The third and final day of the NFL draft may not get the most media coverage, but it certainly should not be forgotten about. Players selected in these later rounds may feel like they’ll have less impact immediately than the players drafted before them, but in the long run, these are the players who help round out a team’s roster. It can also be a sweet spot for a team to find a diamond in the rough, with a few examples that the Steelers have found being Antonio Brown, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, and Ike Taylor. This year, the Steelers may have found their next late-round gem in Mason McCormick.

McCormick is a guard from South Dakota State who started in 70 career games, ending his collegiate career with a whopping 57 consecutive starts. He’s a little old for a draft prospect at 23, but the Steelers may covet that experience more than they would if he was more raw. He may not start for the Steelers this year unless James Daniels or Isaac Seumalo gets injured, but he may eventually blossom into a quality offensive lineman for the Steelers, at least if one certain trend is to be believed.

In February of 2023, Josh Norris of Underdog Fantasy published a YouTube video breaking down how important the short shuttle at the NFL Combine is for offensive linemen. He describes how, since 2010, only 28 offensive linemen have recorded a 4.47-second short shuttle or better, and that of those 28, 24 were drafted. Those 24 players would go on to start 84% of their career NFL games. In his words, it’s a cheat code for drafting offensive linemen. The short shuttle test itself is meant to test a player’s short-area quickness, flexibility, and speed when changing directions, so for offensive linemen, it’s a drill that matters greatly.

What does this mean for the Steelers? Well, Mason McCormick just so happened to post a short shuttle time of 4.45 seconds. When looking at the list of players who met Norris’ threshold, those drafted in the fourth round or later include Zach Tom, Joe Haeg, Jason Kelce, David Quessenberry, Matthew Paradis, and Chase Roullier, among others.

While that list may not sound all that impressive outside of Kelce, it’s important to look at the context of the situation. All of those players have started in at least half the games they’ve played in. At the bare minimum, most of them have been average starters for multiple years.

During the third day of the draft, it becomes infinitely harder for a team to find, draft, and develop a starting-caliber player. Some years, the Steelers’ best selection on Day 3 has been a player like Benny Snell Jr.or Zach Gentry. Most of the time, the best player they’ll have taken beyond the third round is a quality special teams player who probably won’t get a second contract from them.

Getting a player like David Quessenberry, who posted the exact same shuttle time as McCormick and was taken in the sixth round, would be phenomenal. A starter for ten-plus years who may not make a Pro Bowl, but will consistently suit up for games and set the tempo for everyone, much like Larry Foote or Ike Taylor.

It remains to be seen what becomes of McCormick’s career, but based on the high amount of starts he had in college, as well as posting an exceptional short shuttle time, there’s more indication than not that he could take over for one of Daniels or Seumalo eventually.

With Daniels’ contract being up after this season, and Seumalo turning 31 during this upcoming season as well, next year may see the rise of Mason McCormick. Along with the additions of Troy Fautanu and Zach Frazier, the future is looking bright for Pittsburgh along the offensive line.


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