Updated: List Of Draft Prospects Who Fit Steelers’ Draft Criteria

Jordan Jenkins

Apologize for the very uncreative title. Couldn’t think of anything better. I have mentioned a lot of this before but wanted to create a new, dedicated post to all the players who fit my criteria in the several draft studies over the past couple weeks. The catalyst behind this is there are a few players overlooked in my lists that I want to include here and clear things up once and for all.

So we’re going to walk through this by position and then by a rough estimate of draft status with some final thoughts to round things out. Sound good?

Wide Recievers

Trevor Davis
Josh Doctson
Malcolm Mitchell
Marquez North

Offensive Tackle

Caleb Benenoch
Le’Raven Clark
Jack Conklin
Tyler Johnstone
Alex Lewis
Brandon Shell
Jason Spriggs
Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Stephen Nembot
John Theus

Offensive Guard/Center

Vadal Alexander
Germain Ifedi
Connor McGovern
Matt Skura
Landon Turner

Defensive Line

Joel Heath
Chris Jones
Ufomba Kamalu
Robert Nkemdiche

Outside Linebacker/EDGE

Kyler Fackrell
Leonard Floyd
Jordan Jenkins
Charles Tapper
Stephen Weatherly

Inside Linebacker

Blake Martinez
Nick Vigil

Cornerback

Briean Boddy-Calhoun
James Bradberry
Maurice Canady
Sean Davis
DeAndre Elliott
Eric Murray
Jalem Ramsey
LeShaun Sims

The new, or more accurately, previously overlooked names on this list are: Charles Tapper and Jordan Jenkins.

Now let’s rack him up in a rough draft projection. We are keeping it broad, so we don’t quibble over whether someone is going in round two or round three.

Day One

Josh Doctson/WR
Jason Spriggs/OT
Jalen Ramsey/CB
Leonard Floyd/OLB

Day Two 

Le’Raven Clark/OT
Jack Conklin/OT
Germain Ifedi/OG
Connor McGovern/OG
Landon Turner/OG
Chris Jones/DL
Robert Nkemdiche/DL
Jordan Jenkins/OLB
Charles Tapper/OLB
Sean Davis/CB

Rounds Four-Five

Malcolm Mitchell/WR
Kyler Fackrell/OLB
Nick Vigil/ILB
Maurice Canady/CB
James Bradberry/CB
Eric Murray/CB
John Theus/OT
Vadal Alexander/OG

Rounds Six-Seven

Trevor Davis/WR
Marquez North/WR
Caleb Benenoch/OT
Tyler Johnstone/OT
Alex Lewis/OT
Brandon Shell/OT
Matt Skura/OG
Joel Heath/DE
Ufomba Kamalu/DE
Stephen Weatherly/OLB
Blake Martinez/ILB
LeShaun Sims/CB
Briean Boddy-Calhoun/CB
DeAndre Elliott/CB

UDFA

Halapoulivaati Vaitai/OT
Stephen Nembot/OT

Of the 38 players listed, here are the ones the Steelers have expressed known interest in.

Brandon Shell/OT
Jason Spriggs/OT
DeAndre Elliott/CB

Let’s look at the players at positions we’ve studied the Steelers have brought in for visits and see how they stack up with the criteria.

CB Jonathan Jones: Misses arm length category. Weighed in with 30 1/4. Criteria is 31.

CB Ryan Smith: Misses arm length category. Measured in at 30 1/2. Criteria is 31.

CB Tavon Young: Misses weight and arm length categories. Weighed in at 183 and 30 5/8. Criteria is 185 and 31.

CB D.J. White: Misses vertical, broad, and short shuttle categories. Jumped 34 inches, 9’10” and 4.33. Criteria is 35, 10’0″, and 4.25.

OT Jerald Hawkins: Misses ten split, three cone, and vertical. Ran 1.88, 8.19, and 23.5. Criteria is 1.85, 7.8, and 27.

The safeties weren’t looked at in the study and will not be evaluated. Jatavis Brown was not invited to the Combine.

To review the above. Hawkins misses the criteria pretty badly. But the corners all come very close. Jones, Smith, and Young only miss because of minor physical shortcomings. White misses a couple more but comes close in vertical and broad. It makes me feel pretty confident in knowing what corners the team will target. More than any other position.

Parting thought on corner. Knowing they drafted Senquez Golson and Doran Grant, each who have had sub 31 inch arms, the Steelers could be more open to taking our stubby secondary pals.

And to finish things out, a couple of reasons and examples of why some players didn’t make the cut.

WR Leonte Carroo: 35.5 inch vertical and a DNP in agility drills. Vertical cutoff is 36.

WR Charone Peake: 35.5 inch vertical and 4.46 short shuttle. Vertical cutoff is 36, short shuttle is 4.3.

WR Chris Moore: 4.53 40. Cut off is 4.50.

OLB Shilique Calhoun: 4.82 40. Cut off is 4.8.

OLB Yannick Ngakoue: 4.50 short shuttle, 7.35 three cone. Cutoff is 4.35 and 7.00.

ILB Nick Kwiatkoski: 19 bench reps. Cutoff is 20.

OT Taylor Decker: 22 bench reps. Cutoff is 25.

OG Josh Garnett: 9 7/8 inch hands. Cutoff is 10.

DT Andrew Billings: Measured in at 6’0/1. Cutoff is 6’3.

If there is anyone still left on this list, please let me know. And that I am eternally sorry. Lots of names to sift through.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Brian Tollini

    Someone I really didn’t pay attention to until last night that is also on this list is Jordan Jenkins. Might have to watch some Georgia games later while I’m “working”.

  • Brian Miller

    Great list Alex, thanks for putting in the time for this. It will definitely help with the previous draft mock game that Dave does every year!!

  • Really useful to have this post, Alex. Thank you.

    Sort of makes me wonder if Doctson will be the pick in the first, as it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Steelers went WR in the first couple of rounds.

    What I’m interested in seeing now is how accurate these criteria are given the actual picks.

  • PittsburghSports

    Glad you mentioned Doctson, because I’d given that a thought too. I checked TCU’s Pro Day info the other day, and apparently the Steelers were 1 of 2 teams not to attend it lol. I know someone will probably say smoke and mirrors lol, but we still have 20 or so invites, so who knows.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I don’t watch much Sat. football, but I do see UGA played most of the SEC schedule.

    Leonard Floyd is a premier athlete at UGA…I don’t think he benched anywhere so that would concern me taking him on day one. Jenkins is not the athlete that Floyd is, and as a result won’t go as a high, but imo he’s a better football player.

    I don’t mean to scare you off him, but he’s a slightly faster, bigger and stronger version Jarvis Jones imo.

  • Yes, we’ll see. I’m less concerned about the top-tier guys who aren’t brought in. There’s enough tape on them, and I’m sure the Steelers know more than enough about them already.

    But look, it’s not just because of the Bryant situation. Wheaton may also be gone — and given what WRs made in free agency this off-season, I suspect he will be. So why not go elite WR? I’ve been thinking more and more about Boyd in the second, but he might not be around. I know the Steelers have been really good over the years at finding mid- and even late-round gems, but they would go WR and then pretty much all D the rest of the way, especially if Billings is gone and no one else, like a top-flight edge rusher, falls into their laps.

  • PittsburghSports

    Well, I think the Steelers interest will point us in the right direction. Boyd being brought in doesn’t tell us much, since he’s local. I know Haley reportedly fell in love with Baylor WR Corey Coleman, and we sat down with the other Baylor WR Jay Lee, who’s a late rd pick, but we haven’t seen the Steelers show much interest otherwise, so far. I did hear a rumor we were watching Braxton Miller at Ohio St’s Pro Day, but we had a huge contingent there, so we probably watched everybody lol. You look at last year, and we brought in Perriman, Strong and Coates, so there was interest.

  • CP72

    Boy I think wide receiver would be a real shock if it happened in the first three rounds.

    Wheaton is in the last year of his contract, but there’s chance he could be back. If they would decide against resigning him it’s likely because they are happy with Sammie Coates development.

    A guy I like is the other guy from TCU Listenbee. Has some Mike Wallace traits. Maybe get him in the 4th. He also has some return abilities which is a big plus for me. Nice developmental type.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    People need to start realizing what a great prospect Sean Davis is (specifically for the Steelers system).

    6’1″, 200 pounds, runs a 4.46 forty, with a 1.56 split, 38″ vertical, 10’6″ broad, benches 22 reps, 6.64 3-cone.

    Those are ELITE numbers (just a hair below Jalen Ramsey) (stronger version of Eli Apple).

    When you watch the film on Davis, you see two things. He has great click and close when the play is in front of him. He is an excellent tackler (very physical, very strong).

    Maryland played Davis at both FS at CB. He doesn’t have as much experience at CB so his tape is not quite as smooth there, but he will improve with more reps.

    If you play him in a sub package (which we do 70% of the time) he provides amazing versatility. Match him up on a TE or big WR in press man at the LOS, and he has the speed to run with either of them. Plus he can tackle like a strong safety.

    If you play him at FS, remember, he was a former baseball centerfielder so he has a good eye for a ball in the air, and good hand/eye coordination. Plus he has the height and vertical and physicality to compete for jump balls, but also has exceptional movement/cover skills for a FS.

    He is one of those players who projects as a better NFL player than a college player because his body and skill set match the NFL game so well.

    I personally would take him in the 2nd round. But he would be a steal in the 3rd round.

  • PittsburghSports

    My biggest issue with this study is that sometimes it concentrates too hard on the numbers, and ignores the obvious. That 7.0 sec 3-cone criteria you used for the OLBs is not accurate, considering Dupree, Chickillo, JJ, and Woodley did not make that time, and that’s 50% of the OLBs the Steelers drafted. I understand you’re only going by the numbers, and 3 out of 4 of those players did’t run the 3-cone at the combine, but in this instance that strategy is flawed and does not tell the truth. That 3-cone time eliminates Shaq Lawson and Noah Spence who otherwise check all the boxes. The only reason Charles Tapper now makes the study, is because he didn’t participate in the 3-cone drill.

  • CP72

    This is a good point. That three cone time is tough.

  • CP72

    I like Davis. I think they may be looking for more box type of safties. Guys they’ve shown interest in are (Cash, Neal, Joseph) all big hitters more so than coverage types. Davis is physical as well, but the guys mentioned above are real thumpers.

    I could see Davis as a big corner. As you mentioned his numbers are outstanding.

  • falconsaftey43

    It’s a valid point, but you have to draw the line somewhere for what data you are going to use. Any study that doesn’t use whatever numbers the Steelers have on all of these guys is flawed.

  • PittsburghSports

    My main point with that 3-cone time though is that the line was drawn incorrectly. Chickillo’s combine numbers are available for the study but weren’t used, I guess because he was a 5-tech in college. He ran a 7.17 3-cone, so if the criteria was widened to just that number you could include Shaq Lawson and his 7.16.

    I know what you mean though. You could widen the study to enormous lengths, and I’m sure Alex spent a lot of time as it is. You could use Pro Day numbers to fill in the gaps, or even look into players that we’ve shown interest in by bringing them in for visits or out to dinner. At that point you’d problem need a program to run the numbers lol. I looked into the OLB study in depth, because Lawson and Spence are in my top 5 fav players and the Steelers have shown interest in both. Overall only 3 players cross check with our interest and only 1 projected in the top 5 rounds.

  • Lost Loves

    Watch Tyrone Holmes and I guarantee he is better in Spence in every category.

  • Lost Loves

    How close are WRs Cody Core and Ricardo Louis? They are both around the same size as Dawson but they are faster.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yeah you have to use the list as a guide, but doesn’t mean a player is off their board because they don’t meet a criteria (not sure Jarvis Jones would hit anything outside height/weight). Many of the guys he used to create the criteria didn’t hit every mark, just helps give an idea where a prospect may be lacking from a measurable standpoint and to highlight some guys that have really good measurable.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yes, as with any study, there are some problems. Let me try to placate you the best I can.

    The OLBs were the last group in my study I looked at. I needed to be consistent with the way I created the criteria with the other positions. Because Pro Day time numbers were thrown out of the window for the other ones, it would be very inconsistent (and an indication of confirmation bias) had I included the agility times for the other players.

    Here is the other element in play. Though teams, for reasons that don’t make sense to me, have their own times at the Combine, the Pro Day doesn’t really have any official times. Every team is going off their own hand times. So the number we see on NFL Draft Scout or wherever? Whose time is that? The schools? The best time? The worst one? Is it the Steelers time (probably not)?

    That’s the difficulty of the Pro Day times. We have no reliable way or knowing where that information is coming from, and we know times could vary wildly from team to team. I am attempting to use the most reliable figures I have access to. And I don’t consider these Pro Day time events to be reliable for the variety of reasons I mentioned above.

  • Alex Kozora

    Louis had a chance to make it had he participated in the agility drills. Not sure about Core.

  • falconsaftey43

    Man that’s an out of the blue name. Montana, that’s gonna be hard to find tape outside of some highlights, gonna have to check him out. How in the heck did you even hear of this guy?

  • Alex Kozora

    Browns were high on him in Mobile. I bet he goes to them.

  • PittsburghSports

    I heard he had a good Pro Day, but I’ve never seen anything but his highlight tape, which I hate watching, because they only show the end of the sack or tackle, which tells you absolutely nothing lol. Is there any other tape of hi available? Here’s what Gil Brandt said about his Pro Day.

    “Defensive end Tyrone Holmes — 6-foot-2 1/4, 253 pounds — ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds on both attempts. He had a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-5 broad jump. He did the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.28 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.1 seconds. He had 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Holmes led all of FCS in sacks with 18 in 2015…”

  • Lost Loves

    I look for guy around 6’2 that weigh between 240 to 280 and play DE or LB. Then I look at whatever footage I can find. I’m always late on small guys like Elandon Roberts, Jatavious Brown, and James Burgess Jr unless they catch my eye watching other players.
    You can watch him vs Carson Wentz by googling and checking under videos. I also try to find games where they faced power 5 teams.

  • PittsburghSports

    Yeah I don’t know where NFL Draft Scout’s times come from, but interesting that you mention it, because that’s always my go-to for info outside the combine, and they always have something to look at, so that in itself is somewhat standardized in a system with so much ambiguity.

  • Lost Loves

    Youtube has Wentz vs Montana for starters. Also use HUDL and they focus on smaller school guys.

  • Alex Kozora

    It is certainly mine as well but again, I do not know where that information really comes from. And using it makes me nervous.

  • John

    Extremely interesting and well done Alex. The analysis highlights certain enlightening elements. It also leads to some oddities — like I have no idea why 1/8 of an inch in hand size for a guard would matter. Anyway, while the results will always be all over the map, I think it sheds some light on various new ways to think about things which is always good. Thanks for the effort.

  • Alex Kozora

    Glad you liked it John. The 1/8 may not really matter when push comes to shove, but the point of criteria is to follow the criteria. If we keep making small exceptions for guys who just miss, then we wouldn’t have any criteria in the first place. So need to draw the line somewhere.

  • John

    From the results, it would possibly be Doctson or Spriggs in Round One. Interesting.

  • PittsburghSports

    Yeah I just found that game, but that’s it. How’d he do in it?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is danger in this list. These stats they look for have been ignored over and over in drafts past. They are trends not needs for players to meet. Don’t overlook the tape and overemphasize measurable slide this b

  • Lost Loves

    He must be doubled! He can’t be single blocked. Was doubled for most of the game. Had QB pressures and had a sack forced fumble in the 1st quarter alone. He has nice technique and power.

  • Alex Kozora

    Of course Kenneth. No one is overlooking anything. It’s why we’ve now done 91 scouting reports. It’s why I went to the Senior Bowl. This is another piece of the puzzle but it does have useful info, just as the tape we watch does.

  • SteelersDepot

    Some people will question a shade of black, I guess.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Alex, I know you guys aren’t overlooking the tape. I see fans saying, well then I guess we’re not taking player XYZ because he doesn’t match the numbers. They shouldn’t be fooled.

  • LucasY59

    was going to make a similar comment about the 1/8″ (it truely is a non-factor) but also understand Alex’s comment about making exceptions to the list = list becomes less useful

    The team deciding the pick can make the exception and in the case of Garnett I am sure they wont use the 1/8 against him, if he isnt picked it is more about who else is available at the pick than it is about hand size

  • LucasY59

    FCS DPOY ahead of Spence

  • LucasY59

    going off (the schools posted) pro day times (since he didnt get a combine invite) he had some of the best #s of any OLB prospect this yr

    and the Stats that earned him FCS DPOY show alot as well (even if its against FCS level competition) other guys that were in consideration for the DPOY vote have been mentioned a lot on this sight (including Spence)

    Glad I’m not the only one who will bring up Holmes

  • Alex Kozora

    Right. Again, we have to set criteria, and when you set criteria, you can’t keep moving it to fit players you like under them. That is clear bias. Missing the cut is missing the cut.

  • mike

    Alex/Dave is there guna b a study/list of corners who meet the min games played and age average for this class…also maybe ones who were captains too…thx

  • popsiclesticks

    I would love Jarvis Jones if he were faster, bigger and stronger. That’s what’s holding him back.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Exactly.

    I’ve always been a J. Jones fan, not a rah, rah guy, just went about his business at UGA, but he wasn’t my 1st choice…in fact the guy I wanted is not an OLB, but he was a better athlete as well…Alec Ogletree, but he had some issues off the field and dropped to the bottom of the 1st rd.

    I have Jenkins going to PIT @ 89 in my personal mock.

  • popsiclesticks

    I HATED Ogletree at UGA – looked to me like he never had any idea what was going on. Dead wrong about that one and Ogletree’s success was partly what warmed me up to Shazier in the 2014 pre-draft months.

    Jarvis has everything but the bigger faster stronger – he’s the guy people pretend to want when they say “forget the combine, get the players!”. He’s relentless, physical, takes on blockers and finds the ball against the run, always puts his nose in there – but the lack of athleticism and strength is just a killer in the NFL. So yeah, I’m with you – bigger faster Jarvis Jones is a plus to me.

    Man, if you could put Jarvis in Bud Dupree’s body – I think he’d be an elite NFL-er. Hope Dupree can get there.

  • popsiclesticks

    HUGE fan of Davis. He’s perfect for the role they tried to shoehorn Shamarko into in 2013 and that versatility should help him get on the field quick. And his lack of CB experience likely just means he’ll improve faster than most.

  • popsiclesticks

    Yep – if highlight tapes were everything Shazier would have been the no. 1 overall pick in 2014.

  • ATL96STEELER

    What some people may have forgotten…Jarvis played behind or with rather an NFL caliber DL…I think 5 or 6 guys from that DEF got drafted that yr.

    It was the beginning of the end for Mark Richt imo…touted as a legit Nation Champion contender, not even winning the SEC title with a team that stocked soured a lot of fans on him.

    Von Miller is not nearly as strong as say Deebo. I’m okay with Jones’ strength factor, but he doesn’t have that combination of burst and power to get around the edge. And, he really has only used the bull tech…Miller has the spin move, the bull, the rip.

    I think Bud is going to be fine…I expect him to play the majority of the snaps this yr and if he’s really working on his trade, his sack numbers should jump to maybe dbl his rookie season.

  • Ellwood Davis

    What about Vernon Butler?