4 small-school studs Steelers should salivate over in the NFL Draft

North Dakota offensive lineman Matt Waletzko (OL55). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
North Dakota offensive lineman Matt Waletzko (OL55). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sam Houston State defensive back Zyon McCollum (DB24). Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers are no strangers to taking small-school prospects, but these four FCS studs should get Pittsburgh’s front office really excited. 

The NFL Draft is one of the most important dates on the football calendar. The results could help reshape a team in need of talent, give a playoff contender the boost they need to get to the Super Bowl, or help a bottom-dweller rise to become a competitive team again.

In the mid-rounds of the draft, teams have struck gold on small-school players in recent years. Raiders edge defender Maxx Crosby is a perfect example of this. Crosby came from Eastern Michigan but had great production and the traits that translate to the NFL level.

Over the past several years, the Steelers have rolled the dice on small school players like Alex Highsmith (Charlotte) and Kevin Dotson (Lousiana-Lafayette), and have potentially found a few starting-caliber players. Pittsburgh should consider going small-school again in the 2022 NFL Draft, and these four prospects should have them salivating:

Steelers should pursue CB Zyon McCollum

I know the Steelers don’t have a lot of success drafting and developing cornerbacks, but that doesn’t mean that the team should simply stop trying. Eventually, they are going to get a player that works out.

If Pittsburgh decides to go a different direction in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft, Zyon McCollum could be a quality option with fantastic upside. The Sam Houston State cornerback played a tiny level of competition but recorded a whopping 13 interceptions during his college career.

McCullom also has prototype developmental traits. At 6’2 1/4” and 199 pounds, McCollum tested as a 100th percentile athlete, according to his Relative Athletic Score. McCollum has 4.33 speed and some of the best 3-cone and shuttle times we have ever seen at the position. With his ball skills and upside, he’s worth a gamble in the mid-rounds at the chance to become a great NFL player.