The NFL draft is approaching and there’s a lot of hype surrounding the first-round prospects, as usual. There’s countless examples of success stories of player who didn’t even sniff the first, second or third round of the draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a chance to get three guys who could be seen as late-round sleepers in this year’s draft.
1. Charles Sims, running back, West Virginia University
I don’t know how much of a “sleeper” Charles Sims is, but he’s projected to go somewhere around the fourth round. Sims had an outstanding year at West Virginia University last season, racking up 1,095 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He wasn’t only a threat on the ground but was highly productive as a receiver as well. He caught 45 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns.
The Steelers’ backfield was given a boost with the addition of LaGarrette Blount to backup Le’Veon Bell, but normally three backs see carries and Sims could be a valuable third back for the Steelers. His ability to reel in passes gives him extra value, especially for the Steelers whose receivers will be somewhat new this season.
2. Cornillius Lucas, offensive tackle, Kansas State
Cornillius Lucas is a mammoth of an offensive lineman. Standing at 6-foot-8, this giant at first glance is intimidating. However, Lucas is the definition of “work in progress.” He’ll need to adjust to the NFL talent but good news is the Steelers just brought in Mike Munchak, who could groom Lucas into the monster he appears to be. It’s a gamble, but if drafted in the fifth or sixth round, he could play out to be something special.
3. Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky
Avery Williamson is a solid inside linebacker who could pan out to be a future stud on the steel curtain. He’ll most likely be brought into to play special teams wherever he lands, but under Dick LeBeau he could excel further than just special teams. He’s physical, quick and hard-working. He posses all the qualities you want in a young linebacker.
Williamson has the football intelligence to play in a sophisticated defense like LeBeau’s but has a long way to go. He’s worth a sixth or seven round pick for the Steelers.
This draft runs deep and the later rounds picks have just as much importance as the earlier rounds. It’ll be fun to watch which later-rounders will end up making an impact in the NFL.