A look at Day 3 of the Steelers 2020 Draft Class, which included four players, two on offense and two on defense.
The Steelers began Day 3 of the NFL Draft by selecting running back Anthony McFarland with the first of their two fourth round picks, the 124th pick overall in the draft.
"I am really excited to add a guy like Anthony McFarland," said running backs coach Eddie Faulkner. "A good fit to the room, a good complement to what is already on our roster. We have some familiarity with him. People speak very highly of him. You look at the tape he offers a change of pace to our room. I think he will be a great addition. I am excited to get him in the fold."
McFarland, who played at the University of Maryland, had 114 rushing attempts for 614 yards last season, scoring eight touchdowns. His season was hampered by an ankle injury he suffered Week 2 against Temple that didn't let up as the season went on, even though he missed only one game.
"I am 100 percent now," said McFarland. "My ankle injury during the season, I was injured the whole season. It happened Week 2 against Temple and I didn't get 100 percent until the end of the season. I dealt with that the whole season. I played on it. I only missed one game, against Indiana. Now I am 100 percent and ready to go."
McFarland finished his Maryland career with 1,648 rushing yards in just two seasons, ranking 21st overall in school history. He ranks ninth in school history with six 100-yard games.
In 2018 he broke the Maryland freshman rushing record with 1,034 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per carry.
The Steelers are familiar with McFarland as he is a teammate of Dino Tomlin, son of Coach Mike Tomlin, and new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada was the offensive coordinator in 2018 at Maryland and they already have a strong relationship.
"He is like a father-figure to me," said McFarland of Canada. "Every time I see him, I am going to pick his brain. I am glad I am going to be around him."
The Steelers stayed on the offensive side of the ball with their second pick in the fourth round, the 135th pick overall, by selecting guard Kevin Dotson from Louisiana.
Dotson was a 2019 Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Focus first-team All-American who made 52 starts in his college career.
"Watching him on tape he is a really big man with great lift," said offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett. "He is a very good athlete. What really shows up on his tape is he is a people mover. I really like that. This guy can move. He can do all of the stuff we were looking for. The second level stuff is good. He is the type of guy we look at that old school run game stuff like back in the day when you would run through guys. This really flashes on his tape and jumped out at us.
"We like the off the field stuff too. Nobody every said anything bad about him. He is a self-made guy looking for the next step. We are looking forward to getting him in a Steelers uniform and getting him rolling."
According to Sarrett, Dotson is an interior player who has the flexibility to move to tackle and has the ability to come in and compete for the left guard spot that was vacated by the retirement of Ramon Foster.
"He has all of the intangibles," said Sarrett. "When you watch this guy, he runs through people. He can run through the point of attack. It brings flexibility to the room. It gives us options. At the end of the day the best five will start, but I think realistically that is a guy who can go in and compete for the spot."
Dotson, the first non-Combine player to be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, grew up a Steelers fan and said coming to the black and gold is a dream.
"The craziest thing about it is they are legit my family's favorite team," said Dotson. "To get this pick is ridiculous. It's crazy.
"They have always been my number one team. I have followed them since I was five. Even in my house, we have a big old man cave and it's all Steelers decked out. I have been following them forever. My favorite player used to be 'The Bus' (Jerome Bettis). All of my passwords had the number 36 at the end of them just because of that. Now that this is happening, it's ridiculous. I couldn't even imagine it happening."
The other thing that has his mind blown is the reality that he will be playing with Ben Roethlisberger and blocking for the quarterback he grew up watching.
"I have always been a fan of Ben," said Dotson. "It's going to be crazy. In my mind I always thought of him as someone I would never meet. One of the legends I would never be able to block for. This is going to be a dream to be able to play with players you have looked up to your entire life."
Antoine Brooks Jr.
The Steelers selected their second player of the draft from the University of Maryland when they drafted safety Antoine Brooks Jr. in the sixth round with the 198th pick overall. Brooks joins teammate Anthony McFarland, selected in the fourth round, as the second Maryland player taken today.
"Me and him are going to ball out until we can't anymore," said Brooks of playing with McFarland again. "Me and him in the same locker room being reunited. It's the next level."
Brooks, who was voted MVP for the Terrapins last season, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches) and third-team All-Big Ten selection (media).
"He is a really good physical player," said Teryl Austin, senior defensive assistant/secondary. "He plays a little of everywhere, and he was around the ball. Wherever the ball is, he is going to show up. He has a really good feel for the game in terms of instincts and not being afraid to make a decision."
Brooks finished the season as the Terps leading tackler with 87 stops, including 69 solo stops, also had eight and a half tackles for a loss and five pass defenses.
"I take tackling very seriously," said Brooks. "That is the impact of football. I think football is tackling. It's running the ball and tackling. That is how you have fun in football. I can never lose the one-on-one battles. I won't. I would be terribly upset if I did lose that battle. I am passionate about tackling and getting the ball back and stuff like that.
"I just want to play football to the best of my ability. I am an aggressive tackler, aggressive player. I did a lot of blitzing. A lot of moving around when I was at Maryland."
Brooks considered quitting football while at Duval High in Lanham, Maryland when his senior season he suffered a compound fracture of his ankle and a wrist injury in a game against rival Wise High.
"I was pretty close to quitting," said Brooks. "I was in the hospital for a week. I was sitting there thinking what should I do? My outcome was I should keep playing. I didn't want to be the person who almost made it or could have made it. Now I am proud because I am where I am now."
The Steelers completed their 2020 NFL Draft Class by selecting Nebraska defensive tackle Carlos Davis out of Nebraska with their seventh-round pick, the 232nd overall pick in the draft.
Davis finished his Nebraska career with 125 total tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and nine and a half sacks.
"He is a strong kid. He is a talented athlete," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He is a two-sport player, was on the track and field team."
Davis, who was an All-American in track and field, played his final season as a graduate student and started 11 of 12 games as a defensive end his senior season. He had 32 tackles, ranking second among Nebraska's defensive linemen, only behind his twin brother Kahlil Davis, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 194th pick overall.
The Steelers did a virtual interview with the twins together leading into the draft and General Manager Kevin Colbert was impressed.
"It was entertaining to say the least," said Colbert. "Very smart young men. They went to the Combine and he ran a 4.79 in a 300 plus body. What we are looking from him is a definite upside. We hope to continue to see how he develops. He crept onto the scene late. We doubled back to make sure we liked what we saw. The more we talked to him, the more we evaluated him, the more we liked what we saw."
The selection of Davis gives the Steelers depth on the line after the departure of Javon Hargrave via free agency.