First call: Steelers mock draft with a WPIAL tie; Devils win NHL draft lottery |
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Steelers mock draft with a WPIAL tie; Devils win NHL draft lottery

Tim Benz
AP Photo
Michigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich (15) celebrates with defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour (50) after a sack of Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, bottom, in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Michigan won 42-7.

In Wednesday’s “First Call,” an encouraging — but odd — mock draft for the Steelers. Ray Shero scores the first pick. And heartfelt goodbyes for Dirk and D-Wade.

Mega mock

Dane Brugler of The Athletic went through the massive task of doing a full seven-round mock NFL Draft.

Here is what he came up with for the Steelers’ first few rounds. And before you ask, yes, he suggests inside linebackers Devin Bush and Devin White will both be gone by pick No. 12.

Round 1 (No. 20): T.J. Hockenson, tight end, Iowa

Round 2 (No. 52): Chase Winovich, edge, Michigan

Round 3 (No. 66): Julian Love, cornerback, Notre Dame

Round 3 (No. 83): Germaine Pratt, linebacker, N.C. State

You can see the rest of Brugler’s projections here. He has a wide receiver ticketed to Pittsburgh in Round 4.

I’ll work backwards here. If the Steelers get Love and Pratt in the third round, that’s good value. I’ve heard and seen them slated as second-rounders in some other projections.

Winovich — a Thomas Jefferson product — would be a good fit in the defense, filling the need for pass-rushing depth, and could be a potential starter next year.

As far as Hockenson goes, he’s a good player. I like both of the potential first-round Iowa tight ends (Noah Fant is the other one). But I’m not on the increasingly crowded train of making tight end a first-round priority for the Steelers.

Address that position later.

It should be noted that Brugler’s mock still had Mack Wilson available at No. 20. The Alabama inside linebacker is widely viewed as the next-best option at that position after “The Two Devins.”

Corners Greedy Williams (LSU), Byron Murphy (Washington), and Rock Ya-Sin (Temple) were all still on the board.

So was Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

I’d go with all of them before any tight end.

Shero scores

Here at “First Call” on Tuesday, we told you that the Devils were retaining Ray Shero as general manager.

Well, the former Penguins GM got some good news last night. New Jersey won the draft lottery.

The New York Rangers will pick second, and the Chicago Blackhawks will pick third.

Jack Hughes is expected to be the top player drafted. He’s currently with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team in the United States Hockey League.

Hughes skates with Devils star Taylor Hall in the summer time. Right wing Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Liiga in Finland is also a candidate.

Farewell DWade

It was an emotional night in the NBA. Especially in Miami. Heat star Dwyane Wade is retiring, and he went out in style with 30 points.

Miami beat Philadelphia, 122-99. But they were eliminated from the playoffs when Detroit won. Since it was slated to be the team’s last regular-season home game, they made sure the three-time champion was sent off with honors.

It wasn’t all perfect.

But it was pretty good. Even former President Barack Obama — a longtime resident of Chicago, where Wade is from — got involved.

And the Heat fans took some shots at Celtics star Paul Pierce, who recently claimed he would’ve had the better NBA career if he had benefit of playing with Shaquille O’Neal like Wade did.

Nothing like a little NBA drama on the way out the door.

Farewell Dirk

Dallas legend Dirk Nowitzki played the last home game of his Mavericks career. He teared up after the team played a video tribute to him for everything he did for charity during his 20 years in Dallas.

Nowitzki gave the home fans something to smile about as he scored the first 10 points of the game for the Mavs. He ended the night with 30.

Dallas beat Phoenix, 120-109.

Up and down Dukes

It’s been a mixed bag week for Duquesne’s basketball team. The Dukes got word on Sunday that Former Dukes All-American Chuck Cooper (1947-50) was named to the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

But the school also found out leading scorer Eric Williams plans to transfer. And according to CBS Sports college basketball analyst John Rothstein, there is a lot of interest from high major schools

Brandon Wade and Gavin Bizeau also entered the transfer portal.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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