I’d like to say it was different this year in Steelers draft land. However, it’s like any other year—everyone has an opinion on who Pittsburgh will take, and that opinion is a fact.
As for me, I have no idea who the Steelers will select this coming Thursday with the 20th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Oh sure, I have a new gut feeling to replace my old gut feeling: Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson. Why do I have that new gut feeling, the one that replaced the old gut feeling of Deandre Baker, cornerback, Georgia? It just seems like more and more fans are warming up to Ferrell.
But what is he? He’s listed as a defensive end, of course. However, at 264 pounds, he’d presumably have to switch to outside linebacker if he came to Pittsburgh. And since the Steelers have three really good starters on the defensive line in Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave, that’s a pretty safe presumption.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Considering the Steelers have been linked to outside linebacker Chase Winovich of Michigan and Jefferson Hills, Pa. fame, why not just upgrade to Ferrell as a means to finding a possible replacement for Bud Dupree--assuming Dupree doesn't suddenly "get it" in his fifth season?
Back to my gut.
Why did my gut feeling about Baker change? I don’t know, only that it’s so hard to get a real gauge on who is worthy of Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick, and who is just a total reach. It’s also hard to gauge who among the draft analysts knows what he or she is talking about, and who has the football IQ of a gnat.
I fully admit to having the football IQ of a gnat (at least Facebook thinks so). Therefore, I tend to defer to the ones who seem to know what they’re talking about—at least when it comes to the draft. But is that person Mel Kiper and his ilk? Could it be someone who has the word “Steeler” in his or her BTSC name? Maybe it’s some guy on Facebook who coaches high school kids. It’s hard to say. All I know is they all say the others are full of it when it comes to draft evaluation.
Many have mocked Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy and Baker to the Steelers at number 20. But others have said this is the weakest crop of corners in years. Is it really that weak? Should I listen to Mel, Steeler4Life or the high school coach?
Two years ago, the thought of the Steelers drafting a quarterback—Ben Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement—was all the rage. Today, it seems taboo to even suggest it, what with Roethlisberger about to sign an extension.
Have the Steelers done enough in free agency to really go BPA (Best Player Available), or should they seriously focus on trying to trade up for an inside linebacker? And if they do decide to go the trade route, how much draft capital is LSU’s Devin White worth? How about Michigan’s Devin Bush? Some say Pittsburgh, with 10 draft picks, should absolutely explore the option of trading up. Others say the cost would just be too great.
In conclusion, everyone has an opinion on what the Steelers should do on Thursday. Someone is going to be right. Someone is going to be wrong. Someone is sure to be angry (“Wait a minute. I had him rated 97th on my kitchen draft board!”).
As for me, I just hope my gut is right. Why? I base it on nothing tangible.
Even if I’m wrong, hey, what do I know?