Steelers' Top Late-Round NFL Draft Options By Position
PITTSBURGH -- Defensive tackle, running back, wide receiver, edge rusher, quarterback (maybe). If we're listing the positions of need for the Steelers, this is what they have left before the 2020 season, right?
So, let's see how far down the draft each position can slide before they run out of liable options. No one wants a seventh-round edge rusher playing 20 snaps a game when the talent level drops too drastically once T.J. Watt or Bud Dupree leave the field.
Mason Rudolph doesn't need a quarterback competition with another Devlin Hodges or Paxton Lynch, he's already got that. And James Conner's compliment isn't an undrafted rookie before it's Benny Snell Jr.
But these players could still add potential after the madness of the first two days are over.
Carlos Davis, Nebraska
Davis doesn't have very impressive tape, but all his physical traits are there. At 6'2, 300-pounds, there's a mold a team can build into an NFL defensive lineman with the proper training.
He also impressed at the NFL Combine with a 4.8 40-yard dash. Once again, leaving plenty to be optimistic about if you're thinking of drafting him towards the end of the draft.
An easy Day 3 guy, Davis isn't stepping into any starting role. But the Steelers have Chris Wormley, Cavon Walker and Isaiah Buggs competing for that job right now, Davis can wait and develop.
David Moa, Boise State
People forget that Moa was once an exciting college football player. As a redshirt sophomore, Moa tallied 8.5 sacks, 10 tackle for loss, 30 tackles and four pass deflections.
His fallout was strong and by the 2019 season he was a forgotten name in the FBS. Still, for a late-round pick, he's shown what he can do when he's at his best.
Moa is a hit-or-miss player with some potential - not a ton. If the Steelers want a project with some upside, Moa is on their board.
Tyler Clark, Georgia
Clark has been given the "has upside" stamp since his first day as a Bulldog. The problem is that he never amounted to the potential many believe he carries.
So, the question everyone will have on him is when is it time to give up on that potential? Before he heads to the NFL certainly isn't the answer, but that does mean his shelf life isn't going to last long if he doesn't turn things around.
A very late draft pick for many teams, Clark can be a guy that just needs the right coaching. He's not someone with much left to judge off of, though.
Bryce Huff, Memphis
Huff isn't ruled out of moving up some teams' draft boards. If he had a Pro Day and some private workouts, there's a possibility he would be a Day 2 draft guy.
For now, he remains at the bottom half of the prospects, which could help the Steelers. There's not a ton of edge rushers you'd want to use a draft pick on the first three rounds on to play a backup role. Huff is one that will be there in the late rounds.
Huff put together 16 sacks in his last two seasons at Memphis. Despite a small slowdown from 2018 to 2019, he carried the talent he had throughout college, throughout his entire career.
As a backup, there's plenty to go off of here. An easy option for the late-round pick.
Trevon Hill, Miami
Hill didn't help himself by being kicked off Virginia Tech's football team in 2018. Still, he found his way to Miami and showed that he can still play, even if it's for a different program.
There's a lot of upside for Hill. At one point, he was making noise to be a top edge rusher in his class but it's hard to recover when you have disciplinary issues.
The Steelers don't like players they need to worry about, but if they choose to speak with Hill and he can assure them his troubles are in the past, he's someone to consider to play behind Dupree and Watt.
A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Dillon is a freight train when on the field and somehow remains a secret to most of the draft world. This man has the running power of Jerome Bettis and the speed of Le'Veon Bell and when he has the ball in his hand, most people can't stop him.
Can you tell I'm high on Dillon?
This guy has fell through the cracks of an overly-crowded running back class and he's going to fall down the NFL Draft because of it. Not good for his rookie contract, but certainly good for a team like the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has always been a team to surprise you with where they select needed positions. James Conner was a third-round pick, Le'Veon Bell was a second and even Mason Rudolph fell from the first to third.
If they believe Dillon is just as good of a selection as some of these guys going in round three, they'll wait and have no problem with it.
Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Kelly impressed at the NFL Combine and likely would've boosted his draft stock if this was a normal NFL offseason. But it's not, and because of it, Kelley isn't going to find himself in the mix with the early backs taken.
The UCLA product can do it all. In his final season with the Bruins, he ran for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns and added 71 receiving yards and a score through the air.
Kelley met with head coach Mike Tomlin during the 2020 Senior Bowl and had nothing but good remarks on the organization. Pittsburgh loves their underdogs, and a walk-on at UCLA certainly fits that mold.
DeeJay Dallas, Miami
Dallas should've stayed for his senior season at Miami but instead decided to enter the draft and his timing is, well, not great.
The Hurricane is coming into a group that is already overly impressive and his six yards per carry in 2019 doesn't shine as much as it should. Keeping his last college season under 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns doesn't stand out enough for scouts and he'll drop to the later-half because of it.
For the Steelers, this is the explosive change-of-pace back they're in need of. Conner has the ability to play three downs and make plays, but Snell and Jaylen Samuels don't provide much for break-out options.
As a late-round back, he could play some role in 2020.
Van Jefferson, Florida
Some have Jefferson finding his way to the middle of the NFL Draft, but after not competing in the combine and having no way to show his skills outside of video interviews, he's going to slide.
A tough receiver, Jefferson contains all the qualities you want in a prospective draft pick. His 4.55 speed isn't slow, he had good hands and can run routes as well as anyone in the draft.
Again, if he wasn't in the middle of a talented draft class and had the ability to showcase himself, he'd be higher up. But he doesn't so he's not. Something the Steelers can benefit from.
Jeff Thomas, Miami
Thomas should be considered with some of the top receivers in this draft class but his inability to produce big numbers in games has left him at the bottom of the pack.
Scouts like what they see from Thomas during practice and believe he has Phillip Dorsett ability in the NFL. That's nothing to brag about, but for a fourth option in Pittsburgh, it's a good player to have available.
His addition to special teams will also help his draft stock. The Steelers liked what they saw from Diontae Johnson in the return game last season but this the NFL, there's always room for competition.
The Steelers aren't in the market of another Devlin Hodges. Yes, Duck did more than he should've when put into games in 2019. Still, the Steelers aren't looking for another backup with some flash, they're looking for a possible successor of Ben Roethlisberger.
Drafting a quarterback after the fourth-round leaves them with a wasted draft pick. There's no need to crowd the quarterback room with someone you can find in free agency.
The talent in the opening rounds is strong enough to find someone even if they wait. Leaving late-round options out of the question.
Who do you think the Steelers best late-round options are? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.