The Draft will be “Mean”
When the Pittsburgh Steelers make their first draft pick tomorrow night in Tennessee, if that man selected is in attendance, he will not only get to meet the greatest football player in Pittsburgh Steelers history and shake his hand, but will also be announced to the world by #75.
“Mean Joe” Greene will formally announce Pittsburgh’s first selection and for that he is honored:
“It is special. Since my draft day, more than 50 years ago, to be here and to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers No. 1 draft choice is very humbling, very humbling.”
As the Steelers go through the rest of the week tomorrow making picks and hoping to find future talent, Ben Roethlisberger will be a very interested audience member because he now knows he will be with the team for at least three more seasons after agreeing to a new contract yesterday that keeps him behind center through the 2021 season.
So who exactly will be the 2019 #1 pick for the Black and Gold? Start guessing as these professional mock drafters did below.
John McClain , Houston Chronicle and Aaron Wilson , Houston Chronicle
McClain: Greedy Williams, pCB, LSU
Wilson: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports
Byron Murphy. Byron Murphy is our top cornerback and the Steelers don't overthink it here. They really need help in the secondary, Murphy is a special talent, and he'd be the obvious replacement to 2016 first-rounder Artie Burns, who was benched midway through last season. Murphy isn't as athletic as, say, Greedy Williams, but he wowed teams at the combine with his drill work and his game tape backs it up.
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. Pittsburgh's defense has taken a big step backward ever since it lost Ryan Shazier to his unfortunate injury. I have to believe that the Steelers will be interested in a highly athletic linebacker like Devin Bush to take Shazier's place. Bush is an explosive linebacker who could be the second player at the position off the board in the first round, following Devin White.
Draftrek, Devin Bush has been near the top of the draft board for the Steelers and hasn't made it to the team in one of our mocks since before the Combine. The Steelers finally catch a break and run that card up to the podium! Bush addresses need left by Shazier's 2018 injury. GM Kevin Colbert highlighted this need back in January: "Shazier never came off the field, so when you get into dime packages, Ryan is still out there making all the calls. Sometimes you have to put a player out there that can understand and make the calls, but they might have a physical limitation that limits them. If that happens, teams are great at finding weaknesses. ...we didn't do enough [to replace Shazier] because we're 9-6-1...We're going to recognize that as we go forward for sure.
Devin Bush. The addition of linebacker Mark Barron in free agency was fine, as it certainly allows the Steelers to get more flexible picking the top talent here with their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. But, if a player like Devin Bush were to fall to this range, though a linebacker, I think he would be the wise choice. Bush’s draft stock has been rising throughout the offseason, and his Combine performance showed he’s just as much of an athlete as Devin White – who many regard as a Top 10 pick – yet Bush might have even more traits and intangibles some teams will gravitate towards. He's an instant starter at middle linebacker.
Deandre Baker. School: Georgia. Position: Cornerback The inevitable Antonio Brown trade occurred, putting receiver into the equation, though the Steelers signed Donte Moncrief in free agency. For now let's stick with the defensive needs and start the cornerback run right here. Edge rusher Bud Dupree has yet to produce like a first-round pick and inside linebacker remains a focus in the wake of Ryan Shazier's neck injury.
New York Newsday
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma. JuJu Smith-Schuster becomes the No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh after the Antonio Brown trade, but the newly signed Donte Moncrief isn’t much of an upgrade as the second receiver. Who better to replace Brown than his own cousin? “Hollywood” Brown is an explosive, speedy receiver who is a threat to take any touch to the house. Previous picks: Devin White (1.0); Greedy Williams, CB, LSU (2.0); Marquise Brown (3.0, 4.0, 5.0)
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Devin Bush is a player to watch for the Steelers, who could try to trade up for the playmaking linebacker. If not, Murphy is a quality cornerback to develop behind veterans Joe Haden and Steven Nelson.
The Pick: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
The first cornerback comes off the board and will start a run of them in the 20s. Greedy Williams is a long, fast, instinctive cornerback who doesn't love to tackle, but will be paid to do what he does best: cover and lock down receivers. Williams' 6'2" frame and 4.37 speed allow him to be an eraser against big, fast receivers—something he did often in the SEC, including a shutdown performance against D.K. Metcalf and Ole Miss. The Steelers need help at linebacker, even after signing Mark Barron, but with Devin Bush and Devin White off the board the best bet is to wait until Round 2 or 3 to get a middle 'backer.
The Sporting News
Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan
Bush did his best to match White athletically at the Combine, and the Michigan product proved his size (5-11, 234 pounds). Ryan Shazier was not much bigger, and Bush could have a similar impact in Pittsburgh.
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