An inside linebacker with first-round potential, Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch has relished his chance to meet this week with NFL general managers, coaches and talent evaluators. He relished his get-together with the Steelers more than most. Just ask him. “That one was really enjoyable,” Vander Esch said Saturday at the NFL Combine. “I loved it. It was a great time meeting the coaches and the organization. It was an absolute blast.” Several NFL Draft analysts have predicted the Steelers will select Vander Esch with the No. 28 overall selection April 26. Vander Esch and Alabama's Rashaan Evans are inside linebackers most associated with the Steelers in the first round since the loss of Ryan Shazier, who won't play in 2018 because of his spinal cord injury. “It would mean everything to play for an organization like the Steelers and the reputation the defense has,” Vander Esch said. “It would be pretty special. It would be awesome.” Vander Esch, though, is no Shazier, not in sideline-to-sideline play-making ability, size or speed. Where Shazier played at 230 pounds, Vander Esch weighed 240 pounds in his final college season, and he bulked up to 256 pounds for the combine. He also is three inches taller at 6-foot-4.