With the 30th pick in the 2017 Canal Street Chronicles Community NFL mock draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select....
Haason Reddick, EDGE, Temple (6-foot-1, 237-pounds)
Frankly, I was absolutely shocked that Reddick fell here. I continue to believe that this will be the Saints pick at number 11, and was prepared to bring UCLA edge rusher Takkarist McKinley to the Steel City.
The Steelers offense is still one of the better units in the league. Despite mumblings of retirement, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger still has a few good years of quality football left. Receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell are among the best at their positions, as is the Pittsburgh offensive line. Wideout Martavis Bryant returns from last year's suspension to team with Sammie Coates and tight ends Ladarius Green and Jesse James to give the Steelers a solid receiving corps. Some time in day two or three, Pittsburgh will likely draft another running back as insurance behind Bell, as well as another tight end or receiver.
Last year's AFC runner-ups are still having nightmares about the Patriots’ Tom Brady scanning the field, unbothered and untouched, while his receivers ran roughshod through the Pittsburgh secondary in the AFC championship. Brady torched the Steelers for 384 yards on 32 completions out of 42 attempts and 3 touchdowns, while wide outs Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan combined for 17 receptions for well over 100 yards apiece.
The loss was a frustrating end for a Pittsburgh defense that had made some nice progress during the 2016 season. The Steelers finished 10th in points allowed, and sacked the opposing quarterback 38 times. 2016 first round pick Artie Burns looked like a future stalwart at cornerback, and second round safety Sean Davis provided solid play. They teamed with edge rusher Bud Dupree, linebacker Ryan Shazier, and end Cam Heyward to give Pittsburgh a solid, young nucleus of high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball.
The ageless James Harrison continues to terrorize opposing QBs, and Pittsburgh's defense continued to improve with each game. Harrison is 38 years old, however, and the Steelers have little else as a bookend rusher to the improving Dupree. Veteran Lawrence Timmons was already in the twilight of his career, but has moved on in free agency, as has former first round bust Jarvis Jones. Pittsburgh does have some young players along the defensive line, but could use another big body or two here. Another glaring weakness on defense is throughout the secondary, both at safety and cornerback.
Burns seemed to be a good first round selection at cornerback last year, but Steelers fans shouldn't expect a repeat at the position. In the 80-year history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have drafted a defensive back in the first round only seven times, and it had been 20 years prior to Burns since they had drafted a cornerback in the first. Considering the depth of the defensive back group, however, Pittsburgh will almost certainly add a couple later into the draft.
Players like Reddick or McKinley are tailor-made for the Steelers; undersized college defensive ends that are converted to outside linebackers to rush the passer out of their 3-4 defensive scheme. Reddick, in particular, has been rocketing up draft boards since completing his senior season with 10.5 sacks and over 22 tackles for loss in 2016. Undersized as a traditional defensive end, Reddick actually began his Temple career as a safety. Still somewhat inexperienced in pass coverage, Reddick's primary role in the Pittsburgh defense would be rushing the quarterback from the edge.
He is a tremendously explosive athlete with terrific change-of-direction ability. Reddick does have some issue disengaging with larger tackles, particularly in the run game. His fast first step and good bend around the edge usually allow him to beat blockers around the edge, where he has laser-sharp focus on the offensive backfield. Some of Reddick's NFL comparisons have been to Cleveland's Jamie Collins or Pittsburgh's own Ryan Shazier. Definitely a solid addition to an NFL franchise with a long history of talented linebackers.
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Community Mock Draft Results
- Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, TAMU
- San Francisco 49ers - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
- Chicago Bears - Jamal Adams, S, LSU
- Jacksonville Jaguars - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
- Tennessee Titans - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
- New York Jets - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
- Los Angeles Chargers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
- Carolina Panthers - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
- Cincinnati Bengals - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills - Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
- New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
- Cleveland Browns - Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
- Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota) - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
- Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
- Baltimore Ravens - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
- Washington Redskins - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
- Tennessee Titans (via LA Rams) - John Ross, WR, Washington
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
- Denver Broncos - David Njoku, TE, Miami
- Detroit Lions - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
- Miami Dolphins - Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
- New York Giants - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
- Oakland Raiders - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
- Houston Texans - Kevin King, CB, Washington
- Seattle Seahawks - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
- Kansas City Chiefs - Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
- Dallas Cowboys - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
- Green Bay Packers - Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Haason Reddick, LB, Temple