Even though the NFL is currently in a lockout, there are still pro days for coaches to attend and players that need evaluating.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was in attendance at Miami’s pro day, before it was cancelled due to rain, and was also there at LSU.
I have listed all of the players at each position here, separated by school, that I feel Mike Tomlin was trying to get a closer look at.
WR Terrance Toliver
Although wide receiver is not a pressing need for the Steelers, they could always use a tall receiver and might select one in the later rounds in the draft.
Toliver tweaked his hamstring while running a worse 40 than at the combine, but toughed it out and still looked good catching the ball in drills.
RB Stevan Ridley
The Steelers could lose Mewelde Moore in free agency, if it ever comes, so they would need to get a third-down back in the draft.
Ridley is more the power back type, but has showed the potential to be a good receiver and has the strength needed in pass blocking.
WR Leonard Hankerson
Hankerson is a long shot to be selected by the Steelers since his stock has risen and could be a late first-round pick and no worse than the second round.
He has good size at about 6’2’’, 210 pounds, and showed good speed to go along with his great hands.
RB Graig Cooper
Cooper is more the type of running back that the Steelers are looking for and has the hands and speed to be a good third-down back.
The only problem is that he is still trying to get back to full strength after ACL surgery, which could scare teams away from taking him in the draft.
DE Drake Nevis
Drake Nevis is listed as a defensive tackle, yet if the Steelers were to take him, he would probably be converted to defensive end in their system.
He does not really have the size to be the nose in a 3-4, but could develop into a good end and showed good speed for the position by running two sub-5.00 times at the pro day.
ILB Kelvin Sheppard
Sheppard had a disappointing showing at the pro day in the eyes of a few teams, since he only ran in the mid-4.7 to low-4.8 range in the 40 and also ran a slow three-cone drill.
Teams who were thinking about having Sheppard play outside linebacker were disappointed, but he still projects to fit on the inside, where the Steelers could be looking to draft a guy.
DE Allen Bailey
Allen Bailey was once considered to be a solid first-round pick and played both defensive end and defensive tackle in college.
He did run a fast 40 for the position and could prove to be a versatile guy who can possibly drop into coverage, although he would need to put on a little bulk to be a true 3-4 end.
ILB Colin McCarthy
The Steelers are always looking for linebacker depth, and McCarthy is currently rated as the third-best inside linebacker in the draft.
McCarthy had a good combine, but he does have an injury history which might deter teams away from drafting him.
OT Joe Barksdale
Although Joe Barksdale is not projected to go higher than the second round, I could see him starting for a team at right and possibly left tackle one day.
He did run a slow three-cone drill which might drop his stock a bit, but the Steelers could certainly use more depth on the offensive line.
OG Orlando Franklin
Franklin played both guard and tackle in college, and I believe he would be able to give depth to both positions in the NFL, although would mostly play guard.
He would provide much-needed depth for the Steelers offensive line, although the Steelers would probably need to trade up in the second round to get him at this point.
CB Patrick Peterson
Let me start out by saying I do not think there is any way the Steelers are going to get Peterson, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Whether or not a team has a shot at Peterson, everyone should be looking at him, since he is probably the best player in the draft and would make any team instantly better.
CB Brandon Harris
Brandon Harris was probably one of the main reasons for Mike Tomlin attending the Miami Hurricane pro day since cornerback is a big need for the Steelers.
Harris has been projected as a late first- to second-round pick, but he had a great combine and has been flying up draft boards.
CB Demarcus Van Dyke
Van Dyke opened some eyes by running the fastest 40 time at the combine this year and probably moved up some boards as a result.
The Steelers will probably take a corner earlier in the draft, but Dyke could be an option in the later rounds with that type of speed.
PK Joshua Jasper
The Steelers have a lot of uncertainty on special teams right now with Jeff Reed being cut and Shaun Suisham, Daniel Sepulveda and Jeremy Kapinos being free agents.
Jasper finished as the most accurate kicker in LSU history and has experience punting as well, which would be valuable to the Steelers since Suisham was forced into spot punt duty last season.
P Matt Bosher
Bosher is another guy who could prove to be valuable to the Steelers because of his ability to be both a capable punter and kicker.
Depending on who is left late, I do see the Steelers addressing the kicking situation in the draft. However, I would not be surprised if either Bosher or Jasper were brought in as undrafted free agents.