Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen (21) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium. The Hawkeyes won 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Ellington, Brock Vereen visiting Pittsburgh Steelers


The Pittsburgh Steelers M.O has always been to build through the draft, and they will need to put together an excellent draft this offseason in order to add important pieces to the skill positions and defense. Cornerback is a big need for the Steelers, adding another wide receiver is likely a priority, and there seems to be interest in adding a speed back behind the top-notch duo of second-year pro Le’Veon Bell and recent offseason signing LeGarrette Blount.

According to the National Football Post’s Jason Butt, the Steelers have announced that they are bringing in Brock Vereen and Bruce Ellington for pre-draft visits, and both prospects are well-known and have ties to two very talented all-purpose back in Shane Vereen of the New England Patriots and Andre Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals.

Unlike Shane, Brock Vereen is a safety and not a running back, and he’s gaining some ground this spring due to his pedigree and his tape. The Minnesota Golden Gophers product is a very hard hitter, and he has the elite speed to be a big-time sleeper at free safety. In fact, he’s so fast that some believe he could play at cornerback in the NFL. Vereen is somebody to keep a close eye on in the pre-draft process, and he makes plenty of sense for the Steelers despite signing Mike Mitchell to a significant deal. Mitchell is a solid player who was very good last year as a breakout player for the Carolina Panthers, but there are worries that he’s not good enough in coverage to play at FS on a team without a ridiculously good front seven like Carolina’s. With Troy Polamalu getting older, developing Vereen as a starting FS and moving Mitchell to SS could be a great plan for life after Polamalu, who is still a very good safety in this league.

Bruce Ellington makes even more sense as a potential pick for the Steelers, and he also plays a different position from his older cousin. A wide receiver, the South Carolina Gamecocks product played for a rival school (the Vereens played for different colleges but not rival schools), and Ellington is also gaining plenty of ground. He is an absolute weapon at WR, and he is the kind of sprightly playmaker who can generate massive YAC and add another dimension to an offense. He’s more than just a gimmick player, and an offense of Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Bruce Ellington, Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Heath Miller, and Ben Roethlisberger would be a very dangerous one, assuming Wheaton and Ellington’s playmaking abilities pan out.


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Tags: Brock Vereen Bruce Ellington Football Minnesota Golden Gophers NFL Draft Pittsburgh Steelers South Carolina Gamecocks