Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to bring in a whopping three more picks during the late rounds. Similar to their top pick of Terrell Edmunds, many experts were wondering just what was going on when the team made some of their picks.
Needless to say, there were some good expert grades, and some not-so-good. Take a look at just some of the NFL experts who weighed-in on the Steelers’ Day 3 haul throughout the draft process.
For six years in a row, the first pick for the Steelers came on the defensive side of the ball. It was a shock to see Terrell Edmunds get taken in the first round by Pittsburgh. Know one saw that coming, but Edmunds can come down hill and can cover. Still, the value is questionable.
Wide receiver James Washington, taken at No. 60 overall, is a good vertical threat who will help the Steelers replace Martavis Bryant, who was traded to Oakland. Mason Rudolph at No. 76 is a pick that got a lot of attention. Can he be the successor to Ben Roethlisberger or is he just another Landry Jones? At the least, it was a good value choice. Western Michigan left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor could move to the right in the NFL, but he’s a solid player and a replacement for Chris Hubbard. Taken in the fifth round, safety Marcus Allen graded out higher than Edmunds for some.
From a value standpoint, arguably Pittsburgh’s best choice was Jaylen Samuels of North Carolina State. He’s a combo tight end, fullback and running back. If there’s a team that can figure out how to use him, it’s the Steelers.
Pittsburgh Steelers Draft picks: Virginia Tech S Terrell Edmunds (No. 28 overall), Oklahoma State WR James Washington (No. 60 overall), Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph (No. 76 overall), Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor (No. 92 overall), Penn State S Marcus Allen (No. 148 overall), N.C. State RB Jaylen Samuels (No. 165 overall), Alabama DT Joshua Frazier (No. 246 overall).
Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: A
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: The Steelers went safety, as expected, but picked Edmunds, the brother of fellow first-round pick Tremaine, instead of Stanford’s Justin Reid and others. This was a surprise pick to most, and probably a round early -- but given his strength and NFL bloodlines (father, Ferrell, played tight end in the league), but maybe it shouldn’t have been. He’ll be a welcomed addition to the team, either way. Trading Martavis Bryant to Oakland for a third-round pick meant they needed to find another big-play receiver. Washington isn’t tall or an elite speedster, but his super-long arms and ability to win the jump ball make him a solid find late in the second round. He was paired with his former teammate, Rudolph, in the third round. They could make for an interesting duo in a couple of years. Rudolph was a good third-round value. Okorafor could become a starter, but needs to work harder and faster on the field or he’ll be out of the league fast. Allen adds another tough-minded safety to the Steelers’ defensive back trove, though I believe he could be used in a linebacker-type role to take advantage of his toughness and agility. Samuels fits the Steelers’ usage of fullback/H-backs quite well, and will add another wrinkle to their offense. Frazier is a perfect fit for a team in need of a hardworking nose tackle.
Round 5: Marcus Allen, FS, Penn State
Another box safety for Pittsburgh. Decent athlete. Slow play-recognition skills, which hurts him in coverage.
Round 5: Jaylen Samuels, TE, NC State
Ideal player as NFL shifts toward a “positionless” game. Delanie Walker-like. Good, not great in any area. Shifty.
Round 7: Joshua Frazier, DT, Alabama
Classic, block-eating Alabama nose tackle. Slow feet. Uses his heavy hands well but doesn’t have pass-rush ability. His height hurts him against low-center-of-gravity interior linemen.
Round 5: Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State
Strengths: Character, run support, fundamentals.
Weaknesses: Limited upside.
Marcus Allen is not related to Raiders legend Marcus Allen, though Curtis Martin is his godfather, which has to count for something. (Narrator: It does not count for anything.) Allen is a fundamentally sound, high-effort Cover 2 safety who projects as a capable NFL starter. He’s also a three-year team captain who keeps plays in front of him and will step up in run support. So he’s good. Just don’t hear the name and let your mind trick you into thinking he’s a future Hall of Famer. This should be a popular pick among Steelers fans.
Round 5: Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaylen Samuels, Running Back, North Carolina State
This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!
Athleticism: Very good. Jaylen Samuels tested well as a running back at the combine, even though he tested with the tight ends.
Every-down rushing: Fair to good. Samuels didn’t run between the tackles much for the Wolfpack, but he looked like a quick, decisive downhill runner with power at the Senior Bowl.
Open-field rushing: Fair. Samuels is not that elusive but can accelerate into fourth gear.
Receiving value: Very good to excellent. Samuels is kinda-sorta a slot receiver.
Pass protection: Very good to excellent. Samuels is kinda-sorta also an H-back or tight end. It’s complicated.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Versatility? Who needs versatility? My scouting handbook says to look for prototype runners like Franco Harris and Archie Griffin! Come to think of it, this thing hasn’t been updated in quite some time...
Bottom Line: Samuels is unique. The best comp for him may be Keith Byars, the 1980s Ohio State standout who was miscast as a workhorse back for the Eagles but became a 60-80-catch weapon as a fullback/H-back/sometime rusher. He’s less a potential replacement for Le’Veon Bell than a complement to Bell. The Steelers just acquired one more potential matchup headache. The rest of the AFC should be worried. Especially the Patriots.
Round 7: Pittsburgh Steelers: Joshua Frazier, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Strengths: Space eating.
Weaknesses: Run defender only.
That’s right; even Alabama’s situational run-pluggers get drafted. Frazier is a Damion Square-type. The Steelers have more use for pure nose tackles than most teams.