NFL Mock Draft: Steelers Go Back to Offense After Initial Defensive Pick

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- There's no shortage of needs for the Steelers as they approach the 2020 NFL Draft. After a successful free agency, Pittsburgh can mark off a number of their prior voids, but there are still roles to fill before the beginning of the season. 

In Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson's five round NFL Mock Draft, general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin fill these holes - somewhat. 

The Steelers start with pick No. 49. Still selecting from some of the class' best talent, Pittsburgh finds an edge rusher from Alabama named Terrell Lewis.

The Crimson Tide backer tallied seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in two years for Alabama. Outside of a few injuries, he's found success in college and earned second-team All-SEC in 2019. An explosive player off the edge, he'd find plenty of contribution behind Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt during his rookie season. 

From there, the Steelers switch to offense by selecting lineman Netane Muti from Fresno State. 

Muti found success at both offense and defensive line during his early playing days but moved to guard following two torn achilles in college. After an impressive 2019 season and 44 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine, many believe he can be a contributor in the league if he can stay healthy. 

With two fourth-round picks, Pittsburgh adds offensive depth with running back Ke'Shawn of Vanderbilt and quaterback Anthony Gordon of Washington State. 

It makes sense for the Steelers to sit on their offensive needs like quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is back and feels healthy, therefore no one should doubt his ability to play in 2020. 

The fourth-round selection of Gordon brings a high-potential athlete to Pittsburgh to compete with Mason Rudolph as the backup, without stepping on any toes in year one. 

As for running back, finding a compliment for James Conner hasn't come out of Colbert's mouth but it is assumed. Conner dealt with too many injuries in 2019 to feel confident he'll last an entire season in the future. 

Benny Snell Jr. did impress the Steelers GM but having an open competition will only benefit the offense for 2020. 

Vaughn did put on impressive tape at the NFL Combine so his middle of the draft pick is justified. If the Steelers believe he can come in and play an immediate role with their backfield, he'll see contribution from day one.

Here are the Steelers four picks in the first five rounds:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

102. Pittsburgh Steelers: Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State

124. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt

135. Pittsburgh Steelers (via TEN): Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State


GM Report