ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio Mocks Donovan Smith To Steelers In First Round
Florio — who has plenty of connections within NFL scouting realms — predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers would use the No. 22 overall pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft on Smith. There are many thoughts to be taken away from this prediction. The Steelers are not necessarily in dire need of an offensive tackle, with former Florida Gator Marcus Gilbert manning the right side and 2012 seventh-round gem Kelvin Beachum holding down Ben Roethlisberger’s blindside. It could be said that the Steelers want to add an element of competition to the fold in training camp, but a first round selection is a hefty investment for a team. It’s also an intriguing prediction seeing as Pittsburgh re-signed Gilbert to a five year, $30 million deal in August, meaning he’ll be around until the 2019 season.
Smith’s stock has been soaring ever since he turned heads at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama back in January. Throughout the week, Smith looked sharp in one-on-one drills, while holding his own against some of the most dominant defensive linemen available in the 2015 Draft. Smith faced the likes of Utah defensive end Nate Orchard — who led the FBS with 18.5 sacks in 2014 — along with Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton and Iowa’s Carl Davis.
Scouts have gushed over Smith’s potential ceiling — likely due to his massive 6-foot-6, 338 pound frame. Scouts have expressed some concerns regarding his athleticism — notably his struggles in changing direction quickly against more athletic pass rushers. Despite these concerns, Smith possesses an NFL ready body that compliments his powerful lower body. And of course, he has those shifty moves as a kick returner.
Draft weekend will be exciting for somebody like Smith, given the relative uncertainty regarding his draft stock. He’s been one of the fastest risers in the months leading up to April’s draft, and that hard work might just pay off with a day one selection for the standout offensive tackle.