2019-06-18 14:41:051 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan linebacker Devin Bush intercepts pass. (Image Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Here’s a review of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 NFL Draft:
Round 1 (10th Overall): ILB Devin Bush, Michigan: This is one of my favorite picks in the entire draft. Bush is an elite athlete who can do it all. He has the speed to cover sideline-to-sideline against the run, the change of direction quicks to handle coverage duties, as well as the instincts and explosiveness to get to the quarterback as a blitzer. His athletic ability—speed, quickness, jumping—rivals a skill position player, which makes Bush suited to today’s NFL. When Ryan Shazier was injured it created a need for this type of linebacker in Pittsburgh. Look for Bush to compete for Defensive Rookie of the Year and to make multiple Pro Bowls in his career.
Round 3 (66th Overall): WR Diontae Johnson, Toledo: Staying in the Midwest, the Steelers surprised with this mid-major prospect who had an awful NFL Scouting Combine. He’s undersized at 5’11”/183 and not very fast (4.53 40-time), quick, or explosive. So, what does Pittsburgh see in him? He could be a better player than he is an athlete and with their success drafting wide outs maybe we shouldn’t question the Steelers. Interesting that Kevin Colbert used a pick acquired from Oakland to select an undersized MAC wide out as he looks to replace Antonio Brown.
Round 3 (83rd Overall): CB Justin Layne, Michigan State: Back to the Mitten State, the Steelers improved their depth at the position with a potential eye towards replacing Joe Haden, who is entering the final year of his contract. Layne brings ideal length at 6’2” with a ridiculous wingspan (80 1/8”). His speed is average, but he’s an explosive player. At MSU, Layne flashed the ability to run with receivers in man coverage and he has the instincts that should translate to Sundays.
Round 4 (122nd Overall): RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky: The Steelers went with an SEC product who hails from Big Ten country. The Ohio native is your classic big back at 224 pounds with the ability to run with power between the tackles. Not a big play threat, Snell is a physical runner who plays to contact with the ability to bowl over would-be tacklers. An old-school Steelers type runner.
Round 5 (141st Overall): TE Zach Gentry, Michigan: Back to Ann Arbor, Gentry is the second Wolverine selected by the Steelers. The former quarterback has tremendous size at 6’8” and 265 pounds. Built like a power forward, it should come as no surprise that his catch radius is among the best in this class with his 80 1/8” wingspan. He uses his size to his advantage and is capable of getting downfield despite his lack of speed. Needs to get stronger and is still a bit raw.
Round 6 (175th Overall): OLB Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois: The MAC product is very small for an edge defender at 6’0” and 233 pounds with one of the shortest arms and smallest hands for the position. He does run very well and posted a ridiculously elite three-cone time (6.75) that any running back would be proud of. Smith was a top-notch pass rusher in college, but looks more like a special teams contributor at the next level.
Round 6 (192nd Overall): DT Isaiah Buggs, Alabama: In what has been an extremely regional draft, the Steelers finally get out of their comfort zone with this SEC product. Unathletic, even for an interior lineman, Buggs has very good bulk at 306 pounds. He’s a five-technique D-end in Pittsburgh’s three-four scheme who will look to provide depth.
Round 6 (207th Overall): ILB Ulysees Gilbert III, Akron: The third player drafted out of the MAC by the Steelers, Gilbert is viewed by many as a reach (as were Johnson and Smith), it will be interesting to see if the conference’s talent was undervalued by the scouting community. A productive linebacker in college, Gilbert lacks size, but might have the athleticism to play on passing downs. Most likely to contribute on special teams.
Round 7 (219th Overall): OG Derwin Gray, Maryland: The former Terp is the fourth B1G player drafted by the Steelers and I like his upside for a seventh-round pick. He’s strong, with very good size (6’5”/320) and pretty good mobility. The college tackle projects as a guard in the NFL.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: email@example.com.
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