With the 2016 NFL Draft less than 1 month away, teams can begin entertaining hosting NCAA hopefuls for on-site visits. The Pittsburgh Steelers began the process this weekend, inviting four college players to their South Side facility on the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
The quartet of players included:
- Jeremy Cash, Duke strong safety
- Deon Bush, Miami free safety
- D.J. White, cornerback Georgia Tech
- Jerald Hawkins, offensive tackle, Louisiana State University aka “LSU”
That’s three defensive backs and one offensive lineman, for those of you taking notes at home. Last year fully 10 of the Steelers allotted 2015 pre-draft visits were from cornerbacks or safeties, and the Steelers ended up drafting Senquez Golson and Doran Grant out of that group. They also picked Jesse James and Sammie Coates, both of whom made pre-draft visits with the Steelers.
Who Are Cash, Bush, White and Hawkins?
Of the foursome, Jeremy Cash is the highest rated prospect, and the most likely to go early. While his college resume is impressive, he missed a Bowl game with a wrist injury and hamstring issued caused him to miss workouts at the NFL Combine. As Steel City Insider’s Jim Wexell reported, those medical concerns are likely a reason he’s been brought to Pittsburgh.
While it might seem blasphemous to write this, in College Cash played a hybrid like linebacker-safety position similar to what Troy Polamalu played during his career. The former ACC Defensive Player of the Year’s stat sheet is impressive, 332 tackles, 38 tackles-for-loss, nine forced fumbles, eight sacks and five fumble recoveries. However, Cash only intercepted five passes during his NCAA career and none came last season.
Deon Bush played for four years for the Miami Hurricanes who has solid measurable and nine career forced fumbles, 4 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, and 4 sacks.
D.J. White is seen as a later round prospect. While at Georgia Tech, the cornerback intercepted 7 passes, defended 21, forced 4 fumbles, and made 154 tackles. Jerald Hawkins stands at 6’6” weighs in at 305 pounds and boasts 34 and a quarter inch long arms.