Visiting the Prospects: Digging into the Third Round (Momma’s Mocks Part 3)

In Part 2 of this series we looked at two players the Steelers took an interest in this spring—S Justin Reid and DB Duke Dawson. My assumption is that they would likely need to be taken in the first and second rounds, respectively, if the Steelers really wanted them. (And I realize that the Steelers are not going to take two defensive backs in a row, and certainly not in the top two rounds. Even if they are pretty dang good-looking.)

So once again I’m referring to Dropthehammer’s post on Behind the Steel Curtain, which lists every player the Steelers are known to have talked to and gives a bit of information about them. Since we have three more rounds (and five more picks) to go, let’s get started. Here are the players the Steelers have spoken to in Round 3 who didn’t already get mentioned in the previous article. (My theory was that the Steelers would likely have to take a player they really want a round before their projection, assuming they grade out near the top of the round.) So of course some of the Round 2 guys might turn out to be available at pick No. 28 in Round 3—you never know.

A year or two ago a guy who was being mocked to various teams in the lower end of Round 1 and the top of Round 2 went undrafted, and as far as I know there was no particular reason, like a felony charge just before the draft or anything.

On the other hand, the Steelers have shown a willingness to “overdraft” someone they like. For many, T.J. Watt was a reach in the first round. I don’t think anybody thinks this is true now.

But I didn’t mean to get into a discussion about the vagarities of the drafting process. Let’s get to it. There are five players left from the Round 3 list (after I bumped a couple of them up to Round 2:

  • ILB Marcus Allen*
  • ILB Dorian O’Daniel
  • S Tre Flowers
  • TE Will Dissly
  • TE Troy Fumagalli

*Allen was presented by Dropthehammer as a possible candidate, despite no apparent interest from the Steelers, as he is local (Penn State) and a meeting may have occurred. He has been mocked to the Steelers by more than one draft guy, so I thought I would go with it. And as it happens he did visit, just a day or so after the BTSC article went up.

On the same day they also hosted S Tarvarius Moore, and since he projects as a Round 2-3 guy I’ll add him here.

Here are the guys who made my initial cuts—Allen, Dissly, Moore, and Fumigalli. Of the four, only Allen and Moore were invited for a visit. Since I can’t really cover all four, I need to do some further pruning. I’ve decided to keep one safety and one TE, and I’m going with Moore and Fumigalli.

TE Troy Fumigalli

I can’t ignore the incredible story he represents. (Fumigalli is the one in the picture who looks like a tight end—second from the left.) Born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, the index finger on his left (dominant) hand was necrotic and had to be amputated. (Curiously, this is also the cause for the loss of his hand for fellow prospect LB Shaquem Griffin.) It apparently hasn’t affected either his ability to catch or his ability to block.

And given that he went to Wisconsin (he graduated with a degree in finance, investment and banking) and played under head coach Paul Chryst*, I’m guessing the Steelers’ staff has gotten a lot of inside information on him. (He had to “grey shirt” at Wisconsin because T.J. Watt had just gotten the last TE scholarship.)

Lance Zierlein says in his Overview:

“Combination tight end who makes up for his thin frame with determination and effort as a blocking.”

Oddly, considering everything, his best trait appears to be his soft hands. Zierlein considers him to be an “average” athlete. He also thinks he will go in Rounds 5-6, unlike Dropthehammer, who graded him as a high fourth-round pick. Neither of these indicate he would be a bargain at the end of the 3rd round, but perhaps the Steelers were attracted to the intangibles. Zierlein also sees him as having “NFL backup or special teams potential.”

But I will leave you with these words, from a “former Big Ten coach”—”He’s missing a finger as a pass-catcher; he has those skinny legs, he’s not a great athlete, and he wasn’t recruited highly coming out. None of that seems to matter. He’s a competitive guy. He’s not pretty in the uniform [ahem, Mr. Former Big Ten Coach, I beg to differ] like (Indiana tight end) Ian Thomas, but you keep watching tape and he gets things done.”

S Tarvarius Moore

I’m not the only person in the NFL universe for whom Moore was under the radar. Simon Chester of Steelers Wire wrote recently:

“Despite not receiving an invitation to the combine, Moore turned heads when he recorded [a] 4:32:40 time at the Southern Mississippi Pro Day. Many draft experts consider him one of the more underrated talents available this year.”

And check out this tweet from Lance Zierlein:

I can’t believe I just got to USM safety Tarvarius Moore. His testing numbers were insane at 4.32, with 38.5 VJ and 11’1" BJ, but the tape matched the testing. Excellent cover skills too. Easy second day selection and one of the most under-the-radar safeties in the class.

— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 4, 2018

When I looked him up he certainly turned my head, and I didn’t even watch a bit of film. Also, we already know he looks good in gold. (As does Fumigalli, to be fair, since Wisconsin plays in black and gold.) He grades a lot higher on Zierlein’s scale (5.83, as opposed to 5.22 for Fumigalli). Which is definitely more in second-round than third round territory.

Let’s see what sorts of footbally things Zierlein has to say:

In his overview, Zierlein notes:

Possesses rare speed, length and explosiveness at the safety position, but his tape says he’s not just a workout wonder. Moore is a premium athlete with smooth hips and fluid feet with the ability to handle man cover matchups that others could struggle with. While there is still work to do, he’s not a raw prospect and should be game-ready fairly quickly. Moore’s tape shows his ability to handle coverage and run support duties and his elite athletic traits will likely push him way up the draft board into Day 2.

Interesting. The other interesting thing is that, unlike any other safety in the NFL Draft Tracker, he is denoted a “free safety” as opposed to just “safety.” Not sure why this is so, and perhaps just reflects his late addition to the list (or so I assume, given Zierlein’s tweet.) Zierlein lists a great many more strengths than weaknesses, including “Impressive ball production in limited time at USM” and “Willing hitter.” I also liked “Superior combination of size, speed and explosiveness” to which I would just add “and handsomeness.”

And finally, an NFC Scouting Director said:

Pretty hard to believe the Combine missed on him. He’s got the athletic ability and he was productive this year. We thought he would get invited.

Round 3 is a wrap (although admittedly it may be more like 2-3.) And I have noticed, in case you were wondering, that I seem to have picked an awful lot of defensive backs, something I’m quite sure the Steelers won’t do.

But never fear, a big eater or two will make an appearance in Rounds 5 and 7, or so I hope, and my final mocks (at least for the upper rounds) will definitely contain some ILBs and such-like. Although I may be focused on looks in these mocks, I am also well aware that the look in the middle of the defense was not good at all last season after Ryan Shazier went down, and it is definitely a priority to fix that. Because in the end, there is nothing less attractive than giving up a ton of easy points to less-than-impressive quarterbacks (or even impressive ones.)

*Chryst spent five years or so at Pitt, and I’m assuming the Steelers’ staff know him well, as they share a practice facility.

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