With the actual National Football League Draft in the rear-view mirror now, I’m taking a look back. Playing ‘general manager’ is always a thrill for people like me who think they actually know something. With that in mind I’m re-drafting for the Steelers. In other words, I’m doing what I would have done in each situation the Steelers’ faced.
Steelers Pick: T.J. Watt
My Pick: T.J. Watt
My Rationale: Initially I wasn’t crazy about this pick but here’s what I’ve come around on. When you pick 30th, you’re essentially looking at second round talent and that’s where I had Watt anyway. Both Buddha Baker and Kevin King were very high on my list but each had certain limitations that I couldn’t live with. Watt fit a glaring need and has good upside.
Steelers Pick: JuJu Smith-Schuster
My Pick: Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State
My Rationale: With Chidobe Awuzie and Josh Jones both off the board directly ahead of the Steelers I can see why they went with Schuster when they did. With no corner available to my liking there, I’m taking Willis. Yes, I’m double-dipping at the position but he and Watt are different edge guys and the Steelers preach pressure first and coverage second.
Steelers Pick: Cam Sutton
My Pick: Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
My Rationale: I wasn’t a big fan of Sutton because I was not crazy about his lack of tackling ability and lack of aggressiveness. Douglas isn’t as strong in man coverage as I’d like but he can press when necessary. He’s got plenty of length and plays the ball well too.
Third Round (Comp)
Steelers Pick: James Conner
My Pick: Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
My Rationale: Look, there’s plenty to like about James Conner as a player and as a person but I believe they could have had him in the fourth round. Whether this was a ‘character’ pick or not doesn’t matter. With questions about Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates, Reynolds would have been my guy. He’s long, fast and athletic and would be an immediate deep threat with his track background. He also goes up and gets the ball too.
Steelers Pick: Josh Dobbs
My Pick: Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
My Rationale: I was adamant prior to the draft that I would not draft a quarterback. With a better QB class coming next season and Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones already entrenched, a QB could have easily been had in free agency. Let’s face it; if you’re down to your third QB your season is done anyway. Therefore I took Mack. He runs the ball well and catches it well out of the backfield. He’s the type of guy that spells your workhorse and gives you a big play threat few reserves can.
Steelers Pick: Brian Allen
My Pick: Brian Allen
My Rationale: This is another situation that falls in the same category as Watt. Based on what was remaining, I think Allen was the best choice. His athleticism is excellent and he has a terrific build for a corner or safety. Yes, he’s very raw but if he continues to grow and develop into capable NFL defensive back then the pick will have more than been worth it.
Steelers Pick: Colin Holba
My Pick: Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville
My Rationale: While I understand why the Steelers drafted Holba, I feel the same way with a long snapper as I do with a number three quarterback. The Steelers felt that they had addressed their needs in the top four rounds thereby allowing them to grab this young man from Louisville. Instead, I’m taking another Cardinals’ player who comes with a sketchy background (two marijuana busts) but tons of upside.
Steelers Pick: Keion Adams
My Pick: Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood
My Rationale: I really don’t have an issue with Adams but since I doubled up on pass rushers earlier I don’t need another. Harris is a tackling machine who should have been playing at the top level of college football. He has a relentless motor and is a football junkie and is a perfect special teams’ guy to start with.