Zierlein 2017 Mock Draft 4.0: Steelers Select Miami TE David Njoku 30th Overall

Are you almost mock-drafted out? I hope not, because with a little over one week remaining until the real 2017 NFL Draft takes place in Philadelphia, you can count on several more predictions surfacing between now and then and we will be passing several of them on to you in addition to our own.

On Wednesday, Lance Zierlein of the NFL Network released version No. 4 of his mock of the 2017 first round and when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has a somewhat surprising choice for them at 30th overall.

Zierlein has the Steelers selecting Miami tight end David Njoku at 30th overall in the first round and he writes:

Njoku is extremely athletic and talented, but he’s raw and in need of some seasoning. Still, he would be a great selection here.

Zierlein has Njoku as his second and final tight end being selected in the first round as he has Alabama’s O.J. Howard coming off the board 8th overall to the Carolina Panthers.

Njoku, who measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6040, 246-pounds, caught 64 passes for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns in his two seasons at Miami. His combine performance included him running the 40-yard-dash in 4.64 seconds and he posted a vertical jump of 37 1/2-inches to go along with a broad jump of 11’1”. His short shuttle time was 4.34 seconds and he did 21 reps on the bench.

The Steelers haven’t drafted a tight end in the first round since Heath Miller was selected 30th overall in 2005.

Should Njoku ultimately wind up being selected by the Steelers a week from Thursday, it would undoubtedly be a sign that the team doesn’t have much confidence in the future of current tight end Ladarius Green, who missed 10 regular season games and all three playoff contest last year after signing a four-year, $20 million free agent contract with the team in March of 2016.

As for the Steelers potentially being interested in Njoku, general manager Kevin Colbert did attend the Miami pro day several weeks ago and reportedly dined with tight end and Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.

In case you missed his three previous mock drafts, Zierlein had the Steelers selecting Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis in his first two offerings and Njoku in his third one.

  • WreckIess

    I wouldn’t take Njoku over Lawson, Harris, or Watt.

  • falconsaftey43

    Njoku would be hard to pass up from a pure talent stand point.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    No thanks. Defense or bust.

  • AndyR34

    Difficult call…depends completely on their view of Green.

  • Agreed! Probably the only offensive player I would consider taking with the 30th pick that has a realistic shot at being there.

  • Joey

    I wouldn’t mind this, but I would crap a brick if any of the top pass rushers are up there still.

    If we take an offensive player I hope it is not a QB, RB, or WR… we can have Kaaya in the 3rd, and find our normal 3rd round WR.. There is gold in the mid rounds this year!

  • Brendan

    You’re nuts.

  • falconsaftey43

    There are 3 offensive players I wouldn’t be mad at in the 1st, Ross, Davis, Njoku. Would prefer a defensive player, but those 3 guys are impact players on offense. Let’s not forget that our offense was just as bad as our defense in the AFCCG.

  • Steelers12

    agree but i would consider Ross if he is there

  • nikgreene

    I agree the offense was bad in the AFFCCG, though they were missing Bell for 3+ quarters, In addition, there is the potential that Bryant, Coates, and Green all make an impact this season, of course all 3 all huge question marks. However, if the team drafts a TE or WR in the first round, and the players already on the roster are healthy, you have to wonder how easy it will be to get the first round offensive weapon playing time. At the same time they would be passing on a CB, Edge, Hybrid Safety, all of whom would have a much clearer path to playing time.

    I guess my bigger point is that with Ben potentially out of the league in the next season or two, and the championship window closing with his departure, the team can’t afford to draft a player who is less likely to make a year 1 contribution. Anyway, it will be fascinating to see what happens.

  • Michael James

    I would rather like a defensive player in the first round, but if Njoku really falls to us it will be incredibly hard to pass on such a stud with nearly unlimited upside.

  • falconsaftey43

    I’ve thought a lot about it, and used to be on your side regarding playing time being hard to find is all those guys are healthy. BUT I’ve changed my mind recently. Especially at TE. Even if Green is 100% good to go, then you just play a lot of 2 TE sets. Njoku is already a better blocker than Green or James, and he’s a much more dynamic passing threat than James, so James goes to being a great backup. Green and Njoku can flex out, so you have lots of options, playing time shouldn’t be difficult to find.

    WR is a little murkier. Let’s say Bryant is back and Coates looks like early season Coates. Those guys are playing a lot. But you’d be able to play Ross in the slot over Rogers (whom I like, but Ross is much much better). Davis could also play the slot (superb route runner and played inside quite a bit in college). So there are snaps to be had there. I think either would potentially push Coates to the bench even if he is looking good just because he’s much more of an inconsistent type of player.

  • Mark DeSevo

    I would take him at 30 if he’s there. This draft has plenty of pass rushers and defensive backs.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    The guy is an immense talent but I’m not sure how well he fits our O.

  • WreckIess

    We really don’t need much more on offense. i mean damn how much more offense do we need. Grab an Edge guy, grab a corner. Hell I’d even take Meli F’n fonwu over another guy on offense.

  • Brendan

    Did you watch the last two games of the season? They couldn’t score to save their lives. Take the best player. Drafting an edge with a 3rd round grade isn’t going to help this team.

  • Sam Clonch

    Guys who were still on the board: Lawson, Harris, Awuzie, Peppers, Obi.

    TE would be a hard sell with all those names still out there.

  • nikgreene

    You make some good points and it would be interesting if that is how it plays out. If all offensive players are healthy, then my question would be: is the upgrade of a TE over James / a WR over Rogers/Coates greater than the upgrade of a CB over Golson/Gay, or an Edge that can split time with Harrison and keep Chickillo/Moats off the filed.

  • WreckIess

    Because we were playing against the No.1 and No. 7 ranked scoring defenses with a bunch of #4 wide outs posing as #2 wide outs in both games, 100+ yards worth of drops by those wideouts in the Pats game and no Le’veon Bell. In the Chiefs game, Jesse James ended up with 83 yards and he was the only player other than AB who had over 27 receiving yards. A Tight End was the least of their worries.

    And you can’t be serious if you really think any of the OLBs I just listed don’t have a 1st round grade. You must not watch much.

  • Ace

    I would take him over Lawson and Harris, in the first round. I’m not sure Harris is a fit for the PS D, Lawson is a second round talent. Watt is a tough one to evaluate, but I would probably take Njoku over him at this point.

  • John

    Both NJoku and Davis look like studs on film. The OLB market seems mostly
    Second and third round. Many corners available also.

  • falconsaftey43

    Talent wise, no, the jump from James/Rogers to Ross/Davis/Njoku is smaller than the jump from Gay/Chick/Moats to say Harris/King/Humprey etc. But that stuff kind of requires a crystal ball. We could just as easily take an edge guy then come playoffs Green is on IR, Coates can’t catch a cold, Bryant is suspended and we’re again left throwing to Ayers/Hamilton and wishing we’d have taken Njoku who is lighting it up in Atlanta. We all want the “perfect” draft where we fill all our needs and everything falls just right, but we can’t see how things play out. That’s why I’d be ok taking one of those offensive guys, they’ll make an impact as rookies, and are really good players, that’s what I want in my early picks. I’d still prefer a stud defensive talent, but I’m not against the offensive guys.

  • Mark

    We need S, CBs, and LBs that can cover for more than 2.5 seconds to allow the rush to get home.

  • John

    Harris might have a first round grade but as you note the fit is off. The other guys it is unclear. Your point above comes across as we need another stud WR or a stud TE. Hence the other comments.

  • Brendan

    Your logic has me so confused. Do you not think we’re going to have to go through those teams to win a title?

    Exactly, the receivers were not up to par. That’s why we need to bring in better players at that position. I’m not sure why tight end is the least of their worries when they have one that only played a few games and another who’s a no. 2 tight end at best.

    And has John said, Harris maybe but the other two or Day 2 guys. Sorry you can’t see it.

  • WreckIess

    When did I say that Harris was a bad fit or that we need to find a Wide out or a Tight End? I literally said that I would want him over Njoku and that the team doesn’t need to take another offensive player that early.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    How is Harris not a fit?

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    It wasn’t Wreckless that said Harris isn’t a fit. Not that it matters, cuz Harris is an ideal fit. In fact, he should probably be the highest rated OLB on the Steelers board.

  • nikgreene

    Again, you have some thoughtful opinions. I guess, for me, the holes on defense are more obvious. Harrison is nearly 40 and his backups are JAGs. Gay is nearly out of the league and Golson hasn’t even put on pads. Vince Williams could be a liability if forced to stay on the field in nickel. Whereas, on offense we already have three stars, four if Bryant gets his act together. I’d rather draft top end defensive talent the first 2 rounds. It is likely there will still be TEs and WRs that can make a meaningful impact in the 3rd and 4th rounds, though granted, they may not play much their rookie seasons, will not have the upside of Davis or Njoku.

  • John

    Sorry. Someone else noted the bad fit. As to offense, our three best pass catchers (save Bell) are AB, Bryant and the TE with the concussions. Two of them are question marks. The projections for this draft are that it has a TON of edge rushers with quality into rounds 3-4. I saw one mock today day had Lawson going to Pats in round 3. Another had Watt at end of round 2. We could use the offense if we get the right guys.

  • Mark

    All I know is that defense wins and Belichick and his crew give us fits.

  • WreckIess

    At no point did I say that we wouldn’t have to go through those teams. I’m saying we don’t need another Tight End to beat those teams. That’s really not that hard to understand.

    If you believe that we need to get better at the WR position, whatever, that’s your opinion, but how exactly would drafting Njoku, a Tight End, be “bringing in better guys at the position”? They are two different positions.

    And John said Watt and Lawson are Day two guys? Well damn, that settles it. Nevermind if a lot of draftniks see Lawson as a viable late 1st to mid 2nd round pick and Watt has been rising ever since the combine. As long as John sees them as strictly day two picks it must be true.

  • John

    I have seen draftniks question the fit. On other fronts Missouri has been pumping out OLBs with big stats for a few years now and it is unclear how great any those guys are. ray with the Broncos seems to be the best but he had his issues. I think one of the issues with Harris may be he never had to cover much. The RIvers and Bowser kids seem interesting.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Not me man, I am going stubborn on this one. We need defense badly. We have enough offense, they just need to play up to their abilities.

  • falconsaftey43

    I agree with all you’re saying. I used to want only D early, but have come around and opened up to offense being ok, but D prefered. We’ll see, only 8 days left!

  • Ace

    Testing was terrible. Doesn’t play the run well. No bend to him. Stiff.
    More of a guy suited to just get after the QB and play the run occasionally. Not sure how he would fare dropping into coverage. I think he should put on ten more pounds, get up to 265-270 and play a weak side DE. Think the Cowboys will take him in the first too.

  • John

    Not to continue this, but NJoku’s athleticism on film looks freakish. You can play two TEs with him and use him as a hybrid player. Watt has played Lb one year and was hurt all of the prior year.

  • Brendan

    WR/TE are pass catchers. They line up, run down the field, and catch the ball. The Steelers need more of those guys to score more points. A first round caliber guy at TE/WR would help them do that.

    And many have them as day 2 guys as well. I side with them. They both have serious faults (ability to stay healthy, lack of pass rush moves.) One of the bloggers on this site posted a sack compilation of Watt’s sacks from this year. They aren’t impressive at all. No spin move, no rip. An ok bull rush but that’ alone won’t work at the NFL level. In fact they look a lot like Jarvis Jones’ sacks at Georgia. Lawson’s is a little better but that dude struggles to stay healthy. And his bend worries me (second worst 3 cone of all edge guys.)

  • WreckIess

    Ok? And I’ve seen a mock where we go QB and WR as our 1st and 2nd pick with Watt going to the Lions at pick 21. I’ve also seen one where we draft Peppers with Watt going to the Packers before us, Harris going the pick behind us, and Lawson going to NO right after that. Mock Drafts are like NCAA brackets. Every nobody and know nothing has one so I’m not going to look at just one and assume that’s how it will go.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Kevin Colbert has always been a bit unpredictable when it comes to the 1st round. I was SHOCKED when he drafted Mendenhall. I was SHOCKED when he drafted Ziggy Hood. I was fairly surprised when he drafted both Shazier and Heyward (although they were both good players) because we had bigger “needs” elsewhere.

    This year, I would not be a bit surprised if Colbert drafted any of the following offensive players:

    QB – Mitch Trubisky
    QB – Deshaun Watson
    QB – Pat Mahomes

    TE – O.J. Howard
    TE – David Njoku

    WR – Mike Williams
    WR – Corey Davis

    I’m not saying that “I” would draft any one of them, I’m saying “Colbert” would. Granted, I also don’t think any of those 7 prospects will be available at 1.30 so it’s probably a moot point.

  • Chenz33

    I’m mocked out when it comes to the mocks with TE or WR at 30. That’s for sure.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Legget in the 3rd!

  • nikgreene

    Sheesh. Yeah, the draft can’t get here soon enough. Though discussions like this are fun and sometimes illuminating. After our little talk I’ve lightened a little on the prospect of an offensive pick, Take it easy.

  • Steelers12

    But health has been an issue

  • John

    They probably take Peppers there. What we want to hope for is a lot of teams take QB and OL in round one with DL mixed in.

  • WreckIess

    Can we please stop with these lazy Jarvis Jones comparisons? They’re the most overused trigger words used on this site other than “beat the Patriots” and it’s completely incorrect especially if you’re trying to imply that Jarvis had any simbilance of a bull rush ever.

    Watt has good hand usage, length, athleticism, versatility, and he’s definitely flashed bend. His issue is that he’s raw and hasn’t been taught how to use his God given ability as a pass rusher, but a guy with a 1.59 10 yard split, a 10 ft broad, a 37 inch vert, and a 6.79 3 cone can definitely be taught how to get off explosively, bend, dip, rip, and he has the arm length to keep tackles off of him.

    As for Lawson, he uses his hands the best of anyone in the draft, he has pass rush moves for days, and while he isn’t the bendiest(even though he did get that 3 cone down at his pro day) he has enough bend to allow his hand usage to soften the edge anyway.

  • Sam Clonch

    Personally I’d prefer Harris, but I’m not going to complain if they land ANY of those guys.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Talk about no clue. Harris is probably bends the edge and flattens to the QB better than anyone in this draft. He is not the least bit stiff. Willie McGinnest spent the entirety of the on field drill session at the combine drooling over Harris’ drops and exclaiming how much money he was making himself that day. He does need to spend some time in gym, get stronger, and improve on setting physical edge. That’s easily doable. This guy is literally tailor made for what the Steelers need. Go watch the tape.

  • JT

    I was originally very anti-offense Rd 1. But freaks like Njoku and Ross are too impactful. If guys like Obi and Reddick are gone, you can’t pass on such pure talent.

  • Carl Mendelius

    Njoku is extremely raw, route running needs a lot of work, and doesn’t block either. He is just a freak of an athlete with good receiving skills. Ultimately Njoku is a very nice project not ready to contribute much right now. But make no mistake, Jesse James is not the answer for the Steelers.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Rivers played div 2 ball, exclusively on the left side, with his hand in the dirt. Now he’s gonna play in the NFL, on the right side, from 2 point stance? Riiiggghhhht. Lol. Bowser is interesting. An extremely raw (at least two years away) former bball player with great athleticism. Interesting tho…. point is, neither of these guys is what you’re hoping they are. At least not yet. Maybe in 2 years, but not now. Maybe not ever.

  • Jason Vancil

    He absolutely has to be in the mix if he lasts. He looks special and could contribute early. Have to feel confident that an Edge you like will be there at 2.62 though(Lawson, Rivers, etc…)

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    A note to the uninformed:
    Harris is the most natural bender in the draft. Anyone who watched his combine or pro day workout (including Willie McGinnest) raved about his ability to drop. How fluid and natural he looked. He bends the edge and flattens to the QB with ease. He does need to work on setting a more physical edge in the run game. That’s not hard to teach. Also, he has experience rushing from 2 point stance.

  • Ryan Alderman

    So best case you have a triplet pairing of James, Green, and this guy. There’s EASILY your No. 2 or 3 options, or BOTH, for Ben behind Brown to go along with their do everything all world back. Kills two birds with one stone and makes getting Bryant back the proverbial cherry on top of that Steelers sundae. I’d say go for it!!

  • Big Joe

    When faced with the boss wanting to improve the pass rush, I find it difficult to absorb a Rd 1 TE until some progress has been made to draft defensive players who have a higher than average chance of contributing earlier than next year. That means Rds 1-3. I know Green is a wild card but if the situation there is that bad that they have to go TE in Rd 1 or 2, then he’ll be a post-June 1st cut after the draft.

  • Big Joe

    I agree. Engram is similar but much faster and has better route running. Still, the draft is too unpredictable to avoid addressing the pass rush in Rd 1 at either OLB, S, ILB, or CB. If solid prospects at all those positions are gone by 30 then I’d slide back into early 2nd – if possible – to get value there rather than taking a not-yet-ready TE. I’m sure BB would be happy for the pass catching contribution but a new WR gets him the same thing.

  • Ace

    Willis McGinnest is an idiot and has no idea what he is talking about. He has no right to be anywhere near a football field unless hes got a helmet on. We will see how his ability translates soon enough. 7.47 3 cone tells me plenty about his athletic ability.

  • Big Joe

    The draft prospect listings are all over the place on Mahomes as an end of Rd 1, mid-2, or other draft position. If an early Rd 2 team wanted move up to 30 to try to get him, I’d let them rather than reach and get an extra pick then take an early Rd 2 S, CB, ILB, OLB or WR.

  • Brendan

    Not if it applies. They both had impressive numbers as college players but a majority of their sacks are coverage sacks or they aren’t blocked at all. I never said Watt isn’t a great athlete, but I want more than that from a first round pick.

    People like you want to box them into drafting an edge in the first round and you won’t be happy if they don’t, even if it means passing on better prospects. It’s making you emotional and skewing your judgement.

  • T3xassteelers

    Wouldn’t it be awesome to see us have Njoku AND Green on the field at the same time? (Of course, saying Green and having him actually be on the field is another story but the thought seems fun)

  • T3xassteelers

    I think this is the first time I’m actually bored of looking at mock drafts.

  • WreckIess

    Not really. It’s still pretty lazy. It comes with implications that he can’t beat tackles or that he benefitted from those around him which just isn’t the case. All you did was watch a highlight tape and put him in a box because of it instead of actually watching the tape. It’s lazy. He flashed everything you need to see out of a pass rusher whereas Jarvis didn’t flash much, but a quick first step. That shows up on tape not on a highlight tape.

    So you think all I want is an EDGE guy? Ok, but what about when I said “Grab an Edge guy, grab a corner. Hell I’d even take Meli F’n fonwu over another guy on offense”? That was me putting them in a box and not being happy unless they draft an EDGE? That’s me being emotional and letting it skew my judgement? Or is that just you not reading? Because it sounds like the latter.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I appreciate the differing opinion, but I believe Pat Mahomes is a SURE first rounder.

    There are about 8 teams that legitimately need a QB, and I think you’ll see one of them pick him by about 1.20 (or possibly sooner).

  • Gerald Brown

    Njoku probably won’t get past the Giants, but I would take him in a heartbeat. When you’re picking 30th out of 32 you can grab a luxury pick. Plus who knows how healthy Green would be. Having that tight end that could stretch the seam is extremely valuable to the Steelers success. Give me Njoku in the 1st, Rivers in the 2nd and Jourdan Lewis in the 3rd. Anybody who has a problem with this is like Brendan say “NUTS.”

  • Big Joe

    Very possible. Some have Dizer in late 1 / early 2 as well but who knows.

  • WreckIess

    The way you guys talk about the back of the first round is like there are only 32 players who actually deserve to be taken in 1st. You take what the BPA that fits a need at the 30th pick just like you do with the 1st pick. The back of the first isn’t where you take luxury picks especially when you have holes. Say what you want about Green, but if the team really thought they needed a TE they wouldn’t have only brought in two late rounders for a visit.

    You’re also making a hell of a lot of assumptions if you think the draft is going to shake up like that. No guarantee that any of those players make it to that pick so speaking on it like it’s a sure this is pretty ridiculous.

  • Brendan

    Wait, so if his sack HIGHLIGHTS aren’t impressive then what is the rest of his tape going to show? And I’m assuming since you’re calling me lazy that you’ve watched all the Wisconsin and Auburn games start to finish, correct? Was the 8th defensive snap against LSU a run or a pass, and who made the tackle?

    And you never explained your thoughts on the DBs, only the edge guys. That’s why I assume that’s who you really want. I actually want them to draft a DB I round one because I like so many of the prospects and think so many would represent good value.

  • Gerald Brown

    You took what I wrote and ran with it. Never suggested that only 32 guys are worthy of a 1st round pick nor did I make any guarantees on how the draft will play out, simply gave you a mock based off of player projections. Also don’t assume that because Njoku wasn’t brought in for a pre draft visit he’s not a want/need for the Steelers. Tomlin and Colbert were at his pro day and dined with him, which in recent years is more of an indicator to 1st round picks than a pre draft visit.
    Another thing to keep in mind is what you presume to be an immediate need for the Steelers might not be what they’re thinking. Sure they liked Green prior to signing him, but they also have more info on his health than we do. Getting a guy like Njoku could be a bigger need then you think.
    The idea of simply not taking a talent like Njoku because you feel you have a bigger need is ridiculous. You end up reaching when you draft that way. The Steelers are picking 30th for a reason. There’s a lot of talent on that team both defensively and offensively. At that position you can afford a luxury pick. Especially one that could be a need if Green doesn’t pan out.

  • WreckIess

    So you don’t watch any tape? There’s literally a website dedicated to showing you cut ups on individual players and the only thing you’ve ever watched was a sack video on this website? Why the hell should I value your opinion on the matter again? I mean no one here’s a pro scout, but at the very least we’ve watched guys play lol.

    I didn’t mention any DBs because you immediately made the incorrect assumption that all I wanted was an EDGE guy and tried to keeping going at that even though I clearly said on my 2nd post the positions that I would take over Njoku.

  • WreckIess

    It’s not about the player in particular. It’s the position. If they had real interest in TEs they would’ve brought in more TEs. They brought in 7 EDGE guys so there’s obviously some interest there. They brought in the 3 major hybrid safety types(Baker, Melifonwu, and Jones). Some early to mid round slot options? They brought them in so there’s interest. TEs? Not really.

    Even in 2015 when we drafted Bud. Sure he wasn’t in for a visit, but we still brought in 7 EDGE guys (just like this year) and 9 corners. The top two picks ended up being an EDGE and a Corner. The visits might not tell you who, but they tell you what.

  • “WC”

    Personally I would only go offense if certain players are available.

    They have got to get more pressure up the middle and also have the flexibility to play man and or zone coverage or a little of both depending upon whom they happen to be playing.

    Many times great player(s) are only great due to the players/schemes he happens to be playing with.

    Putting extreme pressure up the middle or from wherever puts a lot of stress on the offensive line. If they can’t run they’re going to have to throw and vice a versa.

    For example the Ravens have a really good NT in the middle. He can handle many double teams, now think about that for a minute.

    Yes the NT is used as much anymore, but you still need a great one nonetheless.

    Putting pressure up the middle to handle both runs or passes with the right type of player can be found, if you know where to look.

    Many thought Billings would fit the bill, and maybe he still may be, but not with the Steelers.

    Maybe it’s just me but I’d go with the best versatile NT rated #1 in the draft, then go LB in the second, then secondary help for the two 3rd choices.

    You can find offensive help in the later rounds if those players are still available.

  • John M.

    Keep saying to yourself only 8 days til the draft, only 8 days, only 8 days, only 8 days……

  • Gerald Brown

    I completely agree with you when it comes to what the Steelers have shown interest in. What I don’t agree with is passing on Njoku for Harris, Lawson and TJ Watt because of need. Especially when all 3 of those guys are projected 2nd rounders and Njoku is 1-2 at his position. As fans I think we get so caught up on the immediate need we sometimes miss the bigger picture. Having a Njoku could be huge especially when Green missed 10 games last year and with the draft being so deep at pass rush and DBs passing on a talent like Njoku would be hard. Like I said before, I don’t think Njoku gets past NY Giants but if he does I wouldn’t hate the pick. Right now I have them going DB in round 1 and OLB in round 2.

  • John

    FYI lots of underclassmen im the draft including Peppers, Humphrey, Njoku, Harris and others. Steelers love those guys. We will see who they take. Just sayin though.

  • Brendan

    Look if you all have days to dedicate to watching tape that’s fine but I watch as much college football as I can, whick I think is quite a bit.

    You brought up OLBs! Not me. But I’m done with this back and forth it’s going nowhere.

  • LucasY59

    2014 was worse they moved the draft back to the middle of May, longest wait for the draft ever, seemed like it was an extra 2 months (instead of weeks) I was definitely burned out on mocks that yr

  • WreckIess

    When did I say they didn’t like underclassmen?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I’m not bored of it, it’s just boring waiting for the draft. It’s just too long of a wait when it could be sooner than this.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yes! They really didnt need to push it back an extra month.. *sigh*

  • T3xassteelers

    See, I’m more burned out this year than that year.. I dunno why honestly. That was horrible though

  • Rocksolid20

    What # wide outs and TE’s was Brady playing with , made our defense look like a bunch of monkeys .

  • Darth Blount 47

    I know picking NJoku has to give you a bit of a tingle down your leg, Dave, lol. But honestly, in this loaded TE class, there isn’t much point of investing in a TE so highly, when a very good value added guy can be gotten in the middle rounds, if we wanted to go that route. I like NJoku, personally as well, as he could end up being the best TE out of this class. But we have shown virtually NO interest in the TE’s in this deep class for whatever reason. Either it’s because we secretly love a few and are looking to grab one, or we feel good and recognize that we have other pressing needs to address. Either way, it’s extremely hard to get a read on just what Colbert thinks about TE this year.

    NJoku combines all of the aspects that you want in an elite TE. But as an only 9-game starter in college, you’re basically banking on projection over production. Which is a terrifying way to go in the 1st round of the drafts and is very anti-Colbert philosophy. I’d be shocked if he were our 30th selection. And I guess more than that, I’d be pretty stunned if he were still on the board, if Howard indeed goes off that early at 8th overall. Quite a few teams could use an elite level TE between 8-29.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I think both Harris and Watt are generally considered 1st rounders… who MAY fall into the 2nd. Especially Harris. (Watt a bit more on name, most likely)
    Lawson I think has shown himself to be a 2nd rounder who could fall into the 3rd. Unlikely, but possible.

    But I agree that I’d certainly look long and hard about taking NJoku over those 3 particular names. But I WOULD NOT take NJoku over a few of the other Edge guys that I like more than those 3. NJoku is a luxury pick whether he technically seems like it or not. No one can argue that OLB is a true and definitive NEED.

  • Darth Blount 47

    At the Combine, Harris was an enigma because he looked EXCELLENT in all of the agility drills performed, but then proceeded to flunk the measurable portion of the show, lol. So with Harris, you need to go back to the tape. Which when you do, it helps save his case and lean him back to being closer to his agility drills and not the measurables, agreed.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Bowser will be good, mark those words down.

  • Darth Blount 47

    He’d fit with anybody’s O.. lol.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’d take Obi.

  • Darth Blount 47

    You keep pounding those 1st round QB’s…. Lol. 😉

  • Darth Blount 47

    Mahomes will be gone to Houston if not earlier, it’s basically a guarantee.

  • Gerald Brown

    I agree with your draft projections of Harris and Watt. I’m surprised the Steelers haven’t shown more interest in Harris. Also agree that Njoku is a luxury pick, that I believe the Steelers could afford. I’m curious to know which Edge guys you would take over Njoku?
    OLB is a definitive need and I would be out of my mind to argue that. Just don’t see you passing on a talent like Njoku, just because you have a need. Lets say they pass on Harris & Watt for Njoku and then get a guy like Lawson, Rivers or even Williams (last resort) in the 2nd. That’s a move I could get behind.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Well said

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    I do know you like Tyus Bowser. You been driving that bus for a while now. For the record, I think he’s way more worth taking a chance on than Rivers. But let the record show: if Bowser ends up being what I think he might, it’ll be you who said and believed it before anyone else.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Okay, so I’m a huge proponent of maximizing draft value. And I probably drive Dave B. nuts because I’m so obsessed with placement. Why take a guy in the 1st, if you feel like you can get him in the 2nd, or 3rd, right?

    So for the sake of answering your question, let’s pretend as though it’s “NJoku or player B, or bust.” That way, it truly comes down to getting who you want now, or completely missing out. So which Edge/OLB guys would I want, not including the pure ILB’s, over NJoku, regardless whether it’s a bad “spot” to take them there?

    The list no matter how far fetched the chance or a reach:

    Myles Garrett, Soloman Thomas, Johnathan Allen. Derek Barnett.
    Jordan Willis, Haason Reddick, Tarell Basham, Derek Rivers, Charles Harris, and Tyus Bowser.

    Guys I would likely consider but may probably fall short: TJ Watt, Carl Lawson, Ryan Anderson/Tim Williams, Takk McKinley, Vince Biegel, Taco Charlton, DeMarcus Walker, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Trey Hendrickson, and Chris Wormley.

    With Watt being the guy in that second group who intrigues me the most.

  • spam 90210

    Brady does that to everyone. You can’t defend picks and push-offs.

  • Gerald Brown

    Thats a long list of guys you would take over Njoku lol. Are you not high on Njoku? Out of the guys you listed I would take Garrett, Thomas, Allen, Barnett, Willis, Reddick maybe Harris and Rivers over Njoku

  • Darth Blount 47

    Haha, hey now Gerald, you just listed 8 guys and I listed 10… so we are pretty much agreed if you step back. Lol.

    I like NJoku, actually. But only starting 9 games means you are buying projection OVER production. Which is dangerous. That “2nd” list of guys are the ones who NJoku would probably get picked over for me. But that 1st list of guys are definitely guys I’d want to walk away from this draft owning, more than I would a TE. OLB is just too great a need.

    I know many people subscribe to the “Best Player Available” philosophy, but NOT me. I like to examine for weaknesses, and fill those needs. Especially with a team as close to the top in terms of talent as we already are.

    NJoku is good. Pretty good actually. But he has a bit of bust potential because that happens at TE at a greater frequency than a lot of positions. And more than anything, this TE class looks deep, so I think I could ultimately pass on NJoku, and still get a TE later if I wanted to go that route. But for this exercise, I wanted to stay away from draft projecting.

  • Mike Lloyd

    Darth, give me some alternatives that you think will be there after Round 4 at TE…Is this class deep enough that a few of these guys that go in the 4th and 5th this year would go in last year’s draft; in say…The 2nd and 3rd?
    I, too, love Njoku…But if I can get similarly graded talent later at a better value, I’m taking it later. I actually prefer if the Steelers move down 6-8 spots to get value at Edge and in the Secondary because of the depth there…I think this team’s true needs must be addressed first. Hence my question up above…

  • Gerald Brown

    Oh ok I thought both lists were guys you would take over Njoku lol. Makes more sense now. Out of the 8 guys I would pick over Njoku, I think maybe 3 would actually be available.

    The “BPA” philosophy is BS to me because coincidently the BPA for a team also fills a need. I’m all about filling needs during a draft because what’s the point of a draft if you’re not taking care of needs. In this case I think the Steelers are positioned in a place were they could afford to take a luxury pick like Njoku and come back in the 2nd and 3rd to pick up their OLB & DB. Tight end is deep, but so is DB and OLB.

    I’m assuming you’re participating in the mock draft contest Dave does each year. What positions do you think the Steelers will tackle in the first 3 rounds?

  • Bobby hains

    LoL people always twist things around on what your truly stating happens a lot… Good point tho

  • Rocksolid20

    sounds good to me .

  • Rocksolid20

    I think we all know about Green , sad but true .

  • Darth Blount 47

    Man, this TE class is unique, because it does have so much talent. And it has a “guy for all tastes” type of flavor. I think the 3rd/4th round is the true sweet-spot for this draft, since you can wait till then and get a good starter. But, the class is deep enough, that in rounds 5-6, there will still be NFL caliber guys, who are surely backups, and potential steals/starters.

    The list is quite long of guys on my radar, so bare with me…
    ( I know you said AFTER the 4th, but these are the guys to watch from the 2nd round, onwards:)

    – Evan Engram, Ole Miss. Pretty good and consistent college production. Undersized, looks and acts like a WR sometimes. FAST. Strong. Very athletic. Good arm length. Two-time team captain. Some drops. Not a great blocker. Likely among the top 2-3 receiving TE’s in the class.

    – Adam Shaheen, Ashland. Very strong, Tall, big, Ridiculously good late college production. Great feet. Athletic for size. Could be a better run blocker. Needs a bit of coaching/polish. Good pass blocker though. Could be among the best TE’s in the class.

    – Gerald Everett, S. Alabama. Undersized, really small hands, nice arm length, good late college production, very athletic, strong, smart/savvy, surprisingly good blocker. Quick. Another love him or hate him kind of guy.

    – Bucky Hodges, Va Tech. Big, tall, and underrated. Very solid – consistent college production. Fast, athletic, Good ball skills. Not the best blocker. One of the true sleepers in my opinion.

    – Jordan Leggett, Clemson. Tall and big, great late college production. Nice hands, big… Very few drops. Versatile. Self-described lazy. Not a willing blocker. Soft. Some love him, some hate him.

    – Jonnu Smith, FIU. Smaller kid all around, but consistent college production. Very athletic. Polarizing guy. Some drops. Good speed. Strong.

    – Michael Roberts, Toledo. Big kid, enormous hands, great blocker, great late college production, kinda slow, some drops, sometimes looks like a man amongst boys.

    – Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas. Tall, Long arms, big hands, but not overly athletic. Kinda the vanilla ice cream guy, in that he does everything pretty well. Buuut, may be character concerns after his Bowl game fiasco. Scouts think because he has it all, he provides good value.

    – George Kittle, Iowa. A fav around here because he LOVES to block. Limited college production, small hands, but few drops, ran fast at Combine and is athletic.

    – Eric Saubert, Drake. is an FBS kid who struggles with drops, but who is athletic, big hands, has good college production, and redzone monster.

    – Antony Auclair is a Canadian who is a big/tall, physical blocker, good/huge hands, long arms, and has a mean streak. A true Late round unknown.

    ** – Jake Butt, Michigan. The other vanilla guy who does most things well. Good hands. Tore ACL in bowl game. High character. I think he’s a tad overrated. Not the best blocker. Average arm length/hand size. Have him down here because of his injury and I’m not the biggest fan. Most think he’s a top 6-7 TE though.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh, no… I’m not ready to be nailed down on that quite yet. Plus, that’s inside information currently known by only me, God, and my dog. 😉

    See ya at the contest.

  • Terrible Towlie

    if Harris is there you gotta take him….good things happen when theres a Harris on the Steelers

  • Terrible Towlie

    OLB CB WR and S since we have 4 picks in 1st 3 rounds

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I don’t think you get me. I love his ability to stretch the field and there is no doubt he is an athlete who can catch, but I don’t trust his blocking. By saying he doesn’t fit us, I don’t think he is well rounded enough for what we want in a TE.

  • Mike Lloyd

    I always value your opinion…That’s why I ask… As I do Dave and Alex…I just can’t see grabbing a TE in the 1st when there will be major value after Round 1 AND, the depth is so ridiculous both there and at Edge and DB… Who knows maybe Colbert looks to a Njoku and sees elite talent and grabs him…
    One thing is for sure, The Steelers are in a nice position as many of their needs are available in this draft with depth throughout at those positions…
    Thanks for the input Darth, I’ll be looking for those names next week…

  • Darth Blount 47

    Well for as deep as this class is at TE, just like in most drafts, it’s rare to find a “go” TE who can also pancake block people. Usually you have to chose one or the other as a priority. Do you want a really good blocker who is an okay receiver? Or a really good receiver who is an okay blocker? Even the “top” TE this year in Howard, doesn’t block all that great. But he has all the “tools.” NJoku is a big kid. Muscular. And many think he could add some pounds and play around 260 and be fine. That might all help his NFL blocking capability.