There are very few NFL head coaches (if any) who are as involved in the pre-draft process as Mike Tomlin. The long-time Pittsburgh Steelers head coach hits up the scouting trail annually with the general manager (now Omar Khan) and the two often tip their hat to their interests in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Regardless of how you feel about Tomlin being so involved in scouting players, there's no question that the longevity of his tenure as well as his respected reputation has granted him the ability to weigh in heavily on whom Pittsburgh should select in the draft.
The first stop was Mobile, Alabama for Senior Bowl Week. Tomlin could be seen spending time with several notable positional groups, and there are some players the head coach already seems infatuated with. In my latest Steelers mock draft, Coach Tomlin's influence plays a big role in who Pittsburgh selects this April, and a few Senior Bowl standouts are how high on his radar.
Steelers mock draft round 1: Quinyon Mitchell, CB Toledo
There was one cornerback at the Senior Bowl who was clearly a cut above the rest, and his name is Quinyon Mitchell. From the very first practice, Mitchell was dropping jaws as he showcased an innate ability to stay in the hip pocket of wide receivers in WR vs. DB drills (that always favor the receivers, mind you).
Not only was his coverage spectacular, but Mitchell also displayed the ability to turn on the jets when the ball was in the air. One of his best plays in mobile was an interception deep in the middle of the endzone where he highpointed the ball to steal it from the wide receiver.
This selection would be out of the norm for the Steelers. Pittsburgh typically tends to avoid non-Power 5 players in the first round, and Mitchell is from the MAC. However, it's possible that there is already a min-run on cornerbacks by the time the 20th pick rolls around, and the Steelers could fear waiting until the second round to address arguably the biggest hole on their roster.
Adding Quinyon Mitchell to the mix would give the Steelers an outstanding option to pair with Joey Porter Jr. (and one with spectacular ball skills to boot). Tomlin's eyes were glowing while watching Mitchell tear it up during Senior Bowl week, and if he's still available at pick 20, this suddenly feels like a popular selection.
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