Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin during the Steelers 20-13 win over the Cleveland Browns (Photo Credit: Vince Butts-UMT Sports )

                                   Steelers 2021 Draft Recap

In addition to 1st Round Pick Najee Harris (Alabama), the Pittsburgh Steelers had 8 more picks (one via trade) in day’s 2 and 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is a recap of those picks:

On Day 2 (Friday), the Steelers continued to put their focus on fixing the running game (or sorts) as they went locally and added Penn State TE Pat Friermuth in the 2nd round. The 6-5, 260 rookie has been compared to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rob Grownkowski and former Steeler Heath Miller.

“I am excited to be a Pittsburgh Steeler,” said Freiermuth. “I am excited where I am. I am excited the Steelers gave me the opportunity. I can promise you and the rest of Steelers Nation I am going to make the most of it. You are going to get a guy who comes in every single day and works his tail off. I am excited for the opportunity.” He holds the record for career touchdowns for a Penn State tight end with 16, and finished his career tied for eighth all-time at Penn State. For his career he has 1,185 receiving yards, ranked 26th overall in school history and third among tight ends at the school. He has 92 career receptions, which is tied for 20th all-time at Penn State.

In the 3rd Round, they put their focus on the offensive line when they selected C Kendrick Green from Illinois. Although he played 33 games at Illinois (4 at center, 29 at guard.), he is expected to play C for the Steelers.

“I am really excited about KG. He is a guy we had our eye on,” said offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. “We love the way that he plays in terms of what we’ve been talking about, in terms of changing our demeanor and the attitude that we want to carry onto the field. He embodies all of that. He has great leadership qualities. He was the alpha in that program. He is just a tremendous player. He can do it all. The pulls, physical in the run game, pass protect. All of those things.”

In the 4th Round, the Steelers kept their focus on the offensive line as they drafted T Dan Moore Jr. from Texas A&M. “I am really excited about getting Dan, an athletic guy that is long,” said Klemm. “He is a very mature player. It’s exciting to get somebody who has position flexibility in terms of playing on the right and left. He is a guy who is focused primarily on playing on the left, but he is capable of playing on the right, that adds depth without adding numbers. I am really excited about this.” Moore started all 13 games in both 2018 and 2019, while playing in eight games his freshman season in 2017.

For their second 4th round pick, the Steelers selected OT Buddy Johnson, also from Texas A & M. “I like Buddy, he is a good player,” said inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky. “He is a good inside linebacker. I think it’s appropriate the first defensive player we got in the 2021 draft was an inside linebacker. I am always excited. I love guys that play football and Buddy fits the bill.”

Johnson, who had 210 career tackles, 6.5 sacks, five pass defenses, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2020.

The Steelers originally did not have a 5th round pick until they traded a 2022 pick with Miami and drafted DE/DT defensive tackle Isaiahh Loudermilk from Wisconsin. “He is a defensive lineman,” said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. “When I say defensive lineman, he is going to play everything from a five-technique to a zero-nose.”

In the 6th Round, the Steelers continued with defense as they selected Edge Rusher Quincy Roche from Miami. Roche started 10 games in 2020 for the Hurricanes, finishing the season with 45 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss, ranking second on the Hurricanes and third in the ACC, and added 4.5 sacks.

“I feel like I have displayed the ability to play in space on film,” said Roche. “I have been asked to do a lot over my time at Temple and Miami. I have some improvement, I have some work to do, but I am 100% confident in my ability to play linebacker.”

The Steelers had two 7th round picks. For the first one, they added S Tre Norwood from Oklahoma. “I am a guy who in college played everywhere,” said Norwood. “I always prided myself on being able to know every position in the back end. I think that has helped me out a lot in my career. A Swiss Army knife is a term my coaches used to describe me in college. It’s something I pride myself in, being able to play any position on the back end.”

Norwood, who played at the University of Oklahoma, played in 11 games in 2020, starting five. He was the Big 12 co-leader, and tied for third nationally, with five interceptions, coming in the Sooners final six games of the season.

And for second 7th round pick, the Steelers selected P Pressley Harvin III from Georgia Tech. “He is a big-legged guy,” said General Manager Kevin Colbert. “He has a naturally powerful leg. Excited to have him come in and join the competition.”

Harvin, who played at Georgia Tech, won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter in 2020, the first African American to win the award in the 21-year history of it.

Notes: Steelers announce signings of 8 rookie undrafted free agents: WR Rico Bussey (Hawaii), WR Isaiah McKoy (Kent State), S Lamont Wade (Penn State), S Donovan Stiner (Florida), CB Shakur Brown (Michigan State), CB Mark Gilbert (Duke), LB Jamar Watson (Kentucky) and LB Calvin Bundage (OKST).

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Quotes: www.Steelers.com