Nonetheless, with the chaos finally slowing down, it is time to take a look at who were the winners and losers after the draft. No, this won’t be focused solely on the new additions to the roster, but how those additions may have impacted the entire Steelers roster throughout the process.
Feel free to rip this apart, as usual, in the comment section.
Jon Bostic / Tyler Matakevich / L.J. Fort
Everyone and their brother thought the Steelers were going to draft an inside linebacker in the draft. They didn’t; therefore, Bostic, Matakevich and Fort look to the trio to start the season alongside Vince Williams — for now.
The team could have pulled the trigger on a running back like Derrius Guice in the first round, but they didn’t. They could have had a few other running backs throughout the process, but passed. If they were to have taken a running back on Day 1 or 2, it would have made the Bell situation very interesting. However, since they didn’t it looks like it is back to the drawing board with contract negotiations and franchise tag talk.
With a total of 7 picks in the draft, the Steelers spent 4 of them on the offensive side of the ball. Not so great for the defense, but good news for the offense. James Washington, Mason Rudolph and company look to add quality depth, and playmaking ability, to the team in Year 1 — and in the future.
Hawkins was the heir apparent to the Chris Hubbard swing tackle position when Hubbard jettisoned from the Steelers to the Browns via free agency. However, the Steelers just drafted Hawkins’ potential replacement, and/or competition, in Chukwuma Okorafor. Seems like the team isn’t planning on being very patient with Hawkins and his overall readiness to be a regular on the game day roster.
Similar to the Wilcox situation, the team drafting 7th round pick Joshua Frazier is a shot across the bow of McCullers. Shockingly, the team gave McCullers a one-year deal this offseason, but don’t expect that to be written in stone. Frazier is a cheaper option, and potentially brings more to the team than McCullers has shown in his brief NFL career. It is time for McCullers to either prove his worth, or he will be looking for employment options elsewhere.
Dobbs sat down with the Steelers official website not too long ago and talked about how he is looking ahead to the upcoming season and is excited about having a full year under his belt. Not that this still won’t happen, but fast forward to post 2018 NFL Draft and now Dobbs’ spot on the roster is anything but certain. Mason Rudolph being added means the only way Dobbs stays on the team is if he somehow can beat out Landry Jones — which isn’t likely.
Everyone was talking about the necessary picks which needed to be made heading into the draft. Safety and linebacker led the way, and while the team added a pair of safeties, the linebacker wasn’t. You have to ask yourself, “Is this defense better now compared to 2017?” I am the most optimistic Steelers fan you will find, and I am struggling to answer this question with a yes. The team could have done more on defense in the draft, and their product on the field in 2018 might suffer because of it.