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Day 1 of the NFL Draft is for dogs, but is Day 3 for hogs?

Day 3 of the draft. The celebrities are gone, the crowds are smaller, and the names called out can be so obscure that the first response of the player’s own mom is “who?” It’s also the day when a team can do some heavy lifting by getting draft steals and filling out that all important roster depth. In Pittsburgh, it’s even more vital. It seems Coach Tomlin would rather have a root canal sans local anesthesia than play even the top rookies, so the prior year of late round picks need to be capable and ready for duty once the “R” drops from their bio.

The Steelers have looked to Georgia for many of their recent high round draft picks, and it could happen again with OT Amarius Mims, CB Kamari Lassiter, and C Sedrick Van Pran all being candidates for the top slots on the draft board. Other teams will also be looking for those players, of course. A dominant power 5 team attracts attention. Being a Bulldog is a surefire way for getting an opportunity to hug Roger Goodell, which seems like a super weird goal to me, but to each his own.

Being a high profile player on a successful team is great, and there’s a reason why they go first. However, that isn’t always the best environment to see what’s in a player’s heart when things get tough. Work ethic and character come into play, and no matter the talent, without those qualities, the shine can come off the new toy in a hurry. Just a quick look at players picked after the more celebrated first and second rounds shows it can produce the heart and soul of a team. Hines Ward was taken in the 3rd (92nd overall), Aaron Smith in the 4th (109th overall), and Brett Keisel was taken in the 7th (242 overall). You’d be hard pressed to find higher character or harder workers than that group.

That brings me to my home state of Arkansas, and three draft eligible players from the Razorbacks. I am not a huge college football fan. My football loyalty begins and ends with the Black & Gold. I have no rooting interest for Arkansas, so this isn’t a “homer” take. That said, the Razorbacks certainly did not have what anyone would describe as a good year, but looking for good players on bad teams is when character and work ethic can be more evident on film. The kids that are still hustling and giving their all despite losing week in and week out are going to outplay the measurables and PFF ratings when given an opportunity.

Beaux Limmer is a versatile IOL that played right guard at Arkansas for most of his career before moving to center full time for his last year. He was a stand out on a less than stellar offensive line. If you were playing Red Rover Can I Come Over with this group, Beaux would be the one you always avoid. For a late round day 3 pick, he could provide the Steelers with depth and position flexibility on the o-line. He brings a toughness that would fit right in with the bully ball approach.

Dwight McGlothern is the type of CB the Steelers like, tall at 6’2 with a long reach. He racked up 96 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and 8 interceptions during his career. Even more important than his stats, I’ve seen where the Ravens might be looking at him with the 130th pick in the 4th round. I can’t think of a better reason to take him at 120 than that. I would like to have more Steeler fans in my local area than Ravens if at all possible.

Trajan Jeffcoat is a defensive edge rusher projected to be a UDFA, but I think the Steelers might be wise to lock him up with their last pick. A 7th rounder that could end up making the team and provide needed depth is always a win. He had 28 pressures and 5 sacks last season for Arkansas, and surprised scouts at the East-West Shrine bowl with his play and effort. Trajan is also one of those high character guys, and has the smarts to go with it. He’s a three time SEC All-Honor Roll member, and would fit right in with the Steeler way of conducting business.

Omar Khan set the bar high last year, and I have full confidence he will once again set the Steelers up for future success. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he unearthed some unexpected late round pick that ends up making the team. Day 1 of the draft could belong to the dogs again, but Khan might find a steal or two day 3 rolling around in the mud with some hogs.


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