Steelers 1st Round Pick Candidate Exercise Using Brandt’s Rankings

I recently posted about the success rate that NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt had last year when it came to his top 100 ranked players and today I want to take my research for you a bit farther in an effort to help narrow down who the Pittsburgh Steelers first round selection will potentially be Thursday in Philadelphia.

First, this research started mostly as being centered around Brandt’s success at ultimately identifying first round players in his annual top 50 rankings dating back to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Over the course of the last five years, Brandt has correctly identified at least 29 of the players who were ultimately selected in the first round in each of his final top 50 player rankings. In fact, last year he only failed to have two first rounders in his top 50 ranked players and they were cornerback Artie Burns and guard Joshua Garnett.

Now, when you look at Brandt’s top 64 ranked players in each year dating back to 2012, he only missed a total of four players who were ultimately drafted within the first 32 selections (160 total picks) and they were Burns (2016), Marcus Smith (2014), A.J. Jenkins (2012) and Datone Jones (2013). In short, Brandt is probably good for just one miss a year when it comes to identifying the first 32 selections in any given draft in his top 64 ranked players.

So, you probably already seeing where I’m going with this. Basically, if we look at Brandt’s top 64 ranked players this year, the Steelers first round selection will likely be included in it. Shocking, right? After all, most draft analyst should have nearly all 32 first round selections within their top 64 ranked players as that’s twice the number. At least we have Brandt’s easily accessible history on our side to work with and that’s why I chose his rankings as the subject matter for this exercise.

Now, below is Brandt’s top 64 ranked players as of his most recent post and we can begin trimming it down from there while at the same time assuming the Steelers first-round pick will remain included in it.

As we trim down the list, I think most of you agree that the final list of players should have had their pro day attended by Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert (that we know of). Using that criteria, however, we are still left with a huge list of players.

I’m going to assume the Steelers won’t be drafting an offensive lineman, quarterback or running back in the first round and I don’t think many of you will argue with that notion (apologies to the fans of Mahomes). I’m also going to assume that the Steelers have no shot at drafting any of Brandt’s top 15 players.

After applying the known Colbert pro day visits and removing all aforementioned offensive positions, we are left with a list of 15 players. I’m going to go ahead and also remove Tim Williams and Jourdan Lewis from the list as both have enough character concerns to warrant doing so. Davon Godchaux would also be a huge surprise being as he’s a defensive tackle, so I’ll remove him from the list as well.

As you can see below, we are now left with a list of 12 players as a result of this exercise and all are presumable fits for the Steelers. With that said and while not a huge deal, only two on the remaining list of 12 players have had reported pre-draft visits to Pittsburgh and they are Jarrad Davis and Marlon Humphrey.

Now that I have trimmed the Steelers list of potential first-round draft pick candidates down to 12 players, I want you to help me trim a few more names off it in the comments below. Also, do you believe the Steelers first round selection will ultimately be one of these 12 players? Are there any others in Brandt’s top 64 that I eliminated throughout the process who you believe need to be added back to the list? Let me know who they are and a good reason why if so.

Do you buy and like what I’m selling in this exercise as a whole?

Final 12

16. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
20. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
21. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
27. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
29. David Njoku, TE, Miami
30. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
42. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
43. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
44. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
48. Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan
49. Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
60. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin

Brandt’s top 64 for 2017

1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
3. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
4. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
5. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
7. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
8. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
9. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
10. John Ross, WR, Washington
11. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
12. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
13. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
14. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
15. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
16. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
17. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
18. Parick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
19. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
20. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
21. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
22. Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
23. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
24. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
25. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
26. Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
27. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
28. Kevin King, CB, Washington
29. David Njoku, TE, Miami
30. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
31. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
32, Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
33. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
34. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
35. Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State
36. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
37. Haason Reddick, DE, Temple
38. Marcus Williams, S, Utah
39. Josh Jones, S, North Carolina State
40. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
41. Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
42. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
43. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
44. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
45. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
46. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
47. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
48. Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan
49. Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
50. Dan Feeney, OL
51. Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
52. Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
53. Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
54. Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
55. Budda Baker, S, Washington
56. Dorian Johnson, OL, Pittsburgh
57. Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
58. Davon Godchaux, DT, LSU
59. Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
60. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
61. Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
62. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
63. Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
64. Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

  • falconsaftey43

    Melinfonu needs to be add IMO. If Brant missed a 1st rounder in his list, it’s him.

  • Zhan 使美国再次伟大

    I know that there is much love for Obi around here, but I don’t think that Brandt is wrong. I think Obi is overrated.

    He’ll be overdrafted because of his measureables, but he reacts slowly and doesn’t have naturally quick instincts.

    Just my opinion. Humphrey is the guy I’d want, but I’m afraid he’ll be gone by #30…

  • Walker

    What is the history of Colbert attending the Pro Day of the First Round Pick? Has he done it every year?

  • SteelersDepot
  • Klacker1

    Neat idea.
    First, some add backs:
    29. Takkarist McKinley – In for a visit and former Steelers coach on UCLA staff probably providing input
    47. Tim Williams – I’m not crazy about him, but the Steelers apparently are. A visit to Pgh, meeting at Combine, Dinner at Pro Day and a Private Workout. Most interest shown of anyone on their pre-draft visit list.

    Suggested removals:
    16. Derek Barnett – He won’t fall far enough
    42. Taco Charlton – Michigan – Not the athlete Takkirist & TJ Watt are.
    48. Chris Wormley – Too early and isn’t an OLB or CB/S
    49. Ryan Anderson – The Steelers showed very little interest. No visit and no reports of meetings, Dinner, etc. Pretty much ignored him at the same venues where they were chasing his teammate, Tim Williams. Speaks volumes.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    This is an interesting excercise Dave. I am mostly in agreement with how you chose to narrow it down with a further caveat being that I don’t think you should include any offensive players in the first round. Putting me being completely against it aside, I just don’t think the Steelers are that stupid either. We need far too much help on the defensive side to even remotely consider an offensive player in the first. Have to go with need over luxury even if you do have a slightly higher grade on the offensive guy. I think it would have to be something like an A grade on the offensive guy and no higher than a C on whatever the best defensive player available was.

    That being said, it doesn’t look like I am much help in narrowing it down because there is only 1 player on there and that is Njoku. So I would remove him and make it a top 11.

    I guess another you could safely remove is Humphrey. Isn’t it almost unanimously considered that he will be one of the first 2 corners gone?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I don’t see us drafting Taco, Wormley, or Anderson first round. I do see Budda Baker in the first round group, he had a visit and is a draft need. I think even tho Tim Williams has his flags he is still first round interest. Haason Riddick is also a player that could be the pick. Also looking at the top 64 list I see Jordan Willis and Josh Jones could be names that aren’t expected to be called be Black and Gold!

  • francesco

    I’m going LB to replace Jarvis Jones therefore Jarred Davis. 2nd round CB in
    Kevin King

  • Wil Masisak

    Malachi Dupree should be on the short list– not that I think he’ll be the pick at 1.30, but he qualifies.

  • Wil Masisak

    I’ll bet that Tyus Bowser has a better chance at going in Rd1 than Obi does.

  • Ace

    Take Off:
    –Taco and Wormley as reasoned below by Klacker.
    –Anderson doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, not much interest and he is seen pretty universally as a late 2-3 rounder.
    –Maye should come off…I just don’t see them valuing a safety that much, especially since he is more of a back end guy yeah?
    –Njoku, just can’t see them going TE in the first, doesn’t that wave the white flag on Green instantly?

    Barnett is tough. Seems like his testing has him falling, I would leave him on. He’s my bet to be the crazy faller that Bud and DD were.

    Most realistic to me, Davis (is it that much a need?), Wilson (who isn’t getting much mention from you guys compared to White, but I love his game and swagger, wish he could tackle tho), White (safe Steelers type pick), Peppers (ugh), Watt (raw but a position of need).

    Tyus Bowser outside the top 60 is the only glaring miss I see. Too bad no interest was shown by PS.,

  • Jeff Papiernik

    They did speak to Ryan Anderson at the combine, but yeah, not much else outside of that.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    If we don’t draft a safety along the lines of Baker, Peppers, or Obi, then Humphrey and Davis are my top 2 by far. Watt maybe comes in just behind them.

  • Jon Crissinger

    Obi Melifonwu not in the top 64 ranked players… Why isn’t he a top 10 player you might ask?

  • capehouse

    I respect Gil Brandt’s opinion more than any other when it comes to draft knowledge. I definitely had to readjust my thinking on several players after his top 150 players came out. Great research dipping into how accurate he is too. I think you took a wrong turn in this exercise by excluding players that didn’t have Colbert at their Pro Day though, and I think a Pre Draft Visit to PIT is really the same thing. Especially for guys like Takk McKinley and Budda Baker who came in for visits, but there’s no chance Colbert would be at their Pro Day or any other West coast Pro Day.

    Players from Brandt’s list that I think should be included would be:
    24) Takk McKinley
    39) Josh Jones
    46) Zach Cunningham
    51) Chris Godwin
    55) Budda Baker

    Even without the players I added, it’s still a good list, because I think Peppers, White, Humphrey, Maye and Watt all have a good shot, but I also think McKinley, Jones and Baker do too. Those would be my top 8, I guess. My pick would be the top CB or S left on their board, just like Aditi said lol.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think you take off the 3 guys you list as DE. IMO they are all better fits at 4/3 end than 3/4 OLB despite liking Barnett and Wormley. Anderson I agree is a 2nd round guy. He’s just a really solid player but is not nearly dynamic enough.

    To cut it down further I think we need to look at overall visits. Isn’t the number of guys brought in an indication normally?

    If I had to guess I think we take Peppers at 1, and Rivers at 2.

  • Wil Masisak

    and I’ll be contrarian once again and say Rivers doesn’t go before 75-100

  • Wil Masisak

    and something to keep in mind: Steelers showed no interest in Willis, possibly because he was a left-side only player… same is true for Rivers, IIRC. Moss played the right side.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Dave-

    If you look at Colbert’s 1st round pattern, he tends to look “up” the ladder rather than “down” (meaning if we are drafting at #30 he is looking at players ranked in the #20’s. And I mean the composite rankings not Gil Brandt’s rankings. The only recent exception I can think of is Artie Burns (and that was pretty much due to “Rooney’s orders”).

    To answer your question… I think Derek Barnett, Jarred Davis, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku, Marlon Humphrey, are the names from Brandt’s list that would qualify. All of those guys are pretty much consensus picks in the 20’s. And all are positions of “want.” I believe one of those five guys will be the pick.

    I think Brandt has both Wilson and White ranked slightly too high, but if all 5 of those guys are gone, those two prospects fall into the 2nd tier along with Obi and Rivers.

    Look at the past several years and look at how many elite “athletes” Colbert has drafted. All were very fast/quick at their relative positions.

    I also think it is a major mistake not to include the 3 top QB’s as “possibilities” at 1.30 (even though I know you don’t want one personally or think it is likely – Colbert’s actions say otherwise). The top 3 QB’s are always ranked in the top 25 picks. We have met with all 3. And it is a position of want (according to our owner).

  • Jon Crissinger

    He has Carl Lawson listed as the 77th ranked player. Ouch

  • Jon Crissinger

    Bowser is 68. Obi is 69 and Carl Lawson is 77

  • Jon Crissinger

    I’m not sure I would take that bet. I don’t particularly like Obi either because his tape is lackluster, but his measurables show a top 10 talent if you can coax it out of him.

  • Gregory Jackson

    Totally agree.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I think he will be a great player none the less!

  • Wil Masisak

    You just described a 2nd round pick, right? I guess you could argue Eli Apple and Artie Burns last year were examples of that, but Burns was an extreme case. All it takes is one team to have a guy crazy high– DHB and Mitchell with the Raiders come to mind.

  • jger15

    Totally agree on the Tak/TWill front.

    Great post DB!

  • Jon Crissinger

    A lot people said the Bears were going to take Mitchell in the second round a few picks after the Raiders did. DHB was a first rounder, but probably not nearly as high as the Raiders took him.

  • jger15

    Out of the 12 prospects listed, who would be the most surprising pick? Quincy Wilson?

  • Jeff Peterson

    If steelers draft watt in 1st. What are chances they draft rivers 3b if still there?

  • Shane Mitchell

    I wouldnt eliminate players whose prodays were right in the heat of the free agency signing period, which includes my boy Jordan Willis, his pro day was the same day they were negotiating with Hightower, Porter was in Youngstown and Mike Butler went to Kansas St. Washington proday was also right at the start of the free agency signing period, so dont discount my other boy Budda Baker either.

    We have very little info on players they asked to schedule a private workout with, I am sure there are many among those top 64 we dont know about. Chris Godwin was one of them.

    That said, the list should include Jordan Willis, Budda Baker and Chris Godwin.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Charles Harris! Reasons why:
    1) His pro day (which was attended by Joey Porter) occurred on March 23. That is the same day as Ohio State, Stanford, and Notre Dame.
    2) Every major evaluator you can find (including Gil Brandt and Alex Kozora) believe him to be a 1st rounder.
    3) He is ideal fit for arguably the biggest need on the roster(ROLB). He has experience playing on the weak side and rushing from 2 point stance.
    4) Big time contributor from big time conference who played at school famous for producing big time pass rushers in the recent past.
    5) Has NFL counter move; his spin move. And this cannot be understated. So many top rated edge players coming into the league have no counter so tackles simply over-set them and stone them or run them past the pocket. Also, this guy can really bend and flatten. The only edge player who bends and flattens better in this draft may be Barnett. Maybe.
    6) Looked terrific in combine and pro day drills mimicking zone drops.
    Reasons against:
    1) Poor athletic testing at combine
    2) Needs to set more physical edge in run game

    Ya, I have a big man crush on Charles Harris. Lol. But I honestly believe it’s justified.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Very solid post.

  • Jason Vancil

    What is the red flag on Lewis the CB at Mich? I must’ve slept on that.

  • Matt Correll

    Dave, this is a great exercise and a lot of fun in trying to hone in on a short list. I think of the remaining 12 names, there are a few that we could remove in terms of being the Steelers first round pick. It is not that they wouldn’t love to grab these guys in the 2nd or 3rd, but I really don’t see them taking any of these guys in the first:

    Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan- He just really doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the 3-4 because of his height and size.
    Marcus Maye, S, Florida- I could definitely see Maye being on the Steelers radar in the 2nd, but not in the first. He is a solid S, but not a splash player.
    Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan- They definitely expressed interested, but a DE in the first seems very unlikely, and Wormley might not even be the best one left on the board at that point (Caleb Brantley).
    Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama- They seemed to be much more interested in his teammate (Williams), and he has Anderson ranked much higher than most. I could see the Steelers being interested in him in the 3rd if he was there and they drafted S and CB in the first two rounds, but I would see Anderson as a major reach in the 1st.

    All that being said, of the remaining guys I could really see it being Tre’ White or TJ Watt (the last two guys that you have mocked to the Steelers interestingly enough).

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Thank you

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    There was a domestic violence claim against him a while back

  • Jollyrob68

    According to this ranking tge Steelers anticipate Tre’ Davis White to be the pick unless someone with a better ranking is on the board. Which also possibly puts Jabrill Peppers on the board.

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s a bold prediction! Bravo!

  • Matt Manzo

    Great exercise! That list of 12 looks about right! Obi might be missing but technically it seems right!

  • Matt Manzo

    Black Ice!

  • Jeff Papiernik

    No Jarrad Davis?

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I think the red flag only removes him from the first round though, not from being picked later on however

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Did he improve his numbers at his pro day at all?

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I don’t consider Godwin or Willis a 1st round candidate for the Steelers, but not opposed to adding Baker or Jones

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Good question, if he’s BPA, they may pull the trigger. I know they like the kid. But I doubt he makes it that far.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I don’t see Turkisky, Watson, or Mahomes making it to us. And where are these composite rankings you speak of?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Just a thought. How many of these guys are juniors coming out of college? We love to take the younger guys as it gives us more years with the player in our system.

  • Gautama Om

    That’s a negative; he’s extremely weak against the run AND physically weak (something you should obviously see at first glance). He gets swallowed up by OLinemen on run plays more often than he gets sacks. Does not have foot speed to chase down RB’s going away or at him.

    A few nice sack highlights but if you watch hole games he doesn’t put much QB pressures. If you count the sacks he got by on his first step and spin move, he also had just as many sacks by being observant and opportunistic (rather than athleticism). A few are saying “shouldn’t that count as a good thing”…not in the NFL where there are way less incompetents than college.

    For him to be successful in the NFL he needs to be much stronger and have more moves like a club or bullrush which i doubt he can get since he is too weak and looks as though he wont be able to add much more strength to that body. I strongly dislike tall lean body types like his and Jarvis Jones.

    TJ Watt all day. If we pass on TJ we’ll regret it. Besides his athletic ability, its his desire to study and win at all costs (on and off the field) that will propel either to good or great player in the NFL.

  • Matt Manzo

    I think he gets taken before 30.

  • Scunge

    I am hoping the the visit with Humphrey ruled him out as a pick for the Steelers. The dude gave up an average of 19 yards a catch, he has problems giving up big plays down the field, at locating and playing the football the further down the field he is. If he were drafted by the Steelers he would be a huge bust I am afraid. I hope they had the visit with him to figure out why he looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane, and I hope they don’t risk a first round pick in thinking that they can correct his issues.

  • Lambert58

    Most Likely
    Peppers
    White
    Humphrey
    Watt

    Maybe
    J. Davis
    Njoku

    Unlikely
    Taco
    Barnett
    Anderson
    Wormley
    Maye
    Wilson

  • John

    Totally agree on the additIons and deletions. Based on this exercise that would appear to be the list. How about if Reuben Foster is still there? I think it will be Peppers.

  • John

    Can’t we add a preference for underclassmen coming out early as well as part of the criteria? Shazier. Burns. Pouncey. Etc. Leads back to Peppers.

  • Paddy

    I look at that list of 12 and I have to go with Derek Barnett which would be great at 30

  • BaconLovingInfidel

    “Do you buy and like what I’m selling in this exercise as a whole?”

    Yes, well done.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    They are negatives. Hence why I wrote ‘reasons against’ in the post. He also makes more plays against the run in backside pursuit than anyone else in the draft. I know because I DID watch his game tape. And unlike someone like Tak McKinley, his sacks came mostly beating his man. However, the sacks of opportunity you are referring to DO happen in the NFL. They are called ‘coverage sacks.’ You make a perfectly valid point about strength. One season in an NFL weight room can eliminate that issue. It’s also the answer to your questions his bull rush. Nobody is taller and leaner than T.J. Watt (who I happen to like), so I have no idea what point you were trying to make there. And if you want to see a Jarvis Jones type of body, go look at Tim Williams. Very different.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    He improved his vertical jump by 5.5 inches and his broad by 5 inches. These are not subjective hand times so they should be considered just as legit in my mind. He did not re-run the 40. Most likely because his 1.65 ten yard split is more than adequate. His 3 cone is still a negative against him.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I’ve also been wondering what the failed drug test does to Foster on top of his bad combine attitude. Is he in play for the steelers or is he off their board? If he’s on the board and he’s there at 30, I think he has to get serious consideration. Anyone with any thoughts/opinions?

  • CP72

    Derek Barnett won’t be a top 20 pick….remember I said that.

  • rdjmsr53

    Anderson or Watt because of position the LB from Fla. if he plays the outside

  • spicyitln

    Watt at 30 Rivers at 62 Sutton at 94………………Would be a great start…….

  • Wayne’O

    Yes I agree Zhan, he sort of reminds me of his former UConn teammate Byron Scott, the safety that the Cowboys drafted a few years back who had the freakish combine numbers. He’s the one that was spotted sleep walking at the end of the Packers Cowboys game when the TE made that miraculous catch on 4th and forever. Yeah, that TE was his man.

  • Jay Hallauer

    sure would be awesome if derek barnett fell to us. But at this point i wouldnt mind njoku, Jarrad davis, or tre white. I am skeptical on marlon humphrey with all the starts on that front 7. as for quincy wilson i havent done enough research to say if i would like him at 30. I do know he is faster than his teammate teez tabor. I really believe what Art rooney said and tomlin. Their priority is DBs who can press man like Artie Burns and play in the slot with more pass rushers. I would not be upset at alll if we doubled down on pass rushers and DBs in the first 4 picks.

  • I think he’s top 20 talent, but I see a QB run in the first plus two TE going, leading to Barnett dropping

  • Ray Powell

    Broadly speaking, I can see how what you’re doing makes sense, although I’m not as enamoured of Brandt’s ‘”sucess” as you are – not that hard to project the first round using a base of fifty players as most of the top fifteen or twenty or so are pretty obvious most years. The Colbert/Tomlin at pro days thing may have some merit, but I wouldn’t necessarily discount players because of it and it’s worth mentioning that, if you’re going to take account of that, then you should probably also account for the fact that recent first round picks haven’t come from the ranks of pre-draft visitors (which would discount Jarrad Davis and Marlon Humphrey, much as I’d like the Steelers drafting either of them). All that being said, my gut feeling is that the Steelers will end up with someone from your list and I think that someone will be T.J.Watt. Most of that, as I say, is just a gut feeling, but I do think he’s the kind of do-it-all linebacker that the Steelers like, he’s a great athlete, his best play is probably yet to come, he’s likely to be available when the Steelers pick and is generally projected to go low first/high second.

  • I can’t imagine them not being interested in Chidobe Awuzie.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    I agree. Especially when I watch tape of him blitzing from the slot. Versatile DB(safety and corner experience) with sack production. Sounds exactly like what they would want. But I have not heard a word about them being interested in him.

  • His pro day was on March 8th which is the same day as Alabama and Oklahoma, and they did have Mark Bruener there scouting. Still surprised they didn’t bring him in for a visit.

  • Michael James

    I wonder what Brandt smoked when he put Ryan Anderson over Carl Lawson in his ranking. Anderson is worse in nearly every single aspect (besides maybe run defense, but that’s debatable) and he’s a much worse athlete, too.

  • Michael James

    Yep, he was very good at his pro day.

  • Michael James

    He reportedly had a great 3-cone at his pro day.

  • Klacker1

    Historically, pre-draft visits yield 3-6 draftees (each year since 2009). Then you add in the (reported) variables of private workouts, meetings at bowl games, meetings at the Combine, private dinners and both Tomlin/Colbert attending the same pro day (a “wow” if a coordinator or position coach also attends with them). With the sum of the parts, the field of prospective is both narrowed and reasonably predictive. The real wild cards is where the Steelers rank the player (see above for the indicators) and who is available when they draft.

    This makes for an interesting list of Pro Day attendees for the players listed:
    16. Barnett (& Cam Sutton) – Tomlin, Colbert, Butler
    20. Jarrad Davis (& Alex Anzalone) – Colbert, Olsavsky
    21. Jabrill Peppers – Tomlin, Colbert
    30. Tre’Davious White (& Duke Riley) – Tomlin, Colbert, Lake
    42. Taco Charlton (& Jourdan Lewis) – Tomlin, Colbert, Lake

    So, Barnett, Davis or Peppers (if they slide) at #1, if not White ?
    At # 2, does Taco show up?

  • Shane Mitchell

    It doesnt matter if we consider them a 1st round candidate or not, this is just an exercise to form a list based off of interest level and Brandts top 50 rankings, if we cherry pick who we want on the list it kind of defeats the purpose. Few thought Artie Burns was a first round candidate for us last year leading up to the draft.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Really?! I hadn’t heard that. Appreciate the update.

  • mokhkw

    I think the Byron Jones comparison is apt. Jones has been ok so far but not as productive as many thought he would be and had the same concerns about instincts and reactions that Obi has now.

    If you compare Jones to Mitchell the past 2 years then Mitchell has made more plays from the FS spot but both have also had their share of mistakes.

  • mokhkw

    He was also on Gamechangers on NFLN. Impressions to me were that he has amazingly quick feet for his size and his phone booth quickness isn’t something that shows up with the measureables. He’s also a bit on the crazy side which I like in a pass rusher.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Yep. I’m leaning toward Peppers or Humphrey.

  • Ace

    I can’t help but wonder which guys they are playing possum on. As I mentioned to Dave on his mock draft thread, they pick an average of 4 guys from the pre draft visits. So half the picks should be some kind of halfway surprise to us. Be it Pro Days they didn’t attend or guys they just never showed interest in. I’m hoping those are some of the guys mentioned below. Awuzie, Willis, Bowser, Buddha B. All first/second round talent in my opinion. Very hard to come up with a mock this year with that first pick being such an unknown. ILB, OLB, CB, SS, TE all real possibilities.

  • Scott A Cragle

    No predictions here, but definitely a comment: Brandt having Njoku at 29 and Reddick at 37 seems REALLY screwy to me. I realize that Brandt isn’t predicting where players will be drafted, but the consensus is that Reddick is around 20 slots higher, that Njoku will be drafted after him. Part of that is draft projections and that reaching/need plays a bigger part in where players actually go, but having Reddick that far down the board seems like an oversight. If we were to choose which of the non-32 will go in the 1st, I think it would be hands down Reddick.

  • Clutterbox

    After watching 2016 film on both men, I’m not that impress by Lawson. He has talent, but it does not always translate on the field. He often a sec late or overrun the ball carrier. He has more raw talent and tools over Anderson, but Anderson appear to have better football sense and motor than Lawson. Anderson ceiling might be limited, but also needs less coaching. After factoring Lawson health status too, I would not be surprise at all if Anderson has a better career than Lawson.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Great athlete but average instincts. Still raw

  • Michael James

    Fair game. However, I recommend you to watch the RSP film room on Lawson on youtube, it’s a very good piece of work and they analyze him very in-depth.

  • SilverSteel

    Agreed with everything. Would love Harris at 30

  • Brian Miller

    Go check out the RSP from Matt Waldman on him, might change your mind on his reactions and instincts.

  • Ace

    Maybe it has to do with the position he plays or will play. Guys assume that since he played the senior bowl at ILB and dropped a lot in college from the OLB/DE position he can transition right away. Not saying he won’t, but I think it’s gonna take some time for him wherever he goes and whatever position he ends up playing. With Njoku, less to learn. He won’t be asked to block much, it’s gonna be him running up the seam or running some simple routes. To sum it up, Reddick may have his head spinning for a little while, Njoku is going to be asked to go catch the ball. Just my thoughts.

  • Brian Miller

    I think Davis would be an ILB not an OLB though…

  • Jim Foles

    He looks like a steeler

  • Edward hassick

    Ya steelers have no chance at Peppers

  • Lambert58

    If he is there at #62, I would run the card up. Most likely he’l be taken in the top 40.

  • Rocksolid20

    You are correct .

  • jger15

    To Dave’s point about them looking for D-Line depth with, interesting note on Taco Charlton from Mayock’s conference call yesterday. Perhaps Wormley and Charlton are in the 2 round convo?

    “So what you see on tape is what I saw at the combine where he doesn’t quite have the twitch of an elite edge rusher, so I think he’s more of a base 3-4 end. And there is nothing wrong with that. You can be a good football player that plays eight to ten years in the league, and I’ve got a second round grade on him.”

  • Biggie

    Definitely think Obi, Rivers missing from list would drop Dupre, Thompson out of his list and put them in. I think. Don’t see Barnett coming even close to us and find it hard to believe Obi, Rivers and McKinley won’t be in play for us and think Watt may be in play with pick at 30. I good with most on group of 12 other than don’t think Charlton fits us and Anderson just doesn’t seem explosive enough at all.

  • Steve Johnson

    I like your final list. I would remove Jabrill Peppers and add Obi M. Peppers is overrated and hyped up to be more than what he is. The Steelers appear to be set on drafting a Safety that can cover the middle of the field and TE’s.

  • Steve Johnson

    You make a good point; just like Peppers, Obi lit up the combine. Hi height/weight is something to desire thougj.

  • He’ll probably be gone before #30. He checks all the boxes as they say.

  • We need to get more ‘young blood’ out there playing safety. Mitchell is aging into his 30s. I hope we can get Jabrill Peppers. We’ll probably wind up with DE Derek Barnett. Wouldn’t mind that pick either. I don’t see Haason Reddick being left when we pick. We’d have to make a major deal with another team and trade up to get him. Is he worth a couple of draft picks in 2018? That’s the thing, you just never know how well these guys are going make the transition from college to the NFL. He may be a bust no matter where he winds up playing. Not really our style to do so in the first round anyway.

  • Steel City Slim

    Pretty safe to cross Barnett off of that list. No way he makes it to 30.

  • David Dulaney

    Any chance Quincy Wilson drops to us?

  • Joe Jackson

    No surprise that Carl Lawson didn’t make this list. Still don’t see why he has been talked about so much in this draft process.

  • Michael Martin

    I would be stoked on Adoree Jackson. Peppers or Obi would be real nice too. I think Adoree could solve a nagging special teams problem as well as being a day one contributer in the slot.

  • Lambert58

    I don’t know. Somehow I doubt it. He’s not as flashy as some of the other guys. But I could be wrong.

  • jeffjb292

    With the depth on defense this year the steelers have a great shot at getting two quality players and with the amount of good players who knows who will slide into the second

  • Gautama Om

    You can add more weight to Watt, you cant to Harris; especially considering Watt has longer arms.

    Watt is stronger in the run game as well, doesnt get washed out like Harris. Intangibles are also much more in favor of Watt.

  • BaconLovingInfidel

    What about 37. Haason Reddick, DE, Temple. Couldn’t he project to OLB?