Steelers 2017 Day-Three Draft Targets

Miami's Corn Elder (29) intercepts the ball in overtime to help seal a 36-33 win against Nebraska at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had the luxury of having four selections to make over the course of the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, within the top 105 spots. Utilizing those resources, they have been able to bolster four key positions, split evenly on both sides of the ball.

On the defensive side of the ball, they landed a top prospect with enormous upside in pass-rusher T.J. Watt in the first round, and they were able to improve the secondary by taking Cameron Sutton in the third round, a cornerback who likely will be able to function both inside and outside who improves their ability to play man, of particular concern from the slot position.

In contrast to last season, Pittsburgh also injected some significant resources into the offensive side of the ball, using a second-round pick to add JuJu Schuster-Smith, and ending the third round in the compensatory portion by adding Pittsburgh running back James Conner, whom they view as a supplemental performer to his friend, Le’Veon Bell.

Those are some pretty significant and priority positions of value that they were able to address during the first two days of the draft—though the actual ‘draft value’ of the picks themselves is being hotly debated as we speak. But now we turn to Day Three, where they have four more picks to make, one in each round.

Some positions of note that the Steelers were unable to address over the course of the first two days of the draft are inside linebacker and tight end, which are the two that I am especially looking toward, personally. It may be too late to add a notable safety, but coming back to double up on a pass rusher or a cornerback is certainly very possible. A defensive tackle should also be considered in play, especially in the second round.

With that in mind, here are some things that I would be looking toward heading into the final day of the draft. In particular, some players that would be particularly appealing to me in the fourth round for the Steelers would include tight end George Kittle, cornerback Corn Elder, or outside linebacker Carl Lawson, who remains available despite being projected to go on Day Two.

Taking a broader view beyond slot-specific targets, other tight end targets could include Bucky Hodges, Jordan Leggett, Jeremy Sprinkle, or the injured Jake Butt. Kittle is my favorite of the group, however, and I would feel much better about this draft with him included.

Aside from Elder, Howard Wilson or the slot cornerback Damontae Kazee could have the Steelers considering a double dip in that talent pool. Jaylen Myrick’s blazing speed has also been on their radar as a pre-draft visitor.

Inside linebackers such as Blair Brown, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Elijah Lee could come into play relatively soon, while the likes of Carroll Phillips and Samson Ebukan, both of whom, will be considered to add to the edge-rusher stock.

Unfortunately, we have to consider the very real possibility that the Steelers could be tempted to swipe up Nathan Peterman, Brad Kaaya, or Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round—even trading up for them—from the quarterback position. The name Jerod Evans has passed the lips of more than a few relevant people as well.

The Steelers didn’t show great interest in late-round prospects among the defensive line or at safety,  but two that they did visit with are defensive tackle Treyvon Hester and Montae Nicholson, so look for them in the late rounds or in undrafted free agency.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • The Tony

    Do you like Anthony Walker Jr?

  • CP72

    Boy I don’t know what Lawson’s medical issues are, but we’re getting close to role the dice time.

    How about redshirting Jake Butt….


    Nate Hairston in the 7th

  • Phil Brenneman II

    My main guy for today I am kind of hoping for is Connor Harris in the 6th or 7th. Outside of that maybe seeing a double dip at OLB or grabbing a safety but I don’t really have any guys in mind.

    When talking TE’s if we do take one I am fine with Kittle, Sprinkler, or Hodges. I have them all rated roughly the same.

  • nikki stephens

    Yeah but if colbert is still sipping from the same cup, as last night, our next picks are WR (cuz AB will retire someday)
    KR (cuz if we draft one every year just one…one…one! someday will pan out)
    QB to replace Jones? Mettzenberger? damn it, we need another guy to hold the clipboard for our franchise QB. And that coming QB pick should be criticized because you paid and endorsed Jones as your backup and you are not finding w/99% certainty your next Ben now… it’s a wasted pick.
    WR (7th rd) because they are young and you can never have enough young WR’s and it’s a nice problem to have (Mann’s answer post JUju interview when confronted about the sheer numbers on the roster)


    I would trade up and get Lawson.

    Since we used our second round pick for a ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘NEED to have’ (i.e. CB) it is critically important that we get one of our two NEEDS taken care of today. If done right, we could come out of this really nailing down OLB, take a late round flyer on CB for development, bag the QB pick this year (as we should have all along!!), and end up with Watt, Lawson, Schuster-Smith and our newest smurf-sized CB, Sutton.

    I am doing a poor job hiding my disappointment that we didn’t address CB until too late, I guess. It didn’t help that Awuzie and Josh Jones were literally picked two picks prior to our in the 2nd and 3rd rounds either!!


    Yup exactly the guy I had in mind for our ‘late round flyer CB’.

  • Ichabod

    I feel your anxiety and frustration


    Trade up and get Lawson. He’s not perfect but he can rush the passer and we can double up one of our needs, anyway!

  • Phil Brenneman II

    With that drop I am assuming he has some really bad medical issues. Probably not worth a trade up but if he falls to us maybe.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The Josh Jones pick really upset me….I thought for sure we had him.


    This is a guy who many were saying rd1 just a couple weeks ago.
    He is the remaining D talent that can play right away at OLB.
    I agree though that it seems strange he has fallen this far.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Elder, Kazee, Kittle, Butt, Leggett, Blair Brown, Lawson a 5th rd (no trade up) QB, Josh Harvey-Clemons — I’d like some of these guys!!! Blair Brown and Harvey-Clemons are personal favorite fits for me.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I 2nd the Phil idea….he is my favorite Edge Rusher in the draft and to see him available in day 3 tells me something is really wrong with his medical. His tape is 1st round.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    not really….a VW clone…we need a more athletic kinda guy to play in nickle

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Really, they all (Willis and Rivers too) fell. In retrospect, for our needs maybe we should have gone DB in rd. 1. Its just the way the draft shook out.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I would add Jaylen Reeves-Maybin and Rayshawn Jenkins for earlier 3rd day rounds.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I don’t know much about Jenkins – will need to go look him up. Blair Brown would be the ideal 3rd down/backup ILB to VW (maybe even starter over VW in a year or 2) for my money but I also like Reeves-Maybin too.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Now that I looked him up, yeah I agree on Rayshawn Jenkins too.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Bigger physical S with nice athletic traits that can play potentially that S/ILB position in a nickel or dime

  • Conserv_58

    Who would have thought just three days ago that Carl Lawson is still available in the fourth round?

  • newguy68

    my 2 cents:

    4th round: THis is the year of the TE’s in this draft and with Green’s status still … unsure. I would seriously look at Hodges, Butt, Kittle. Sprinkle and Leggett could be round #5. If Lawson is still there … get him !!!

    5th round: Best corner available. Myrick, ELder, Wilson, Kazee or the guy from Utah Allen.

    6th round: Best KB. Maybin, Lee, Biegel, Jones,

    7th round: BPA. Look at DL kid from USC, Hester from TOledo or the kid from Idaho. We need someone to push McCullers and backup Hargrave.

  • Michael Conrad

    At this point I’m no longer interested in the draft of worry about needs because right now I feel the Steelers either know what they are doing and all us fans have no clue or they got fleeced by picking late in every round and picked by throwing a dart at the draft board. The picks seem to be very suspect . Watt the best of the bunch but iffy at that.

    WR’s was a need but not in the second and not one without speed. The DB is a big head scratchier a man cover guy without long speed. I Like Conner but not in the third. While I will hold out hope for a good day three in the draft it would take a miracle to give this draft a b rating.

    I will say there is not a Jarvis Jones or Mike Adams or Landry Jones or Dri Archer in these picks which I called garbage from the start . I think the picks could be solid adds but not ones to get you excited about improving the D or O.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Prospects to target in the last half of the draft

    Edge: Carl Lawson, Joe Mathis, Samson Ebukam
    ILB: Jaylen Reeves Maybin, Elijah Lee, Javancy Jones
    S: Rayshawn Jenkins, Montae Nicholson, Xavier Woods
    DL: Jarron Jones, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Treyvon Hester
    CB: Desmond King, Damontae Kazee, Corn Elder

    QB: Nathan Peterman, Brad Kaaya, Chad Kelly
    TE: Michael Roberts, Cethan Carter, Josiah Price
    OL: Kyle Kalis, Alex Kozan, Caleb Peterson
    Gadget Players: Kermit Whitfield, Speedy Noil, Tarik Cohen

    Would consider Eddie Jackson or Jaleel Johnson but I expect they will be gone by our pick.

  • Darth Blount 47

    My own personal wish-list of guys that would help make my day if they ended up in Black & Yellow: (Note: I’m resigned to none of these actually happening)

    – Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss (Hell, let’s shake up the QB room and replace “Other Berger.”)

    – WR’s… Mack Hollins/Shelton Gibson/KD Cannon: In the words of Hunter S. Thompson:
    (“Once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”)

    – Bucky Hodges TE, VA Tech (Love his potential/high ceiling)

    – Anthony Walker Jr, LB, Northwestern. (Had a good Wonderlic score, and is really versatile. Very productive. Could be an absolute steal for some team)
    – Connor Harris LB, Lindenwood (Tackling machine. Most EVER in NCAA history)
    – Samson Ebukam, LB, EW. (Good dub-dip candidate. Love that name)
    – Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin. (Already have Watt… may as well add his Sundance Kid)

    – Demontae Kazee, CB, SDSU. (Some of the best hands in the draft)
    – Howard Wilson, CB, Houston (This is the guy we should draft immediately, to help make sure we kick Sutton to the Inside.)
    – Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota (Go ahead, try to outrun him. I dare you. Speed kills.)
    – Brian Allen, CB, Utah. (Honestly, I just want him so we can hear Dave Te lose his ever-loving mind gushing, about him for another hour straight on the Terrible Podcast)

    – Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa. (It is absolutely CRIMINAL that he’s still on this board. My favorite player left in the draft on my wish-list. So that means he’s probably going to be a Bengal. Book it.)

    – Nate Gerry, S/LB, Nebraska (My own personal man crush who can be had late, who has some of the softest hands in the draft. Built like a brick shi*house. And can be that hybrid $Backer we crave so dearly)
    – Montae Nicholson, S, MSU (Tall, fast, long arms, athletic. Could provide excellent late value. Has all the tools and his flaws are teachable/correctable.)

  • Darth Blount 47

    I love the kid. He’d be a great late pick.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’m hoping for Connor late, too. The tackling machine to pair with our other tackling machine.

  • Conserv_58

    My favorite sleeper pick for the Steelers in the 7th is Idaho NT, Glen Antoine. At 6’1″, 337 lbs., verticle jump of 30″ and a broad jump of 8′ 7″ he’s got the quitecenncial build that defensive coaches like in a true NT. He also benches 225 lbs. 37 times. The Steelers have shown interest in him and if they do land him in the 7th round It would be one of their best picks of this draft class. He would provide great value as a two down lineman. He could split snaps with Javon Hargrave and he could prove to be the anchor in the Steelers’ DL that’s been missing since Casey Hampton was plugging the middle. Selecting him would also allow the Steelers to end the Daniel McCullers experiment.

  • Conserv_58

    Idaho NT, Glen Antoine in the seventh round. 😉

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I would love them to get Corn Elder in the fourth. Gay will be gone after this year, I think, and they need to build depth at the CB position. I also like Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina. I know he’s small, but he is a great punt returner and I don’t want AB doing that job anymore.

  • Jeff Anoble

    The Steelers have a great opportunity to win a Super Bowl this year. If Ben is injured at any point in the season I would rather have a Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or even a RGIII then Landry Jones, Mettenberger, or a draft pick. Those vet QBs surrounded by the talent on this team could excel. Next year is suppose to be the great year of QBs in the draft. Does anyone think that Kaaya or Dobbs or even the Pit QB could be a Russel Wilson or Dak Prescott? If so then I guess maybe we should draft them.

  • Conserv_58

    I was hoping that they could get massive TE, Adam Shaheen in the second then the freaking bears took him at pick #45.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I want the Iowa boys, King and Kittle in rounds 4 and 5.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Desmond King will be a safety in the pros. He’s my top want in round 4

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    I’m wondering what the heck is up with Carl Lawson

  • NCSteel

    Jay Cutler ?
    You going theough Martavis’ trash ?

  • Steelers12

    hey Darth i went to my fair share of VATECH games and Bucky Hodges in my opinion is underrated vastly in terms of receiving ability, Evans the qb struggles with accuracy and Hodges was swiping that ball out of the air he would be steal for now his blocking on the other hand is non-existent the guy cant even get into a 3-point stance

  • NCSteel

    I know you’re just frustrated and all but I do agree with the QB statement, if Landry isyour backup, we do not need a project to be Ben’s eventual sucessor. Wait til next year and get one early.
    Then go a grab the DB and the other OLB Inwanted you to take this year LOL

  • Steelers12

    Joe Mathis still on board along with Kazee and Elder. Cannon still there at WR but no need for him now. Lawson and Hodges are intriguing and i hope we grab Hodges. Jalen Myrick could be useful especially wirh Ross coming to the division. Samson Ebukam is also and interesting prospect. Wish Jerod Evans would go undrafted and come to us via free agency

  • Jaybird

    #12 you asked me about Hodges’s before. I don’t know enough about him . I don’t watch as much college football as I used to , so I rely on you guys and the Depot and some media.

  • Steelers12

    in my opinion he has size and speed, can track the ball, not afraid to work the middle, knows how use his frame boxing others out, very strong and a bonus i think people dont talk about a lot is he is a former QB so he knows how coverage works. But he does lack toughness and can’t block.

  • Jake Milman

    I still like Corn Elder here in the 4th.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Luckily for us, we don’t need him to block. We have David Johnson and one of the best O-Lines in football for that. Lol. We just need him to not be concussed, and to help us score TD’s.

  • Jaybird

    I don’t think we go CB any more in the draft. I would have taken two if they did it earlier , but not now.
    I would like to get Kittles or Butt, Javancy Jones for ILB, and after that I really have no opinions. Maybe a safety if any are left. And I never leave O linemen off the board – they always seem to take one late.

  • Michael James

    I want secondary help in the 4th round and Samson Ebukam in the 6th or 7th round. This would make me a very happy man.

  • Steelers12

    You prefer Yancey over maybins
    I wouldn’t fuss about either one

  • Steelers12

    Well he is your man. I really hope he falls to us. I want another trophy or 2 before 7 retires

  • Zhan 使美国再次伟大

    That’s a pretty good list.

    There are still some good guys out there. Ebukam, Nicholson, Gerry, and King (you’re right about him) would be solid day three pickups…

  • Andrew

    I would love to see Howard Wilson or Carl Lawson fall to us. They would be a major steal in this frame. Likewise, Butt or Kittle would be good value in the 4th also.

  • Jonas

    I agree.
    Kittle in Rd 4. Or Corn elder in 4 and Sprinkle/Butt in 5.
    A ILB & NT (short, fat run stopper with long arms please) and I’m good.

  • Jaybird

    I’d really like to see DJ gone . In today’s NFL these one dimensional guys just don’t cut it anymore. I’d love to see us Get Kittle. Might turn into just as good a blocker and is a much better recieving threat. But I know DJ ain’t going anywhere, barring injury.

  • Alan Tman

    Bucky Hodges, Xavier Woods, Samson Ebukam or Keion Adams, and Javancy Jones, Dylan Cole, Kai Nacua or a QB.

  • Andrew

    Can I just say that I’ve been ok with this draft. My least favorite pick so far has been TJ, as I’m not sure he will be the stud we all see him as. I would have gone secondary in the first and nabbed an OLB in the second (I miss Rivers). JuJu doesn’t fill a major need, but he instantly upgrades our slot WR. Eli was fine, but JuJu is more dynamic. Sutton has good skills but lacks measurements. If he develops well enough, he could be a quality player, and maybe our future slot guy. Conner was a reach, but he would not have been there in the 4th. He is a good player and should provide quality depth for Bell. Again, the draft hasn’t been perfect, but I feel comfertable with the players we have taken.

  • Jonas

    Glen Antoine, 6-1 340 lbs, for example.

  • JT

    On board with Myrick, Allen, and Nicholson all the way. Love them all.

    Add for Ejuan Price, Ebukam, Keion Adams, and Phillips as additional edge depth.

    Wouldnt mind TE Michael Roberts either.

  • Brian Tollini

    Kittle and Kazee and Jalen Reeves-Maybin……Woods, Rayshon Jenkins and possibly Switzer…. these are a few of my favorite things…

  • Big Joe

    If they want a QB or if they want to take a chance on Lawson or Butt (won’t be ready for season but he’ll contribute later on or next year) then I think they should take that pick early in 4th using a 3rd from next year. They can use the regular 4th on something else.

  • AndyR34

    Thank you!

  • Big Joe

    Me too so far.

  • Brian Miller

    I agree…move him inside?

  • Lee Foo Young

    When you pick 30th in each round, you just have to take BPA. Pickings get slim down there.

  • Brian Miller

    I am not very excited about them potentially drafting Nicholson or any QB for that matter. I just don’t think Nicholson would make the team. I would rather them take a chance on Pryor from the Jets…

  • Brian Miller

    Me too…or Chidobi, or Obi for that matter…very frustrating…thought we would have a chance for Jourdan Lewis too…damn you Cowgirls…

  • Brian Miller

    Yeah, this is the team that NEVER uses TEs correctly…remember they let Bennett AND Greg Olsen go for nothing…yeah, this will work out for them…John Fox is a moron when it comes to offense and scheming…

  • Brian Miller

    I always look forward to your posts Darth…well done…personal favorite of late…

    – WR’s… Mack Hollins/Shelton Gibson/KD Cannon: In the words of Hunter S. Thompson:
    (“Once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”)

    Well done good sir, well done!

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh yeah. He already played Middle LB in college. I love his 3 year stat line. 276 tackles. A whopping, 38 tackles for loss. 4 Int’s. 8 FF’s and 6 FR’s. And 12 PD’s.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I have Ebukam on there.

  • Gautama Om

    blocking non-existent = off Steelers board, especially when there’s tons of other TE options (relatively speaking)

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Not necessarily in that order

  • Steelers12

    david johnson is the blocking TE

  • Matt Manzo

    I hope we don’t trade up for a QB! And I hope we don’t take Kaaya.
    If Dobbs go before us I’d wait for Evans.
    My choices of the guys listed for those positions, in order:

    TE: Kittle, Butt, Hodges

    ILB: Ebukam, Brown, Maybin

    CB: Wilson, Myrick, Kazee

    QB: Dobbs, Evans, Peterman

  • Roger G

    “To not be concussed” lol…good one Darth

  • Roger G

    Pardon my naivety but who’s Hunter S. Thompson?