NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock released his one and only mock of 2017 Wednesday night and it included two trades, three quarterbacks being selected and 17 total defensive players.
Mayock’s pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first-round was Kansas State edge-rusher Jordan Willis and here is what he said of the selection:
Willis had an outstanding combine. He needs to get stronger against the run, but he’s a natural bender who can get around the edge and rush the passer.
Willis is a very intriguing prospect when it comes to him potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year. For starters, it appears the Steelers only sent a scout to his pro day and that likely may have been because general manager Kevin Colbert was back in Pittsburgh entertaining then-free agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Additionally, unless he went unreported, Willis wasn’t one of the Steelers pre-draft visitors during the month of April.
At this year’s scouting combine, Willis measured in at 6036, 255-pounds and his performance in Indianapolis resulted in a very high SPARQ score of 145.7. During his four years at Kansas State, Willis registered 114 total tackles that included 40.5 for a loss and 26 sacks. He was a three-year starter during his college career that included him serving as a team captain. He is about to turn 22 right after the draft takes place, appears to have a great character.
We don’t have long to wait to find out if Willis will be the Steelers first-round selection this year but in the meantime, I thought I would include a study of Mayock’s top 50 ranked players over the course of the last five years in this post being as it is centered around his Pittsburgh guess.
Much like fellow NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt, Mayock has had great success at identifying the first 32 players taken in any one draft in his top 50 rankled players over the course of the last five years. In fact, Mayock’s top 50 list last year included all but one player who was ultimately drafted in the first 32 selections and that was safety Keanu Neal, who he had ranked 58th overall.
In Mayock’s 2015 top 50 ranked players, he had all but two who were ultimately selected in the first 32 picks and they were tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and guard Laken Tomlinson, who he ranked 52nd and 53rd respectively.
In 2014, Mayock had his most misses in his top 50 as four players who were ultimately selected in the first 32 picks of the draft were not included on that list and they were Dominique Easley, Ja’Wuan James, Jimmie Ward and Marcus Smith. in 2013 and 2012, however, Mayock had all but one of the first 32 players selected in each of those drafts in his top 50. The misses were Travis Frederick and A.J. Jenkins.
In short, and probably not a huge surprise, you can probably count on this year’s Steelers first-round pick to come out of Mayock’s top 50 ranked players and you can see that list below. As you would probably expect, several players ranked after 19 had pre-draft visits with the Steelers while several others had their pro days attended by Colbert.
Mike Mayock’s 2017 NFL Draft top 50 prospect rankings
1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
3. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
4. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
6. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
8. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
9. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
10. Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
11. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
12. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
14. John Ross, WR, Washington
15. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
16. Cam Robinson, T, Alabama
17. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
18. Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
19. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
20. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
21. Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin
22. Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
23. David Njoku, TE, Miami
24. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
25. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
26. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
27. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
28. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
29. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
30. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
31. Budda Baker, S, Washington
32. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
33. Garett Bolles, T, Utah
34. Kevin King, CB, Washington
35. T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
36. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
37. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
38. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
39. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
40. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
41. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
42. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
43. Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
44. DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
45. Marcus Williams, S, Utah
46. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
47. Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
48. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
49. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
50. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina