NFL Draft Needs: Steelers

NFL Draft Needs: Steelers
Josh Norris and Evan Silva walk through the Steelers' top three needs and offer options for each of their draft picks.
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    Norris: Steelers Team Needs

    Norris: Steelers Team Needs
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    Norris: Browns Team Needs
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    Norris: Dolphins Team Needs
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    Norris: Bills Team Needs
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    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 1-10

    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 1-10
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    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 11-20

    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 11-20
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    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 21-32

    Norris: NFL Mock, Picks 21-32
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    Short: MLB Sleepers

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An AFC area scout said that Louisville junior QB Lamar Jackson's inconsistency as a passer hurt WR Jamari Staples during the 2016 season.

Staples finished out the campaign the owner of a 35-593-2 receiving line, but the scout in question believes that plenty was left on the field -- courtesy of Heisman winner Jackson. Said the evaluator, "That staff is really high on him. They love his leadership and talent. When you watch the tape, you see how many yards were left on the field for him due to bad throws or missed reads by Lamar Jackson." NFL Media's Lance Zierlein comps the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder to Steelers WR Justin Hunter and notes that Staples "will likely draw the attention of a team looking for a big-play lottery ticket they can try and develop as a third-day pick." The analyst would like to see improved tightness in the wideout's route-running.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 30 - 2:20 PM

A foot injury could sideline Auburn freshman DT Tashawn Manning for the rest of spring practice.

Auburn DL coach Rodney Gardner deemed Manning to be questionable for the rest of the spring session. The Tigers have just five practices remaining. Manning was a three-star recruit out of high school, but his story goes beyond a mere star rating. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in November of 2015. He subsequently underwent a grueling eight-month chemotherapy cycle which he finished last July, after which he was declared cancer-free. While Manning signed with Auburn as part of the 2016 cycle, he did not enroll in classes until this January.
Source: AL.com
Mar 30 - 2:08 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline relays that "scouts were impressed with [Ohio edge rusher Tarell Basham's] technique and athleticism" during positional drills on pro day.

One scout offered a little gem of a quote on Basham, telling Pauline that the 6-foot-4, 269-pounder showed off a "million dollar rip move." Basham took part in both defensive line and linebacking drills at pro day. He did likewise at the Combine. NFL Media's Lance Zierlein believes that the Ohio standout's "alpha playing style will appeal to teams looking to groom a solid backup with starter's potential." He figures to come off the board on Day 2, with upward mobility toward the second round.
Mar 30 - 1:55 PM

Clemson HC Dabo Swinney said that freshman QB Hunter Johnson "had the best day, for sure" during Wednesday's scrimmage.

"This is the first time we had an opportunity to put him in some designed quarterback runs like we had with Deshaun and Tajh in the past," explained co-OC Tony Elliott, "and he looked really comfortable." During Wednesday's scrimmage, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder completed 5-of-11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. A five-star recruit for the 2017 cycle, Johnson is fighting it out with Kelly Bryant and Zerrick Cooper as the Tigers tackle the unenviable task of replacing Deshaun Watson. ESPN's Tom Luginbill believes that either Cooper or Johnson will ultimately win the 2017 starting gig.
Source: ESPN.com
Mar 30 - 1:42 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compared Tennessee CB Cam Sutton to former Cowboys CB B.W. Webb.

Writes Zierlein of Sutton, "Four-year starter with the fluidity to handle man coverage on the outside, but [he lacks] desired physicality and run-support traits that zone teams covet." The analyst believes that the 6-foot-1, 189-pounder might have to coax his way into NFL action via special teams work. During Combine testing, Sutton put up respectable enough numbers on the whole, running the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds while logging jumps of 34 inches (vertical) and 120 inches (broad). A potential Day 2 pick, Sutton registered 23 tackles (2.0 for loss), an interception and four passes defended in seven games played during the 2016 campaign. A fractured ankle suffered in September kept him out of action for the first half of the season.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 30 - 1:29 PM

Houston OC Brian Johnson called his transition from Mississippi State QB coach to his current position "pretty seamless."

Johnson is taking over offensive-coordinating duties from HC Major Applewhite, who saw a promotion after Tom Herman fled the nest for Texas at the end of the 2016 season. "It’s very similar to the program I was at previously," Johnson said, "in terms of the culture and the expectations from the staff and the players and the alignment of the coaching staff." Johnson's previous program would be Mississippi State, where he spent the past three seasons as quarterbacks coach before accepting the shiny new Houston OC gig. As for the offense he will be helping to guide, junior QB Kyle Allen feels his year sitting out as a transfer from Texas A&M has helped him. Said the gunslinger, "I think last year gave me time to reflect and really grow as a person and as a player and become the man I am right now. It was tough, but at the end of it I wouldn’t change a thing." Allen has the tall task of taking over the starting mantle from Greg Ward Jr in 2017.
Mar 30 - 1:09 PM

Ohio State S Malik Hooker told PFT Live that he will not be attending the 2017 NFL Draft.

Hooker is a surefire Day 1 pick and could possibly find himself an NFL home within the top-10 picks, but he won't be in Philadelphia for hugs with Roger Goodell. Instead, the 6-foot-1, 206-pounder told PFT Live, he will be watching the draft with friends and family. Hooker continues to recover from offseason labrum and hernia surgery, but hopes to be healthy enough for summer training camp with his yet-to-be-determined pro home.
Mar 30 - 12:57 PM

Texas A&M S Justin Evans was clocked at an unofficial 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash on pro day.

Evans also rocked a stellar 41.5-inch vertical jump and an equally impressive broad jump of 10-foot-9. The 6-foot, 199-pounder needed a strong showing, too, as he did not put in a full workout at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a strained quad. Evans receives a second-round grade from Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline. Even if he is unable to land quite that high, he figures to be swept off the board by the end of Day 2.
Mar 30 - 12:44 PM
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