There will be many prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers will consider with the 30th overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. On April 27th, Kevin Colbert in company will be tasked with selecting a prospect who will make a tremendous difference to the team. There are a few prospects who I do not think should be in the pool of players considered in round one for the Steelers. I do not hate these players nor do I don’t think they’re deserving, I just simply think the Steelers should pass.
1. TJ Watt – There has already been some conjured up interest in TJ Watt, who is the younger brother of Texans star, JJ. Watt had a great combine, but his tape did not back up the athleticism displayed in Indianapolis. Watt only has one full season under his belt. He is extremely raw as a pass rusher and that worries me. In a first round pick, the prospect should be almost ready to play. Being too raw, I don’t see how Watt can contribute positively in 2017. Watt is solid against the run but I’m worried about how he will translate to the NFL level. Watt is going from one season in collegiate football to the NFL, where the offensive lineman are far bigger, better and more athletic. I don’t think Watt will be able to keep up. A team who drafts Watt should have a contingency in place where Watt can play very sparingly and adapt to the speed and level of the NFL. The Steelers do not have that luxury. In my opinion, Watt is only getting this hype because of his name, he is a 2nd – 3rd round guy for me.
2. Jabrill Peppers – I don’t even know where to start. I’m not sure why Steelers fans are gawking over a guy with one career turnover and no defined position. He is going to be rather raw at either the safety position or the linebacker position. He still has to re-learn almost everything there is to know about which ever position is he drafted to play. The investment risk-reward just does not add up for me. Yes, Peppers is athletic, but I see a true 4-3 outside linebacker. I’m not sure where Steelers fans want him to play, but I don’t see a guy who can be a game changer, let alone get on the field any time soon. I also do not have a first round grade on him.
3. Carl Lawson – I’m going to get a ton of hate for this, but just watch the film. Lawson has zero interest in playing the run. His pursuit is pathetic and he can’t set the edge well. Teams will be running to his side constantly and he will give up a ton of yards. When there is 1:55 left in the game and the other team is running the ball, you’re forced to take out your outside linebacker because he can’t play the run. How is that warranted a first round grade? Lawson has very limited experience in coverage, which is also daunting. Yes, Lawson may be a top 2-3 pass rusher in this class, but if the other important aspects of the position are very lacking, I don’t see the value. You cannot depend on a position coach to make your first round pick improve immensely on a significant part of the game. Depending on a position coach to try and make Lawson WANT to play the run, is also naive. If he is worth the 30th overall pick, he should already be well rounded. Lawson is not, I’d much rather have a well-versed prospect with a high ceiling.
4. Marlon Humphrey – I’ve seen Humphrey linked to the Steelers a ton by some other Steelers “sites”. The dude allowed more than 19 yards per completion as a starter…19! That is some Antwon Blake burn marks right there. I thought we were over that? Humphrey’s technique is horrendous and he is extremely raw in the pass game. What he has going for him is his ability and aggression to play the run. He is excellent at it. This is a passing league, though and getting burnt deep can’t be covered up, especially when the Steelers still have a strong safety still playing free safety.
5. Haason Reddick – This is contingent on Reddick only if he would be drafted to play outside linebacker. Reddick got away with getting to the quarterback in college because of his speed and the competition. The traits that made him successful at rushing the passer won’t translate to the NFL level. He will get swallowed up by big offensive tackles and become a non-factor as a pass rusher. If you watch his film, you’ll get the gist of what I’m saying. Those enamored by his speed and athleticism should hop on the Reddick-to-inside-linebacker train. He would be excellent next to Ryan Shazier, not Stephon Tuitt.
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