Steelers Mock Draft: Going all in on offense for Justin Fields and Russell Wilson

LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11)
LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) / Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers mock draft round 4: Maason Smith, DE, LSU

Maason Smith may be one of the hardest draft projections for me right now. Early in the year, he was garnering some first-round hype due to solid play early in his career and his impressive build. His past season at LSU was horrible though, as he regressed as both a pass rusher and run defender. He would have benefited from another year in school given his age.

Because of this, Smith has seen his projection fly all over the place. From a second-round option all the way to a day-three pick. While this seems like the lower end of the spectrum for Smith, he was available in my simulator, so he was the pick. Despite the lack of production, there is a lot to like about Smith.

His build is a dying breed in the college game. Defenses are focusing on smaller and stouter interior pass rushers, a prototype that doesn’t fit into the Steelers scheme. Smith is a throwback to the defensive ends of old. Tall, long, and athletic, his build is his best trait right now. As a player, he lacks refinement in most areas of his game. He will need a lot of development at the next level.

You aren’t taking Smith to be a starter or even a rotational player right now. Give him a full season with sparse playing time to learn behind Cameron Heyward. Long-term, the traits are all there for him to become a good starter, but he needs a lot of work. I’m more than willing to take that risk in the fourth round.