ShareThis Page

Steelers host 4 underclassmen, including Pitt's Conner, Penn State's Godwin

| Thursday, April 6, 2017, 1:18 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Running back James Conner reaches back to make a catch during Pitt's pro day Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

When Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert headed to the NFL Combine in February, he said he was excited to meet the underclassmen coming out for the draft.

It's safe to say that enthusiasm continued Thursday when four of the five pre-draft visitors hosted by the Steelers were underclassmen, including Pitt running back James Conner.

Also visiting were Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin, Washington safety Bishard “Budda” Baker, N.C. State safety Joshua Jones and Florida inside linebacker Jarrad Davis, the lone senior among the bunch.

Conner does not count against the team's allotment of 30 pre-draft visits. The Steelers have hosted 11 such players so far. Conner and Gateway graduate Montae Nicholson, a safety from Michigan State, are the local visitors.

Baker and Jones are considered among the best prospects at their respective positions. Baker is viewed as the No. 2 free safety on the draft board, and Jones is the No. 4 strong safety, according to Baker is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10 but is considered a first-round prospect. Jones, at 6-1, is viewed as a second-rounder.

Florida's Davis is a 6-1, 238-pound inside linebacker whom CBSSports graded as the third-best player at the position. The Steelers could seek depth there after Lawrence Timmons departed in free agency to the Miami Dolphins, leaving backup Vince Williams as the starter.

Godwin is listed as the No. 5 wide receiver prospect and a second-round selection. Conner is a later-round draft possibility, according to most draft publications.

Meanwhile, Steelers reserve offensive lineman Chris Hubbard, one of the team's two restricted free agents, signed his $1.797 million tender, according to NFL transactions. By signing his tender, Hubbard is bound to the Steelers for the 2017 season.

The remaining restricted free agent is starting cornerback Ross Cockrell, who also received a $1.797 million tender. He faces an April 21 deadline to sign an offer sheet from another team.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.