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Ray Fittipaldo Expects Steelers To Host Michigan’s Roman Wilson, Alabama’s JC Latham For Pre-Draft Visits

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As the calendar flips into April, the 2024 NFL Draft is just 24 days away. Time is flying.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the next few weeks will be key in getting prospects into Pittsburgh for important pre-draft visits. So far, the Steelers have 13 visits reported so far, with a major focus on the offensive line and wide receiver.

For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo, he expects that trend to continue in the pre-draft visits. Appearing on the “North Shore Drive Podcast” Monday with host Christopher Carter from the Post-Gazette, Fittipaldo stated that he expects Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson and Alabama offense tackle JC Latham to be part of the next wave of pre-draft visitors to the Steelers’ South Side facility in the weeks ahead.

“I would expect Roman Wilson to come in. They’ve had their eye on him since the Senior Bowl, so we’ll see if that happens. A lot of times they get to visit with these guys so extensively in Indianapolis and Mobile that sometimes they feel like they don’t have to have ’em in for a visit, too,” Fittipaldo said regarding the pre-draft visits for the Steelers. “JC Latham is another guy who’s probably in that 15 to 20 range. He might be there. I think he’s one of the best offensive line prospects. I think maybe he’ll be a guy who comes in.”

Wilson is a guy the Steelers have kept a close eye on dating back to the Senior Bowl in Mobile. Head coach Mike Tomlin attended the Senior Bowl and was seen chatting it up with Wilson multiple times, even challenging him to match up every rep against Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell to get best on best as much as possible.

Then, Tomlin, GM Omar Khan, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, among other front office personnel, attended Michigan’s Pro Day on March 22, getting a good look at Wilson again.

In his scouting report of Wilson for the site, Steelers Depot’s Jonathan Heitritter compared Wilson favorably to Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett:

“Roman Wilson is a well-rounded receiver who brings the skill set of a nuanced route runner to the table as well as the athleticism to win vertically down the field and after the catch. He displays competitive toughness as both a receiver and a blocker, playing bigger than his listed size. He does lack ideal height and weight, making his projection as an outside receiver at the next level a little tricky. However, Wilson would be best utilized in a slot receiver role while having the release package to see some action on the outside. He would do his best work as an inside receiver matched up against slot corners, linebackers and safeties.”

The Steelers have a significant need at the receiver position after trading Diontae Johnson this offseason. Wilson could be an ideal addition to the room featuring George Pickens and Calvin Austin III as well as veteran additions Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins and Marquez Callaway.

As for Latham, it’s been pretty clear over the last few months the interest the Steelers have shown in offensive linemen, specifically tackles.

The Steelers had a formal meeting with Latham at the NFL Scouting Combine and then were in full force at Alabama’s Pro Day on March 20 as Tomlin, Khan, Austin, area scout Zach Crockett, vice president of player personnel Dan Rooney Jr., and Ike Taylor were present, among others.

In the last two seasons at Alabama, Latham was dominant, earning Second Team All-American honors in 2022 and First Team All-SEC honors last season.

At right tackle only, Latham is a power player, which would fit in well with the Steelers’ new offensive scheme focusing on the run under Arthur Smith.

In his scouting report for Steelers Depot, Hetritter compared Latham to Tampa Bay’s Tristan Wirfs:

“JC Latham is a rock-solid prospect who has plenty of positive traits on tape, as well as the starting experience in the SEC to make for a plug-and-play right tackle at the next level. He needs to continue to work on fine-tuning his technique regarding his hand placement and playing with proper leverage, but he’s shown to be a consistent pass protector against top-end competition while also excelling as a run blocker in Alabama’s rushing attack, excelling in a gap/power system where he should flourish at the next level.”

Outside of Latham and Wilson as expected pre-draft visits, Fittipaldo also stated that he’d be surprised if the top three tackles in Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson, West Virginia’s Zach Frazier and Duke’s Graham Barton don’t make their way to the Steelers’ facility for a pre-draft visit.

Frazier reportedly was a pre-draft visitor earlier in the offseason but he doesn’t’ count against the 30 official visits as he’s considered a local product.

I’d be surprised if all three of the top centers don’t make their way here, to be honest with you. Pat Meyer was at the Oregon Pro Day for Jackson Powers-Johnson. Arthur Smith was at Duke for Graham Barton, and I’m sure the Steelers had people at the Big 12 Pro Day for Zach Frazier, too,” Fittipaldo said regarding the centers in the draft. “…I think all three of those centers will probably make their way to Pittsburgh as well.”

The Steelers have been heavily scouting the centers so far in the pre-draft process, that much is certain. Meyer was at Oregon’s Pro Day, while Smith was at Barton’s Pro Day at Duke. The Steelers also had assistant offensive line coach Isaac Williams at the Big 12 Pro Day to get a close look at Frazier.

There’s a glaring need at center for the Steelers, and they know as much. It will be quite telling if Barton and Powers-Johnson are brought to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit.

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