is far from ideal, the Steelers have enough holes to fill that doing so would make sense. This draft fills a lot of the current team needs on both sides of the ball. The offense should see a better run game as a result while the defense looks to cover the losses it suffered this offseason. Overall, a haul like this would go a long way in keeping this team competitive this season.