Good Monday to you Steelers fans.
Our first real look at this year’s crop of potential draft picks is behind us as the NFL Combine wraps up. From here, Pro Days and official visits will follow. If you’re looking for a prediction on who the Pittsburgh Steelers will take in round one based on this past weekend, you can forget it. I’m gonna need way more to go on than that. What I feel very safe in saying however is that I really believe the Steelers are going to go defense in round one. Be that a defensive lineman, linebacker, EDGE or cornerback I can’t say yet, but I’m feeling defense. Think about it. They averaged just 18 points a game last year yet KEPT Matt Canada. That tells me they like the direction of things. It also tells me they know they have to get better at LB, DL and CB in a division with Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson.
Guys Who Impressed
Anytime you go under four seconds in the shuttle drill then you’re probably having a damn good Combine. Jaxon Smith-Njigba did just that. He also excelled in the field drills and showed no ill effects of a bad hamstring that cost him so much of 2022… C.J. Stroud looked outstanding in all phases of the field drills. Great accuracy, zip and a beautiful deep ball… The numbers Anthony Richardson put up were just plain ridiculous. Two concerns with him are his accuracy and ability to process information quickly…Dawand Jones and Darnell Wright both looked really good as potential right tackles. Jones’ size is criminal when you look at how well he moves… Northwestern OT Peter Skronski had a great workout and has people wondering if he stays at tackle or plays guard. There was even some discussion about him being a center because of his athleticism… Tulane RB Tyjae Spears made himself some money in my opinion. Watching him in field drills he looks like a nightmare matchup LBs and DBs…
Tweet of the Day… The former Steeler does have a point.
Maybe I’m old but when did doing the expected at the combine become an achievement??? Athletic guys should jump high. QBs should throw good balls. Strong men should move weights. The only question should be “can he play?” Somehow that important question gets lost in this hype
— Chad Brown (@chadbrown94) March 5, 2023
Movin’ On Up
To borrow a phrase from the terrific TV show ‘The Jefferson’s’ it’s very likely the Steelers could be “movin’ on up” when it comes to the Draft. It may not be however, the spot you might be thinking. While the idea of moving up from 17 is always a possibility, I have to believe the Steelers are very keen on moving up from 32 even if just for a couple of spots. Why? Because moving back into the first round gives the team that well-loved fifth-year option. Assuming the Steelers had already made their first 1st round selection, this would give them two players with that option. To move, let’s say from 32 to 27 where Buffalo is, here’s a scenario we worked out using the trade chart.
As you can see, at least hypothetically, moving into the first round wouldn’t cost all that much. You are still going to get a player at 59 who is potentially very, very good. At the end of the day, this is something worth thinking about as the Draft approaches.
Steelers’ GM Omar Khan has made it clear the team will work hard to get an extension done for Alex Highsmith. That makes sense as he goes into his final season of his rookie contract. He and T.J. Watt are a lethal duo but they need help – quality help – at their positions. In the coming days, I expect the Steelers to start freeing up some cap space through restructured deals, cuts etc and I’m guessing that finding at least one quality third OLB will be heavy on their ‘to-do’ list. They saw what life without Watt looks like and they have to find better than that.
We’ve started our NFL Draft Coverage here at SCB and the first of our Position Profiles is out. We’ve made the decision that rather than make extensive profiles of each player, we are doing smaller ones and grouping them by position. This allows us to easier update information as Pro Days and the Combine provide more info.
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