The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to make a splash with their first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Could that player be coming from an NCAA football dynasty?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a franchise built on great defenses, and while we’ve seen some pretty awesome offenses from the black and gold over the past few seasons, this team has won six total Lombardi Trophies because of their “Steel Curtain” toughness. However, with the team struggling to find the right “defensive mix” heading into the 2018 season, could the Steelers look towards the draft for their next impact starter on defense?
Some Pittsburgh fans have argued the team needs to draft a quarterback in the first round, while some have also cast their vote for a young safety; however, depending on who’s available, the Steelers could take a chance on another young outside linebacker.
With the 2018 NFL Combine coming up in just a few short days, Jeremy Fowler from ESPN gave his two-cents on who the Steelers should be keeping an eye on in Indianapolis:
"Rashaan Evans, inside linebacker, Alabama: Georgia’s Roquan Smith might be a better fit because of his raw speed, but he’ll likely be off the board by the 28th pick. If Evans is available, his pass rushing (15 sacks in college) would give coordinator Keith Butler another effective blitzer. He can stop the run and has ideal size at 6-foot-3, 234 pounds. Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch is another option here. The Steelers drafted two outside linebackers from the SEC — Georgia’s Jarvis Jones and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree — in 2013 and 2015, respectively."
Not every former Alabama football player becomes great in the NFL, but a majority of them actually do. Nick Saban does an incredible job of keeping his players focused throughout the season by instilling discipline and teaching the game inside and out.
You can tell his players are all about business, and that’s exactly what the Steelers need on their sideline, especially on defense.
With concerns rising about Bud Dupree’s ability to keep one of the team’s outside linebacker jobs, Pittsburgh could send a very strong message by drafting Evans. There’s no guarantee the rookie would see a ton of action in 2018, but it would give Dupree a little extra motivation to get better.
If nothing else, as a Steelers fan, you should keep an eye on Evans throughout the combine. As of now, he will probably still be on-the-board when Pittsburgh gets to use their first round pick in April. If the team decides they want to find another young defensive play-maker to compliment TJ Watt, Evans could be their guy.