Steelers news: J.C. Hassenauer signs with Giants, visit with top CB prospect, and more

Steelers, J.C. Hassenauer
Steelers, J.C. Hassenauer / Benjamin Solomon/GettyImages

It was an eventful Thursday for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With three weeks until the NFL Draft, Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, and Andy Weidl are putting their finishing touches on pre-draft visits as they scramble around to create their draft board.

Recently, Pittsburgh had one of their free agents snatched up by an NFC team while four players were in Pittsburgh for pre-draft visits. Here's the latest Steelers news.

Steelers news:

On March 6th, it was reported that Steelers free agent center, J.C. Hassenauer is inking a deal with the New York Giants, reporter Darren Wolfson confirms. Hassenauer is a former undrafted free agent who has stuck around on the Steelers roster since the beginning of the 2020 season. Over the past three years, the backup center earned a helmet in 45 games -- making 7 starts for Pittsburgh.

With Hassenauer gone, there's even more reason to believe that the Steelers could be going after a center on day two of the NFL Draft. Pittsburgh has expressed interest in players like Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz, TCU's Steve Avila, and North Dakota State's Cody Mauch.

More Steelers news:

In other Steelers news, Pittsburgh recently had four players at their facility for pre-draft visits. These included the aforementioned Steve Avila, CB Darius Rush, DL Keion White, and CB Christian Gonzalez, ESPN's Brooke Pryor confirms.

Avila and White are considered early day two prospects, while Rush is slated to go late day two or early day three. The visit with Christian Gonzalez is particularly interesting as the Oregon product is considered by many to be the best cornerback prospect in the NFL Draft as well as a top-10 overall player this year. If the Steelers are serious about acquiring him, it would likely require some sort of trade-up in round one.

NFL news:

Recently, NFL analyst Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports conducted a Steelers seven-round mock draft. He had Pittsburgh taking a very interesting route -- opting for Pitt DT Calijah Kancey with the 17th overall pick before nabbing Alabama DB Brian Branch at pick 32. DeArdo then has Pittsburgh going with OT Matthew Bergeron and WR Rashee Rice to round out the second day of the draft before finishing with an edge defender, another offensive tackle, and a running back.

Based on their pre-draft visits and stops on Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan's pro day scouting trail, it seems unlikely that the Steelers could be targeting most of these players, but crazier things have happened. However, it does seem very possible that defensive line, defensive back, and offensive tackle could all be addressed in some order with Pittsburgh's first three picks.

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