Pittsburgh Steelers: Jerick McKinnon

Draft position need: Running back

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have nine picks in the 2014 NFL draft and this is the first in a series that looks at the nine positions they could address in less than two weeks. Keep in mind the Steelers are likely to draft two cornerbacks so they may not take a player at every position covered in this series.

Our first look is at running back:

Added: LeGarrette Blount

Lost: Jonathan Dwyer

Skinny: The Steelers will hammer teams with a 1-2 punch of Le'Veon Bell and Blount, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent, next season. They still need depth at the position and could use a speedy back -- and preferably one with kickoff return skills -- to complement Bell and Blount. The Steelers hosted running backs Lache Seastrunk of Baylor and Jerick McKinnon of Georgia State for pre-draft visits, and both would provide an element that the backfield lacks. Running backs have become devalued to the point that the Steelers can wait until after the fourth round to take one and still get a very good prospect. The team could also re-sign scatback LaRod Stephens-Howling to provide depth once he is close to full strength after coming back from the torn ACL he sustained last September.

Draft likelihood: Medium

Extra points

Last RB drafted by the Steelers: Bell, second round in 2013

Last RB drafted by the Steelers in the first round: Rashard Mendenhall, 2008

Last RB taken 15th overall in the draft: John L. Williams, Seattle, in 1986

RBs drafted under Kevin Colbert/Mike Tomlin: Six

RBs drafted under Colbert/Tomlin still with the Steelers: One
PITTSBURGH -- A highly regarded pass-rusher and one of the top performers at the NFL scouting combine are among the players visiting the Steelers today.

Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, a projected second-round pick, and Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon are the Steelers’ latest pre-draft visitors.

Lawrence led the Mountain West last season in both sacks (10 1/2 ) and tackles for losses (20 ), and the 6-foot-3, 251-pounder projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Lawrence as the 44th-best player in the draft and there is a possibility he could get taken late in the first round.

The Steelers have hosted a handful of outside linebacker prospects, including UCLA’s Anthony Barr, a projected first-round pick.

McKinnon is the second running back to visit the Steelers, and he is an intriguing prospect for several reasons. The 5-9, 209-pounder rushed for 3,899 career yards and he gained most of those as an option quarterback.

McKinnon, who led Georgia Southern to a 26-20 upset at Florida last season, played running back in the Senior Bowl and really turned heads at the combine two months ago.

He tested as well as anyone in Indianapolis, running the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds and notching 32 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, tops among all running backs. Both speedy and shifty, McKinnon fits the profile of the kind of back the Steelers may be seeking to complement Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount.

McKinnon has been projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

Teams are allowed to host 30 out of area prospects for visits prior to the draft. Sunday is the last day for pre-draft visits.