Samaje Perine, Ben's 2017 Steelers' Re-Draft

Ben’s 2017 Steelers’ Re-Draft

Had I been running the 2017 Steelers draft I would have approached things with a slightly different set of priorities than the Steelers seemingly did. Granted, I know who was picked and when. So this kind of Monday morning GM-ing isn’t exactly fair. But, the selections I’ll make will give you a sense for what I thought of the draft and what I think of it now that I’ve had some time to reflect upon it.

I wrote something to the effect of what I would have done and what I expected the Steelers to do on April 27. My point of view has changed a little bit since.

First Round:

Steelers Selection: TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin

My Selection: TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin

Watt fit the prototype, not at the position, but at the pick. The Steelers have been taking tremendous athletes in the first round the past few drafts (Shazier, Dupree, Burns). Most were better athletes than football players when they were taken. They’ve had good success taking these young guys and molding them into good players. Shazier is on the cusp of being a Pro Bowl player. Dupree is coming into his own as well and Burns is going to be a very good NFL cornerback, as soon as he learns the game. Watt, with his limited experience, will probably go through the same process. When you’re drafting at 30, you’re taking the top of the 2nd round grades. Watt fills a need at OLB, has the physical traits, attitude and work ethic to be successful there and tremendous upside.

Second Round:

Steelers Selection: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

My Selection: Trade 2017 4th & 5th Round Choices & 2018 7th round choice to Seattle for their 4th (#58) and select Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado 

It’s not that I dislike Juju. In fact, I think you will all like the player very much. I just think that a WR was unnecessary this year. They already had AB, Bryant, Eli, Coates, DHB, Ayers, Cobi and Justin Hunter. The room was already full.
Awuzie would have been an instant upgrade at Ross Cockrell’s right cornerback spot. Green Bay and Dallas both had the same draft needs. Dallas had taken an Edge player in the 1st but needed a CB and that Green Bay still needed a safety, meaning a safety would likely not be available either.
I should point out that my selection assumes that Seattle would accept my offer. I am fairly certain that Kansas City would not have. They were targeting Kpassagnon and were thrilled that Oakland had not taken him. For all we know the Steelers tried to move up and could not. When they found themselves at 62 with the best available CB being Moreau and the best available safety being John Johnson, they went with the best value on their board in a talented and very young (there’s that theme again) wide receiver.

Third Round: 

Steelers Selection: Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

My Selection: Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado

Simply put, I don’t like the Sutton pick. Watching his film, he mirrors very well. But, he lacks physicality, does not like to tackle and plays his coverage soft, counting on jumping routes to be effective.  Besides, I just traded up to take Awuzie.
Thompson represents a better value here. He would have been the heir apparent to Mike Mitchell and been a solid 3rd safety for the next few years. Seattle absolutely got a steal with him at the top of the 4th.

Third Round Compensatory Selection:

Steelers Selection: James Conner, RB, Pitt

My Selection: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Conner was a reach in my opinion. He’s a nice RB, but will never be an NFL starting caliber running back. When Perine, Joe Williams, Jamal Williams, Marlon Mack and Wayne Gallman all have better than average to very successful rookie years, people will turn on Conner, which isn’t really fair. He is doing his best with athleticism that is less than elite.
Perine will probably be the starter in Washington this year. He was taken nine picks after Conner. The bigger issue here is, Le’Veon Bell has yet to even sign his franchise tender, much less a long term contract. You’re never going to get equal value to Bell. However, this was a draft where the Steelers could have taken an insurance running back who could start in Bell’s place and perform at a high level should he leave in 2018 or 2019. This class was so good that starter caliber RBs were taken as late as the early 5th.

Fourth Round: 

Steelers Selection: Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

My Selection: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

It’s not that I dislike Dobbs. It’s that I don’t think they needed to draft another backup QB this year. Dobbs’ chances of ever being an NFL starter are slim at best. Impressions gleaned by watching Jon Gruden’s QB Camp are rarely accurate and this is another of those situations.
Butt is the do everything pretty well, doing nothing really outstanding tight end prospect that the Broncos are going to love.

Fifth Round:

Steelers Selection: Brian Allen, CB, Utah

My Selection: traded

Allen is the big, super athletic, raw as the hamburger you see at the grocery store, cornerback the Steelers took in the 5th. He is likely headed to the practice squad this year.

Sixth Round: 

Steelers Selection: Colin Holba, LS, Lousiville

My Selection: Colin Holba, LS, Louisville

I really had no problem with this pick. The day of the draft as I went through who was still available at DB and Edge, I couldn’t see anyone I really liked. I then looked at TE and Offensive line and again, I couldn’t see anyone I really liked. Greg Warren is getting up in years, has had two major knee injuries and you need a reliable long snapper. That’s evident by the Patriots burning a 5th rounder on one last year. And for those of you who think the Steelers can choose whoever they want from the pool of undrafted free agents, you are sorely mistaken.
Here’s why; the vast majority of Steelers undrafted free agents receive no signing bonus at all. There are teams that pay priority UDFAs as much as $40,000 to sign. Pittsburgh might pay $10,000,…. if they really like a prospect.
Besides, just as many people who are complaining about a long snapper being taken this year, loved the Travis Freeney pick last year and THAT was a complete throw away pick. This guy may actually contribute.

Seventh Round: 

Steelers Selection: Keion Adams, OLB, Western Michigan

My Selection: Keion Adams, OLB, Western Michigan

Now while we all know that people like SteelDad, who are from Western Michigan, are very suspect, I like this undersized Edge player. While I don’t see him making the 2017 53-man roster, I think his long term prospects are solid. A year on the practice squad and another as a depth player and he could very well end up being a game day swing man capable of playing inside or outside, depending on how much he learns. He has the physical traits to be another Arthur Moats.

Image credit: stormininmorman.com

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Ben Anderson

About Ben Anderson

• Steelers, Pens. • Ravens Suck. • It's Black n GOLD. That song is about his car, not the Steelers. • Follow me on Twitter at @BenAnderson58. Agreement & Disagreement will both be met with discussion. Trolling will be met with the sound of crickets because you'll be blocked.

3 comments on “Ben’s 2017 Steelers’ Re-Draft

  1. Ok here’s mine, i didn’t just pull names out of a hat. 1, Kevin King CB 2,Dawuane Smoot OLB 3a,Chad Williams WR 3B, Eddie Jackson S 4,Marlon Mack RB 5, Sam Tevi OT 6, Elijah Lee LB 7, Jerod Evans QB

    • Hmm. I’m not sure if you’re trying to imply that I did pull names out of a hat.
      – King would have been an alright pick. I don’t like him as much as SteelDad. He’s too grabby. Sidney Jones was a smoother, better cover corner. Unfortunately his Achilles didn’t cooperate through his pro day.
      – I like Smoot, but I like Jordan Willis a lot better. He also fits the mold the Steelers seem to be embracing. They place as much emphasis on athleticism as they do football specific abilities the past few years.
      – Chad Williams I wasn’t really that big a fan of. Character concerns and not that quick off the line. I did like Kenny Golladay and he was taken in this range. But, as I alluded to above, I didn’t think they needed a WR this year. The pick of Juju is a clear indication that they lack faith in a few wideouts.
      – I scouted Jackson. I liked that he can return punts and kicks. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands. But, I wasn’t overly impressed with his physicality, especially his tackling. The Steelers expect their safeties to be physical in the mold of Mike Mitchell and Ryan Clark before him.
      – I would have taken Gallman over Mack in the 4th because of Mack’s fumbling history. But, I like both backs.
      – Sam Tevi I did not scout. I was told he is viewed as a right tackle only and that being the case I didn’t think Pittsburgh would take him. The Steelers really don’t have any holes on their O line right now, thank goodness. It would be nice to get a guy in who can play guard and provide depth though. So maybe Tevi would have fit the bill.
      – Elijah Lee, I liked. But, I don’t see him as an upgrade to any of the depth players behind Williams and Shazier. So I would have passed here.
      – Jerod Evans I do not like at all. I did hope the Steelers would consider Lorenzo Jerome here, but I think people are going to like the Adams pick in a few years. BTW, Evans is already on Philly’s injured reserve. He injured his foot in rookie minicamp. I expect the Eagles to give him an injury settlement in the next few days and I doubt we’ll ever hear about him again.

  2. I agree but i still think these are all better picks. I was talking about me just pulling names. I really liked the last two draft classes, this one still has me shaking my head. I just think there was better talent every time they picked it was like they were one round behind.

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