Full Pittsburgh Steelers 7-Round NFL Mock Draft
With the Steelers looking likely to run it back with Ben Roethlisberger for one more tilt at a Super Bowl, we take a look at who they might pick in a full Pittsburgh Steelers 7-round NFL mock draft.
By Mark Ross
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After an electrifying start to the 2020 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers faltered towards the season. An 11-0 start had the Steelers dreaming of another trip to the Super Bowl. It wasn’t to be as injuries and a sputtering offense led them to a 1-4 finish in December.
Pittsburgh’s cap issues are well known, and they currently find themselves over the total cap amount with a host of free agents to deal with as well. One main issue is the contract that future hall of fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to earn in the 2021 season. Much has been made about what number seven will do but with $41 million due to be going his way maybe the Steelers need to decide for him. But given how much he has achieved for the Steelers and the fact that he knows the offense better than anyone I would presume that he will be there for at least one more year.
If Pittsburgh elects to roll with Roethlisberger for one more year they need to focus on the offensive line and the running game. With Kevin Dotson excelling in his rookie year, they have one piece of a new offensive line ready to go. Maurkice Pouncey has retired and Big Ben will need a new center if he has any hopes of another Lombardi trophy.
That being said let’s draft and see who the Steelers end up with in 2021.
*Note – this mock draft includes projected compensatory picks yet to be awarded.
Round One, pick 24: Christian Darrisaw, Offensive Tackle - Virginia Tech
The offensive line woes in Pittsburgh are well known. Despite being able to protect Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers had no run game of note. Alejandro Villanueva is nearing the end of his career as a left tackle and the time has come to replace him. First up is the most important position on the offensive line. Christian Darrisaw was the starting left tackle for Virginia Tech since he was a true freshman and has improved every year.
Darrisaw’s size, length, and mobility make him a valuable asset in both the passing game and the run game. The biggest improvement needed for Pittsburgh is the run game and a new left tackle who can kick out and block the outside zone will be a huge asset. Darrisaw will be a starting left tackle in the league and the Steelers should make him their first pick in 2021.
Round Two, pick 55: Landon Dickerson, Center - Alabama
As previously mentioned Maurkice Pouncey has retired from the NFL and the Steelers require a center. Who better to bring in the National Champion Landon Dickerson? Dickerson is at his best when he is in a controlled environment and doesn’t need to extend beyond his role. His hand strength and acceleration out of his stance allow him to latch on quickly to the opposition and not lose them. His ability to steer defenders out of the way and into the position he desires will be a huge benefit in the run game.
The main concern with Dickerson is the list of injures he has sustained. He has torn his ACL, had ankle surgery twice, and knee ligament damage. If the Steelers can keep Dickerson healthy, they could have one of the best offensive lines in the league.
**TRADE ALERT** Pittsburgh sends the 88th and 225th picks to the Cleveland Browns for the 90th and 92nd picks.
With the Cleveland Browns desperate to move up in the draft they make a deal with the Steelers who bolster their draft capital with later picks.
**TRADE ALERT** Pittsburgh sends the 90th pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 95th and 137th picks.
Another quick trade and the Steelers have a further draft pick to bolster their team for the 2021 season.
Round Three, pick 92: Javonte Williams, Running Back - North Carolina
(Pick acquired from CLE)
With the 92nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Steelers select their starting running back for the next four years at least. Since Javonte Williams started for the Tar Heels in 2018, he has continually improved and had more chances at running the ball. In 2018 he finished his first year with just 126 snaps. That number continued to grow and by 2020 he racked up 425 snaps for the year. Finishing with 19 touchdowns and 1,140 yards was a great season to have in preparation for the NFL draft.
Williams is a big and powerful runner who can break contact and build up the yards after contact. After a year of struggling with the run game, he could be the answer that Pittsburgh need. With James Conner hitting free agency and more than likely moving on to a new team (given Pittsburgh’s cap struggles), Javonte Williams is that answer for the Steelers. Added to his powerful running he is also very capable of blocking in pass protection. Another huge trait for a team playing with a quarterback who is nearing 40.
When he isn’t blocking in the passing game he can receive as well. In his final year at North Carolina, he had 25 receptions for 305 yards, adding another three touchdowns to his total. A quarterback loves weapons and another out of the backfield could be vital for Big Ben. With playmakers all around him on the Pittsburgh offense, he will make the jump to the NFL quickly.
Round Three, pick 95: Rashad Weaver, Edge - Pittsburgh
(Compensatory pick acquired from KC via CLE)
With the 95th pick in the draft, the Steelers stay local and select Rashad Weaver from Pittsburgh. Despite missing the entire 2019 season with a knee injury Weaver returned in 2020 and lit up the stat sheet. Finishing the year with 14 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks in nine games. His power and length make him a nightmare for offensive linemen. With Bud Dupree heading for free agency, Weaver can provide a suitable replacement for Alex Highsmith when playing in rotation.
Round Four, pick 129: Trey Smith, Guard - Tennessee
With the 129th pick in the draft, the Steelers head back to their offensive line needs and select Trey Smith, and interior offensive lineman from Tennessee. Smith brings power and the ability to dominate from the guard position. The downside is his lack of mobility. Smith is a powerful person mover and will fit into a gap/power run scheme nicely. Another cog in the engine of a new dominant Pittsburgh run game.
Round Four, pick 137: Divine Deablo, Safety - Virginia Tech
(Pick acquired from KC)
After transitioning from wide receiver Divine Deablo started three seasons at the safety position. Despite having plenty of experience Deablo still has to refine his skills if he wants to be a starter in the NFL. With his safety experience and the ability to learn from one of the better defensive-minded head coaches in the league, Deablo could grow into a rotational player for the Steelers.
Round Four, (compensatory) pick 142 - Amari Rodgers, Wide Receiver - Clemson
In 2020 Amari Rodgers racked up 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in his final year with Clemson. Pittsburgh is arguably the best team in the league at finding and developing wide receivers. Rodgers could be the next star in the black and gold. After watching JuJu Smith-Schuster excel in the slot in 2019 the Steelers may be in the market for a replacement and Rodgers is the very man. Being built like a running back will make him a nightmare to cover when lined up with defenders and his decisiveness after the catch provides big playability. Another weapon for Ben Roethlisberger in his final year in the Steel City.
Round Six, pick 219: Sam Ehlinger, Quarterback - Texas
Since it is more than likely Ben Roethlisberger’s last season as a Steeler the hunt for a replacement needs to begin somewhere and why not with the 217th pick in the 2021 draft. When the Steelers selected Roethlisberger they got a quarterback with a strong arm and who could extend plays and make plays happen with his legs. It hasn’t been the case in recent years for Big Ben, but Sam Ehlinger could take Pittsburgh back to the years of a dual-threat quarterback.
With Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield all in the AFC North the dual-threat quarterback is the future for football in that division and Pittsburgh needs to keep up. If Ehlinger can improve his accuracy and arm strength and maintain the dual-threat ability he could challenge for a starting position in Pittsburgh.
Round Seven, pick 225: Ta’Quan Graham, Interior Defensive Line – Texas
(Pick acquired from JAX)
Ta’Quan Graham will bring a huge amount of experience if drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has 24 starts in 48 games as a defensive tackle in Texas. He has experience at both the defensive end and coming off the edge. A versatile defender who has plenty of experience can be used in a rotation for the Steelers.
Round Seven, pick 242: Darren Hall, Cornerback - San Diego State
With their last pick in the 2021 draft, the Steelers add further help to their secondary with Darren Hall. After having a strong Senior Bowl, Hall has seen his draft stock rise as he emerged as one of the better zone coverage defenders. If the Steelers can get him with the 242nd pick he would be a steal in the draft.
See our complete Big Board of prospects here and decide for yourself who your team should pick.
All this and more in our 2021 NFL Draft Guide where you can find more mock drafts, scouting reports and prospect positional rankings within the most comprehensive UK based 2021 NFL Draft site.