(Photo by Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)
With the Super Bowl about two weeks away, mock draft season is on the horizon. Some media outlets have already released their first mock drafts, and Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network is one of them. Jeremiah, who is one of the most notable names when it comes to draft coverage released his first mock draft on Friday.
Jeremiah has the Steelers selecting Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins at 24th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jenkins is a redshirt senior and stands at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds. Jenkins was a first-time All-Big 12 selection in 2020 and earned honorable mention honors for 2020 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. Jenkins forgoed the rest of the 2020 season and officially declared for the NFL draft on Nov. 30.
Below is the excerpt on why Jeremiah has the Steelers selecting Jenkins at 24th overall.
"The Steelers' inability to run the football last season was a major problem. They could take a runner here -- I love North Carolina's Javonte Williams and Alabama's Najee Harris -- but I think they will address the offensive line instead. Jenkins plays with an edge (see what he did against Texas) and would provide some youth/athleticism to Pittsburgh's aging group."
Left tackle Alejandro Villaneuva is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and with the Steelers to projected to be nearly $22 million over the cap, it's not expected that Villanueva will return. Villanueva, who turns 33 in September, might also end up retiring anyway. His play noticeably declined in 2020. He wasn't the only one, however, as veterans Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro looked older and didn't have their best years. It's 50-50 whether the 31-year-old Pouncey will retire or return for another season in 2021. DeCastro turned 31 earlier this month and probably has a few more years left. Nevertheless, the Steelers need to revamp their offensive line with young top-tier talent and Jenkins certainly would be a good place to start.
Jenkins played mostly right tackle in college but he played left tackle as well during his time at Oklahoma State. He has great size and is physical in the run game, which is exactly what the Steelers need after finishing dead last in rushing yards per game (82.5) and yards per carry (3.6) in 2020. Jenkins also has good enough footwork to play either side at the NFL level, which would give the Steelers some flexibility on where to play him.
Jeremiah had Jenkins ranked as his fifth offensive tackle in this year's draft back in November.