With the twentieth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select…
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Noah Fant TE | Iowa
It seems like the Steelers have entered the last several seasons as Super Bowl favorites, so it was disappointing not seeing Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year, after making it the past four straight seasons. Sometimes a picture paints a thousand words. Alright that saying doesn’t make any sense here, but take one look at this picture of Iowa tight end Noah Fant and tell me that doesn’t scream Steelers. Every mock draft I keep seeing has Pittsburgh going defense at pick #20 which for the record would be the seventh straight year doing so. The signing of Mark Barron in free agency should help stop the bleeding at inside linebacker, which has been a major area of weakness this team has failed to properly address since the injury to Ryan Shazier. The other area of concern on the defense is at cornerback, where the Steelers have continued to try to upgrade and have had no luck. Outside of the 30-year-old Joe Haden, recent draft picks (Artie Burns and Cameron Sutton) and free agent signings (Coty Sensabaugh) have not developed or met expectations. It would make sense if Pittsburgh opted to address the secondary with this pick and went with one of the top corners on the board in LSU’s Greedy Williams, Georgia’s Deandre Baker, or Washington’s Byron Murphy, but the Steelers suffered a much greater loss on the offensive side of the ball.
Future hall of fame receiver Antonio Brown is no longer catching footballs for the Pittsburgh Steelers and that’s a hard pill to swallow. After spending the last 9 years in the Steel City, Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round and fifth-round draft pick in this year’s draft. That is 600+ receptions, 9,000+ yards and 67 touchdowns over the course of the last six seasons, gone. You are crazy if you think baby face JuJu Smith-Schuster and company are going to be able to replicate that kind of production. With that being said, I am not going to go with another Brown wide receiver here, such as Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown or Mississippi’s A.J. Brown. In 2005, the Steelers drafted a guy by the name of Heath Miller in the first round, who become a favorite target of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger his whole career. The Steelers have never properly replaced him, and with Jesse James now in Detroit, this feels like a good year to do so. Tight end T.J. Hockenson may be the preferred tight end out of Iowa in this year’s draft, but Noah Fant caught more touch down passes at Iowa last season and then put on a show at the NFL Combine with a blazing 4.5 40-yard-dash. JuJu might believe he is ready to step into that number one receiver role, but with little depth and production behind him, he may face more double teams in 2019, which mean Big Ben is going to need another go-to target. Fant is an athletic tight end that should help keep this Pittsburgh passing game buzzing.