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Steelers Draft in Review: Round 5

It's easy to go over the top with optimism or pessimism about any draft, but it's rarely as good or as bad as we think it could be.  I’m going to try to give a tempered analysis of the players we drafted, hopefully helping us understand why we made some picks and keeping our expectations at a rational level.

Round Five: Dennis Dixon 6’4, 205

Strengths: Dixon is a dual threat athlete who led his team to an 8-1 record before being injured, after which the team went 1-3. He was having an outstanding senior season, with 2700 total yards, completing 67.7% of his passes, and having a 20-4 TD to INT ratio. He has good height for an NFL QB, although he may need to add a few pounds. He is quick and has a good second gear if he gets out in the open. He can escape pressure and throw well on the move, but he also has developed patience and can stay in the pocket to find the open receiver. He has good arm strength and when he uses proper technique, he can be very accurate.

Weaknesses: Dixon does not have great footwork, and his delivery is inconsistent, which can affect his accuracy at times, although he improved some his senior year. Also, before his senior year he was antsy in the pocket and made a lot of bad decisions trying to make plays. He had ACL surgery in December, and it is unclear how that may affect his athleticism in the future. He is a minor league player for the Braves, so there is no guarantee that he will play in the NFL at all.


Analysis: While Dixon could potentially play WR, as far as I can tell he was drafted as a QB to eventually replace Batch. If we keep him strictly at QB, he’ll have a better chance of developing into a solid backup or trading bait in a couple years. Honestly, Batch has to be the perfect backup so I’m surprised they bothered to draft Dixon, considering he’ll either not make the team or want to start in a few years. We have a surplus of WR’s now, so I can’t see him having much value there, but it’s possible he could see some action in trick play situations. For now, look for us to stash him on the PUP/IR for a year and let him compete for the #2 spot next year .

Passed on: OL’s Roy Schuening, Carl Nicks, FB Owen Schmitt, LB Jonathan Goff, DT’s Nick Hayden, Ahtyba Rubin

This is the pick I simply don’t understand, based on our other options. There were good options for depth at DL and OL here, but they passed on them for a high risk #3 QB or #6 WR. Regardless of how good Dixon could be, we have an overabundance of skill position players right now and no depth or youth on the defensive line. I am struggling to understand how Dixon could be a significant asset to our offense at any point in his career, while Hayden or Rubin could both be half decent part-time run stuffers with the potential to start at DE or NT at some point in the future. There's no guarantee either DT would have made the team, but the more young bodies we bring in, the better chance we have of finding someone who can stick, and we just don't have that many young bodies right now.