I’m not going to lie, for the first time in many springs, I’m having a very hard time mustering up the energy to care, and I guess that’s because there doesn’t seem to be the urgency to fill a major void with a player that could come in and start within a reasonable time-frame.
Maybe I cared a lot about drafting an inside linebacker when I thought the Steelers wouldn’t even think about signing anyone even half decent in free agency, but then they went ahead and inked former Colts inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year deal.
Perhaps in your mind, Bostic is the very definition of “half decent,” and I would have a hard time blaming you for thinking that way, given his rather underwhelming career that began when the Bears selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
However, while Bostic may not be the next Ryan Shazier, he is more than solid, so solid, it’s hard to imagine him being the weak link of the defense next season.
I realize that, like many other drafts, there are prospects that are popular with the fans and could come in and perhaps unseat Bostic before he even gets through his first training camp at Latrobe.
But Georgia’s Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and, more realistically given the Steelers draft position, Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch...they will not be there at 28.
Maybe Alabama’s Rashaan Evans (a player I’ve seen linked to the Steelers perhaps more than any other) will be there, but that also seems like a stretch.
I know I was concerned about safety even before Mike Mitchell was released, but when Morgan Burnett was surprisingly signed to a three-year contract, those concerns quickly disappeared.
Now, even if Pittsburgh does draft a safety, I can’t imagine I’ll be overly-excited about it.
I realize people aren’t exactly in-love with Sean Davis, following his less-than-stellar sophomore season, but I also know he may be a better fit at free safety than strong safety, the position Burnett excelled at with the Packers and will presumably assume in Pittsburgh.
And even if Davis’s play doesn’t improve with a position change, word is cornerback Cameron Sutton, last year’s third round pick out of Tennessee who the coaches are certainly smitten with, may get first crack at becoming the new center-fielder of the secondary.
Having said all that, if there was ever a year in-which general manager Kevin Colbert’s annual refrain of “We’re going to pick the best player available” (a refrain that was mostly bullshoot a few years ago, when the need for a secondary upgrade was rather urgent) rings true, it’s this year.
We all love Joe Haden (well, at least those who don’t put much stock in Pro Football Focus), but that doesn’t mean finding a corner who could come in and assume a starter’s role by 2019--and do so at a much cheaper rate--is out of the question.
As Le’Veon Bell tweeted recently, you don’t like him very much--and after unsuccessfully trying to work out a lucrative deal with the star running back the past two springs, Bell might not be very high on Colbert’s Christmas card list these days. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a total shocker if Pittsburgh pulled a Rashard Mendenhall and drafted a premium running back who may still be sitting there at 28.
What about that heir apparent quarterback?
I was having some beers with a few friends on Friday night, and when one of them suggested the Steelers should go after Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, I didn’t have to fight the urge to throw Coors Light right in his face (an impulse that surely would have overcome me even a year ago, given my past jealousy of any potential Ben Roethlisberger replacement).
But even if the Steelers do draft a cornerback/running back/quarterback of the future (not to mention an inside linebacker or safety), the chances of that player making a difference in 2018 seems slim.
The good news is, my lack of excitement for the draft is the result of the Steelers being a rather complete football team. You might not think so, but you’re the Internet, and you’re not supposed to be positive about stuff.
I guess I’m the Internet, too, since I’m a party pooper about this year’s draft.
Wake me up when the Best Player Available has his first conference call with the Pittsburgh media.