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Pittsburgh Steelers: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch
- Updated: February 25, 2017
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a great 2016-17 season, but were no match for the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. Although they looked terrible against the Patriots, the Steelers are just a few pieces away from winning the Super Bowl. As we approach the 2017 NFL Combine, Pittsburgh has needs to fill on both sides of the ball(see http://www.thasportsjunkies101.com/pittsburgh-steelers-offseason-team-needs/).
On offense, with Big Ben mulling retirement, the Steelers should look for more depth at quarterback. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to add depth at wide receiver and running back. This is due to the future of Martavis Bryant being uncertain and DeAngelo Williams getting older.
On defense, the Steelers could use another young pass rusher to eventually replace James Harrison. Help in the secondary would be nice as well.
With that being said, here are five players that the Steelers should watch in the 2017 NFL Combine:
Haason Reddick- OLB, Temple
Although he isn’t as well-known as other linebackers in this year’s draft, Reddick’s stock has been rising lately. Experts are raving about the young linebacker from Temple. Reddick, a 6’2″, 237 pound outside linebacker, received first team All-Conference (AAC) honors in his senior season at Temple as he accumulated 22.5 tackles for loss (3rd in the nation) and 10.5 sacks (stats found via NFL.com). Adding him along with Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree would create a very strong young linebacker core for the future of the Steelers’ defense.
Brad Kaaya- QB, Miami(FL)
As I mentioned, Ben Roethlisberger has been mulling retirement. Although I strongly believe Big Ben will be back this season, it is time for the Steelers to add depth to the QB position for future purposes. Brad Kaaya could be a player for the Steelers to consider in a middle round of the draft. In his final season at Miami, Kaaya had a 62% completion percentage and threw for over 3,500 yards with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions (stats found via NFL.com). As a three-year starter for the Hurricanes, Kaaya showed improvement in each season.
Wayne Gallman- RB, Clemson
There’s no doubt that the Steelers have the best running back in the league in Le’Veon Bell. However, they could use some depth at the position as back up DeAngelo Williams is reaching the end of his career. Wayne Gallman, a 6’0″, 210 pound running back from Clemson would fit the bill perfectly. In his final season with the Tigers, Gallman helped lead his team to win the national championship and finished with 1,002 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns (stats found via NFL.com). This earned him second team All-Conference honors (ACC). Gallman could help to give Bell some breaks while still keeping the running game as a threat for the Steelers.
Adoree’ Jackson- CB, USC
In 2016, the Steelers found a rookie in Artie Burns who proved that he can play. However, he could still use a partner on the opposite side of the defense. I believe that Jackson could be a great fit for the Steelers. Jackson, a 5’11”, 185 pound corner, had a tremendous junior season for the Trojans. In 2016, he accumulated five interceptions and eleven pass breakups (stats found via NFL.com). Those numbers earned him the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back, as well as first team All-Conference and All-American honors. Even if he doesn’t start at cornerback, Jackson could serve an immediate impact as a returner for the Steelers. Jackson totaled four touchdowns off returns (2 kickoff, 2 punt) in his final season at USC.
KD Cannon- WR, Baylor
As the future of Martavis Bryant is uncertain, the Steelers could use another deep threat to take pressure off of Antonio Brown. KD Cannon, a 6’0″, 180 pound receiver, could add depth at this position. In his final season for the Bears, Cannon totaled 87 receptions for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns (stats found via NFL.com). This earned him first team All-Conference honors (Big 12). Cannon will be a player for the Steelers to look for in the late rounds of the 2017 draft.
You can see all of these players compete in the NFL Combine, which is held in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 3-6. RBs and Special Teamers start off the combine on March 3rd; QBs, WRs, and TEs on the 4th; DL and LBs on the 5th, and DBs on the 6th. NFL Network will televise all on-field events.