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2018 NFL Draft Grades: Mel Kiper rips Steelers draft, considered worst in AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly defied logic at times throughout the 2018 NFL Draft, and ESPN analyst Mel Kiper wasn’t a huge fan of the draft class.

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The 2018 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror, and the predicting and projecting can finally come to an end. While Todd McShay is due for his 2019 Mock Draft 1.0 the Monday after the draft, the rest of the NFL Draft world is focusing on grading the prospects which were added by their respective teams.

There have been a lot of grades handed out, but for whatever reason the fan base loves to hear what Mel Kiper has to say, and then bash the living daylights out of his opinions. So, Kiper put out his final grades for the 2018 class of athletes which were selected.

Before showing the grades for the Steelers, and the rest of the AFC North, check out how he comes to making each one of his grades:

As I say every year, the draft is about adding talent, but winning is about talent development. I know I can’t grade a class on performance for at least a few years, which is a reason I audit old drafts. What I do here is assess two main things, using my own player grades as the prism:

How effectively did a team address key personnel voids?

How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?

Grading scale: In my mind an A means it’s exceptional; a B is pretty good; a C is average, with hits and questions marks; a D means below average with some big questions. An F ... well, keep reading.

With that out of the way, time to get to the Steelers grade. See what Kiper had to say in his yearly immediate reaction grades article:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Top needs: Inside linebacker, defensive back, wide receiver

This is the rare class in which I liked every pick except the first one. Safety Terrell Edmunds was way down my board, and he’s a risk at No. 28 overall. There were a lot of good safeties on the board. Justin Reid? Jessie Bates III? I can see why the Steelers like Edmunds’ traits, but his tape didn’t match his athleticism.

After that pick, my only question for the Steelers is: where’s the linebacker? They didn’t find a replacement for Ryan Shazier inside, and they didn’t even take a flier on an edge player on Day 3.

Oklahoma State tandem Mason Rudolph (pick 76) and James Washington (60) were so good together that Pittsburgh decided to bring them both along. And if the Steelers found the eventual replacements for Ben Roethlisberger and Martavis Bryant, this draft will be viewed much differently. But Rudolph isn’t without risk -- he’s a little stiff, but he throws a beautiful deep ball. Offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (92) started 39 games at both tackle spots for Western Michigan. H-back Jaylen Samuels (165) is one of the most versatile offensive players in the entire class. He’s only 5-11, but he had 201 catches in his career.

So, again, the first-round risk was too high for me, and the absence of a linebacker means I have to downgrade this class.

Grade: C+


So, Kiper wasn’t too fond of the Steelers’ draft class. Don’t worry, not many were all that impressed. However, he also gave the Steelers the lowest mark of any team in the division. Check out the divisional grades dished out:

Kiper’s AFC North Grades:

Baltimore Ravens: B+
Cincinnati Bengals: B
Cleveland Browns: B-
Pittsburgh Steelers: C+

While some might mumble something not-so-nice about Kiper under their breath while reading these, they should remember they mean absolutely nothing. As dumb as weekly Power Rankings are, immediate reaction NFL draft grades might take the cake.

The Browns have won a ridiculous number of drafts over the past few years, and yet they don’t win where it matters the most — the field. I’ll take winning in the fall over winning in the spring, but that’s just me.