The Pittsburgh Steelers may have made the playoffs in 2020 but, the manner in which they lost to the Cleveland Browns didn't sit well with Steelers fans. The struggles they faced offensively all season, which included a nearly non-existent run game and continuous dropped passes, and now the off-season retirement of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and now offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert have left many wondering what the Steelers will do in this upcoming draft?
The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have the 24th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and have quite a few ways that they can use the pick. So what will be on the table when the Steelers draft? Will it be a running back, offensive lineman or a linebacker? Will the Steelers pick up an eventual successor to Ben Roethlisberger somewhere in the draft as well?
Check out some of the sleeper picks that the Pittsburgh Steelers could target this weekend.
C Landon Dickerson, Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers do need to fill a void after the retirement of Mourkice Pouncey, who is not only a Pro Bowl center but also a leader in the locker room. The Steelers most likely won't draft a center in the first round seeing as they have other, more enticing positions first. But if they were to draft a center early on, Alabama's Landon Dickerson would be the best option. Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy for his 2020 performance, which was awarded to the best center in college football. At 6'6, 325 pounds, Dickerson is a lock on the offensive line and could bring that "stop" factor that the Steelers down in order to keep Roethlisberger upright.
QB Kyle Trask, Florida
It's inevitable that the Pittsburgh Steelers will need to choose the next franchise quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Mason Rudolph is a capable backup right now, the Steelers continue to look for long-term options. Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask seems to be that pro-style quarterback that the Steelers' offense always thrives under. As a Heisman candidate leading the Gators to a successful season, Trask is already in a quarterback-heavy class that drops him to a lower first-round, most likely second-round pick. It's definitely a long-shot for the Steelers to go this route, but it's an option.
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
It's no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers had some rushing issues, in fact they were last in the league when it came to the run game. Although the Steelers have drafted running backs at some point in the last 3 drafts, they are still without a dominant back, especially after James Conner signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. While Alabama's Najee Harris is at the top of running back lists across the league, Etienne may be the sleeper pick who will bring the most production on offense.
OT Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State
As mentioned above, the Steelers need to repair their offensive line and Tevin Jenkins can bring that along. At 6'6, 320 pounds, Jenkins was a powerful part of the Cowboys' offensive line, gaining Big 12 Honorable Mention Honors his redshirt junior season and then as a senior was named to the 2020 All-Big 12 Conference Team.
TE Pat Freirmuth, Penn State
OK, so maybe Freirmuth isn't exactly a "sleeper pick" but, due to his season-ending surgery in 2020, Freirmuth's draft stock has plummeted since this time last year. In 2019 he helped lead Penn State to a Cotton Bowl victory and quarterback Sean Clifford's struggles sure didn't help with the performance. And, although Eric Ebron is a fantastic tight end, the Steelers need a blocking type tight end, and Freirmuth is just that and could still be around in the second round when the Steelers pick at 55.