A draft is more about adding talent for the future than it is adding it to the present. The result of the Steelers' drafts since 2008 have been more negative than positive, but each round appears to have a different reason based on the decisions the team has made. We explore each round and get to the root problem of each one.
It's a curious, if not scary, thought. What would the Steelers do without utility offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum?
Worked almost like the sixth man on a basketball team, there was a point last season a national writer wondered aloud how much trouble the Steelers would be in after center Maurkice Pouncey went down with injury, because the team's back-up tight end is now at center.
Upon being informed Beachum is more the team's back-up guard and tackle than he is back-up tight end, he responded very confused, "then why is he playing center?"
"Because the Steelers don't really have anyone else."
Beachum completed his Offensive Line Sampler Tour at left tackle, where he was competing with/replacing the injured Levi Brown. He played all positions on the line at some point, and played his most consistent football at left tackle, perhaps not coincidentally, the position at which he spent the most time during the season.
That's Beachum's high-level value, though. A utility lineman who can be moved around based on team need.
The Steelers got him in the seventh round, and actually got a few players of that kind of ilk with these late picks. They've had more overall success in the seventh round since 2008 than they have in the fifth round, for example, and perhaps more than the fourth round as well (jury is still out on a few of those players).
Beachum's value is through the roof, and carries a huge amount of the weight of that argument. Adding to it are Baron Batch, who provided special teams contributions as well as a few carries here and there in his time with the team. Add in David Johnson, a very underrated blocking and move tight end who, if not for injuries, may have had a longer stint with the team. David Paulson was brought in to replace him, and probably isn't going to be able to hold that job long-term.
Nick Williams is held in high regard among the Steelers' coaches, and could be the next Beachum sort. He was placed on injured reserve during training camp last year, and his return is one of the more highly anticipated among the team this season.
Top to bottom, it appears the Steelers' scouting department is still capable of finding contributory, if not starting-level, players in the seventh round. That, above everything else, could help this team bust out of the salary cap and mediocre talent doldrums it's been in for the last three years.