As the Pittsburgh Steelers turn their attention to the NFL draft, all eyes are on Senior Bowl this weekend. Who were some players over the week and the game today that could have caught the Steelers eyes moving forward into the draft process?
J’Mon Moore, Wide Receiver, Missouri
J’Mon Moore is a big physical wide receiver who added in a 22-yard reception. He mentioned during the week that the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to meet with him at the Senior Bowl, so this is a player who is already on their watch list. Could this be a long-term Martavis Bryant replacement?
Missouri WR J'Mon Moore says he is meeting with Steelers later tonight. Physical, versatile wideout who loves to block. #Steelers
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) January 23, 2018
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge, Oklahoma
Okoronkwo was a force all week in practice, and it paid off with a big game in the Senior Bowl. He made multiple highlight plays and stood out as one of the better pass rushers at the event. The Steelers are unsure whether to pick up the fifth round option on Bud Dupree and already thin at outside linebacker as it is. The Steelers will certainly have their eye on Okoronkwo.
Kalen Ballage, Running back, Arizona State
Le’Veon Bell said he is optimistic a long-term deal will be worked out in the next month. However, nothing is guaranteed in football. Therefore, the Steelers will be looking at running back. Ballage is a height, weight, speed, athleticism guy who did not get the touches at Arizona State. He struggled on a fourth down run and was stuffed but had a big day otherwise. Out in space he runs physically and finishes runs. He needs to refine himself in the passing game, but if the Steelers want to hedge their bets, he is a later round back worth watching.
Mike McCray, Michigan, Linebacker
The Steelers are obviously in the market for a linebacker after the loss of Ryan Shazier. McCray stood out as one of the better linebackers at the Senior Bowl. He comes from a disciplined coach in Jim Harbaugh and it showed in practices as he was quick to adjust and set his teammates up. He showed well in space on Saturday, and that is the exact profile the team is looking for at linebacker. He is worth following moving forward.
D.J. Chark, LSU, Wide Receiver
Chark was arguably the best player in the actual game at the Senior Bowl. He broke free for a huge touchdown, which is what he does. He is another potential Martavis Bryant replacement as a strong deep threat.
Shaquem Griffin, UCF, Linebacker
If you do not know the story of Griffin, he is a superb athlete who was born with the birth defect of not having a left hand. That is going to hurt his draft stock, but he showed during this week that he is a player worthy of an NFL roster spot. His hustle translates to special teams, and the Steelers love developing special teams linebackers into starters, see Vince Williams, James Harrison and Larry Foote. The Rooneys are also as progressive as it comes when it comes to football operations. If they see a football player, and someone who can help their team, they would not be worried about his limitations. We will see if the Steelers find interest in Griffin as the process continues.
Durham Smythe, Notre Dame, Tight End
Smythe caught a touchdown and was the best blocking tight end all week. We all know what Notre Dame tight ends can do. Jesse James is a liability and Smythe is flying a bit under the radar. If the Steelers can find a discount in Smythe to upgrade their blocking at tight end, it would not hurt.
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss, Edge
Haynes is another player who shined all week and saw it pay off on Saturday. He had a huge pressure and dominated one-on-ones all week. The Pittsburgh Steelers will certainly have their eyes on this SEC defender.