Get to know the players that were drafted into the AFC North and are now instant rivals of Steeler Nation.
The third day of the NFL draft brought more Pittsburgh Steelers for Steeler Nation to cheer for. But with that, it serves up more players to serve as instant rivals to boo. This time around, I am going to enlist scouting report help from Andrew Wilbar (steelerfan11), Ryland B. and SNW (Itz JustNoah). These guys do a phenomenal job with prospects on the BTSC Big Board. Here’s who will oppose Pittsburgh as new members of the AFC North.
Round 4 Pick 110
Cleveland Browns select OT James Hudson – Cincinnati
This is another nice pick for the Browns. I had him mocked to the Steelers in Round 4. Hudson is a raw and athletic specimen that will need to improve his pass-protection skills. But he could be a future starter at LT once he grows into the role. Hudson will have time to gel at the next level.
Ryland B.: Hudson is an athletic, raw prospect at offensive tackle coming out of Cincinnati. It’s easy to see why people like him so much on tape, as he’s big, powerful, and a fluid athlete. He plays with good aggressiveness and drive, his mobility really shines on some reps. There are some pretty glaring issues though, as Hudson’s technique can be all over the place. Sometimes he plays too high, and he can sometimes reach too much instead of mirroring. He seems to be a bit grabby at times too. Hudson certainly has the potential to fix all of these issues and be a very good starter in the NFL, but don’t expect him to start day one.
Round 4 Pick 111
Cincinnati Bengals select DE Cameron Sample – Tulane
Again, this team needs defense. Sample has speed to get to the quarterback.
Ryland B: With a leaner build and a weight of 280 pounds, Sample projects more as an edge rusher on the NFL level than a defensive tackle. Sample’s versatility, the ability to play on the edge, in the interior, and even at linebacker at times, is an impressive and valuable asset. Sample has good straight line speed and solid agility, and he’s a sure tackler who plays with a very good motor. Sample has good pass-rushing technique and run-stopping discipline, and he plays with good power although it is far from ideal for an interior defender. Sample is probably best suited as a defensive end on a 4-3 defense.
Round 4 Pick 113
Cleveland Browns trade the pick to Detroit for Pick No. 153
With the selection, the Lions select DE Derrick Barnes from Purdue. The Browns get another pick in the fifth round.
Round 4 Pick 122
Cincinnati Bengals select DT Tyler Shelvin – LSU
Bengals going heavy on defense. They really need to,
Itz JustNoah: His production wasn’t the best in 2019 but he still looked great. He has a lot of power in his push, his hand technique is great and he wraps up well. He may not get after the quarterback but he’s incredible as a run stopper and with proper pass rushing technique he could be very good
Round 4 Pick 131
Baltimore Ravens select WR Tylan Wallace – Oklahoma State
The Ravens double down on wideouts with a really good one. The Steelers secondary better be ready for Baltimore’s burners.
Ryland B.: Tylan Wallace has been consistently productive as a three-year starter at Oklahoma State, racking up nearly 3,500 receiving yards in his career as a contested-catch specialist. Wallace doesn’t have great size or speed, and his lanky frame limits his agility and quickness. However, he’s a good football player, period. Wallace has really great hands and tracks the ball well, and despite not being the biggest guy, he wins a lot of jump balls. He’s a scrappy, physical receiver who is an excellent blocker and tough to bring down after the catch, fighting hard for yardage every time. He also sells out for the ball when it’s in the air, fighting through the defender and contorting his body to find a way to make the catch. Wallace was an excellent college receiver, but his athletic profile may hinder his transition to the NFL.
Round 4 Pick 132
Cleveland Browns select DT Tommy Togiai – Ohio State
More defense in “The Land”, The crowd loved the pick amd that line gets even more stout.
Ryland B.: A bit of a departure from the raw, highly-athletic prospects that make up a good portion of this list, Togiai doesn’t have the highest upside, but instead has one of the safer floors in this class. He doesn’t have elite size, but he still uses it well, as he has good strength and power and is a good run defender. As a pass-rusher he’s less developed but he still is fairly quick and mobile and can collapse the pocket from the interior. His hand usage really stood out as well. He’s a very solid prospect to round out the top 10 at his position in this year’s draft.
Round 4 Pick 139
Cleveland Browns select OT D’Ante Smith – East Carolina
Protection for Baker is imperative. Dude can’t afford to lose any more brain cells.
Ryland B.: The first thing that stands out about Smith is his weight, listed at 274 pounds on most sites. While I think he plays a lot bigger than his listed weight, he’s severely undersized for the position. However, he showed up 20 pounds heavier for the Senior Bowl and played pretty well from what I saw, which is a good sign. On tape, Smith is a mauler who plays with a nasty streak and will block to the whistle. He has good drive and power and a strong initial punch. In pass pro he was solid and showed off some good athleticism. He’s not as technically strong or polished as some of the others in this class, and his smaller school and size could be an issue, but I think Smith is a solid prospect. While trying to find some info on Smith online I came across this interview from The Draft Network with him, which is certainly worth a read.
Round 5 Pick 149
Cincinnati Bengals select K Evan McPherson – Florida
The Bungles get a kicker in Round 5? Seems about right.
BAD: Yes, the Bengals just took a kicker in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft. McPherson went 51-for-60 on field goals and 149-for-150 on PATs in his college career. Maybe the Cincy brass just liked the fact that he has a viral trick shot that can unscrew a Gatorade cap from 20-yards out. That will be valuable when Joe Burrow is in a body cast due to the fact that his team has down very little to protect him in the past two drafts.
Round 5 Pick 153
Cleveland Browns select LB Tony Fields II – West Virginia
If the Browns need to sure up anything on defense, it’s in the middle. Solid pick.
steelerfan11: Fields was one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects to watch this season. Every time I watched West Virginia, he flew to the ball and continually made plays for the Mountaineer defense. He displayed his speed at his pro day, running a 4.5 flat in the 40. The big concern with him is his size. He is undersized and does not have a gigantic frame to add a ton of extra weight. He is still somewhat inexperienced dropping into zone, but he has the range and awareness to cover tight ends, running backs, and even slot receivers. If he can add about 10 pounds and maintain his speed, I think Fields has a chance to become a starting MACK linebacker in the NFL.
Round 5 Pick 160
Baltimore Ravens select CB Shaun Wade – Ohio State
Steeler Nation wanted this guy because of his having a brand name. I always think the Ravens draft well, I’m just not sold on Wade.
steelerfan11: Wade had a fantastic year in 2019 when Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette were manning the outside, but Wade struggled mightily when he was asked to be a boundary corner in 2020. Wade made a few decent plays, but he struggled for the most part. However, literally whenever Ohio State moved him to the slot for a few plays, he was his old self and was blanketing receivers. Ty Fryfogle of Indiana absolutely torched Wade all day when he was playing on the outside, but on the few occasions he was put in the slot, he did well against Whop Philyor and the other Indiana receivers. As a prospect, I like Wade’s athleticism and upside, and I think the 2020 season was just a fluke. Some think that he will move to safety, but I honestly think playing the nickel is what he does best. If he can be an inside-only corner for a team, he could be a potential pro-bowler down the line.
Round 5 Pick 169
Cleveland Browns select DB Richard LeCounte – Georgia
Browns bolster a solid secondary with LeCounte.
steelerfan11: LeCounte’s pro day numbers will make you shy away from him, but he was the leader of a Georgia defense that will likely have six or seven players drafted this year. He is an excellent leader on the field and was nearly flawless in terms of communication. He ran a horrible 40 time at his pro day, but much like Paris Ford, some numbers are almost so bad to believe that you really can’t believe it. If you watch the tape, you would guess that he would run three-tenths of a second faster than he actually did. If he can prove that his athleticism is better than what he showed at his pro day, he could become a starting free safety down the line.
Round 5 Pick 171
Baltimore Ravens select DL Daelin Hayes – Notre Dame
The ravens are trying to bolster their defensive unit and have had plenty of free agent departures in recent years. Hayes was a guy I wanted to see in the Steel City.
steelerfan11: Hayes is the 4-3 version of Joseph Ossai, except he does not have the high ceiling that Ossai has. He is a natural pass rusher and looks very fluid coming around the edge, but his athleticism is not eye-popping. He never eclipsed three sacks in one season at Notre Dame, but he had a good Senior Bowl week which was highlighted by a strip sack in 11-on-11 drills. He is a solid run-blocker and sets the edge well, but there are still questions as to whether he can be a three-down player in the NFL.
Round 5 Pick 184
Baltimore Ravens select FB Ben Mason – Michigan
Baltimore always finds Pro Bowl-quality fullbacks. Here’s another.
steelerfan11: Fullbacks don’t generally get this high of a grade, but I had to make an exception for Big Ben Mason. Michigan used him sporadically at defensive end because of his outstanding strength. Mason generally does a good job of picking up blitzes as a pass blocker, and he maintains a good pad level as a run blocker. He got opportunities as a runner in short yardage situations as well, and Michigan had success with it. His contributions on special teams also helps his draft stock.
Round 6 Pick 190
Cincinnati Bengals select C Trey Hill – Georgia
One of the best Bengals picks in later rounds. This guy could start for years,
steelerfan11: If you ever read my comments about my hopes for the Steelers this offseason, Trey Hill has probably been mentioned at some point in time. Hill just turned 21 and still has a lot of room to grow as a prospect, but he could start from day one if need be. He gets good leverage, uses his hands well, and maintains a low pad level. He has excellent power and is an absolute mauler in the run game, and I believe his ability to get to the second level of the defense is way better than what your average scouting report on him will say. While he has sufficient mobility and has shown the ability to pull as either a center or guard, he isn’t super light on his feet. If he remains at center, he may want to drop a couple pounds. I believe that Hill is one of the most underrated players in this draft. If he is still there on day three, some team is getting an absolute steal.
Round 6 Pick 202
Cincinnati Bengals select RB Chris Evans – Michigan
Does Cincy realize that they didn’t just draft Captain America? I bet that they really think that the Marvel Superhero is coming to the jungle.
BAD: Evans is a dynamic, late-round pick to add depth to a team’s running back corps. He is a natural athlete with good hands and route-running ability as a receiver out of the backfield. The rub on this guy is that he is inconsistent bouncing it outside and goes down easily.
Round 6 Pick 211
Cleveland Browns select RB Demetric Felton – UCLA
More of a receiver now than a running back. With Schwartz and now Felton, The Browns just got faster and harder to flush down.
Ryland B.: Felton is a highly athletic and versatile running back. He has great speed and excellent agility, although his lack of size and power could be a concern at the NFL level. Felton is dynamic on the outside, but running between the tackles will not be an option for him at the next level. What makes Felton special is his ability to play receiver, as he lined up in the slot at times at UCLA, and has looked good running routes at the Senior Bowl this year against good competition. Felton’s strong hands and aforementioned quickness make him a threat catching passes, and his speed and running ability make him an interesting day three option, although he is far from an every down player.
Round 7 Pick 235
Cincinnati Bengals select DE Wyatt Hubert – Kansas State
Good depth and future ST captain? Possibly.
Ryland B.: Hubert was quite productive at Kansas State, but his physical limitations may prevent him from replicating that in the NFL. AT 6’3”, 270 pounds, Hubert is more compactly built than the average NFL pass-rusher, and paired with his below-average athleticism (for the NFL), I see him having a hard time against offensive tackles on the next level. Hubert would win reps with a relentless motor and good technique, which makes me think he could be an excellent special teamer in the NFL .
What do you think of the players who are going to be new to the division? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers and the 2021 NFL Draft.