5 under-the-radar Steelers targets to watch at the NFL Combine

Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh's brass could have their eyes on these five players at the NFL Combine.

Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) makes a
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) makes a / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Plenty of football fans knock the NFL Scouting Combine for being the 'Underwear Olympics'. Things like character, intensity, and instincts can't be measured in shorts. While this might be true, the Combine is a great time for all 32 teams to meet with the best prospects and get a great feel for their athletic traits and movement skills on a level playing field with their peers.

Last year, Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl took over drafting duties for the first time, and the Pittsburgh Steelers loaded up on NFL Combine studs with nearly every selection. This approach appears to be paying dividends already, as their 2023 class is looking very strong after just one season.

Following their success taking swings on athletic players, Khan and Weidl could take a similar approach in their second NFL Draft in 2024. This year, a total of 321 prospects were invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, and as many as seven of these players could be taking their picture in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform soon. Here are five under-the-radar prospects to watch at the NFL Combine this week.

Ladd McConkey, WR Georgia

The Pittsburgh Steelers draft wide receivers on Day 2 as much as any team in the league. While it appears they are currently set with their starting receivers, that may not last long. Diontae Johnson is entering a contract year, with his inconsistencies (and unwillingness to block at times), it doesn't feel like he is going to be part of the long-term plan and earn a third contract with the team.

That's where Ladd McConkey comes in. Mike Tomlin was grinning ear-to-ear when he met with the Georgia wide receiver during Senior Bowl week. McConkey has a very similar size profile as Johnson, and like Diontae, he has an incredibly polished route tree.

McConkey also comes from a Georgia football program that Tomlin loves. Last year, the Steelers selected two Georgia players in the first three rounds (OT Broderick Jones and TE Darnell Washington).

If McConkey was drafted by the Steelers, he would begin his career as the WR3 -- manning slot duties. By 2025, he could take over for Diontae on the outside if he leaves next year in free agency. McConkey is projected to be a second-round pick. This might not be the most pressing need on the team, but if he falls to Pittsburgh in Round 2, this would be a talent that is hard to pass up. I would expect him to impress in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine.