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Steelers host Penn State RB Miles Sanders, Alabama star and more for predraft visits
North wide receiver Andy Isabella of UMASS (5) catches a pass during practice for Saturday’s Senior Bowl college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
PITTSBURGH — As the first full season of the post-Le’Veon Bell era nears, the Steelers took an extended look at both Miles Sanders and Alabama running back Damien Harris on Monday.
They were joined by the leading receiver in the Football Bowl Subdivision last year, Andy Isabella, out of UMass, as well as Notre Dame tight end Alize Mack and Oregon wideout Dillon Mitchell.
Harris is the highest-rated prospect of the bunch, though he split carries with Josh Jacobs for the Crimson Tide. Whereas Harris tallied 876 yards – the least of his three seasons as a regular ball carrier – from 150 carries for 9 touchdowns, Sanders compiled 1,270 yards from 220 rushes for 9 scores.
Both, if selected, would be competing with James Conner and Jaylen Samuels in Pittsburgh’s running back room. Sanders does not count against the NFL’s 30-man predraft visit limit because he went to Woodland Hills High School in Penn Hills. None of the other four visitors are exempt.
Mack, who measured 6 feet, 4 inches and 249 pounds at the NFL Combine, would join a tight end room that lost Jesse James to free agency and is set to return Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble as the only players with regular season game experience. In his only full season for the Fighting Irish, Mack caught 36 passes for 360 yards and 3 touchdowns as a junior.
Isabella snagged 207 more receiving yards than any other player in the top tier of college football last year. Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace was next while the 5-foot-10 Minutemen target piled up 102 catches and 13 touchdowns for a 4-8 team.
Mitchell, a projected later-round prospect, is a strong-side target. The 6-foot-1 wideout had 10 touchdowns from 75 catches for 1,184 yards in his final and junior season.
Though JuJu Smith-Schuster can line up both inside and out, he is particularly bad matchup for smaller slot corners. Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers have featured in the slot and return to Pittsburgh next season, but any addition to the receiving corps would likely learn a wider role first, allowing Smith-Schuster to face less coverage inside.
Smith-Schuster routinely and openly benefitted from double teams on Antonio Brown last season.