Steelers host wide receivers and defensive backs for predraft visits
Continuing to do their homework on players that can catch passes or intercept them, the Steelers hosted five draft prospects Thursday – all wide receivers or defensive backs.
Invited to the UMPC Rooney Sports Complex for predraft visits were Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, North Carolina wide receiver MackHollins, West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson and Pitt cornerback Ryan Lewis.
Humphrey and Melifonwu are high-round picks that could be available when the Steelers draft with the 30th overall selection.
Humphrey, the son of former Alabama and NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, declared for the draft after his redshirt sophomore year. At 6-foot, 197 pounds, he is ranked as the second-best cornerback available in the draft, according to CBSSports.com.
Melifonwu, one of the biggest safeties in the draft at 6-4, 224, was a four-year starter at Connecticut. He led the Huskies with 118 tackles and four interceptions. Analysts list him as the third-best safety available.
Pitt's Lewis was not invited to the NFL Combine and was listed as an undrafted free until. Then, he ran a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash at Pitt's pro day, which could have raised his stock.
The wide receivers visiting – Hollins and Gibson – are considered mid-round picks. Hollins, a 6-4 target, was hobbled by injuries at North Carolina, never playing more than 50 percent of the snaps in a season. He had his senior year cut short by a collarbone injury that required surgery. Still, he averaged 19.3 yards on 16 receptions as a senior and had a 24.8 average and eight touchdowns as a junior.
Gibson, another deep threat, averaged 24.0 and 22.1 yards-per-catch and had a combined 17 touchdown receptions in his final two seasons at West Virginia.
Considered one of the faster players in the draft, Gibson ran a disappointing 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He ran again at West Virginia's pro day and shaved his 40 time to 4.39 seconds.
West Virginia and Pitt players, considered “local” visits by NFL calculations, do not count against the allotment of 30 total visits. The Steelers have exhausted 22 of their visits, and they have hosted an additional six players with local ties.
NOTE: The Steelers unveiled dates and times for their four preseason games. The preseason opener is Friday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. at the New York Giants. Home games follow on Saturday, Aug. 20 against the Atlanta Falcons at 4 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 26 against the Indianapolis Colts at 7:30 p.m. The preseason concludes Thursday, Aug. 31 with a game at 7:30 p.m. at the Carolina Panthers.