Cornerback, tight end and safety were all addressed in redrafting the 2019 NFL draft. What holes do the Steelers have left? What depth pieces do they still need? That is what I will tackle while continuing my 20/20 view of the 2019 draft. This is just a fun project not designed to criticize Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, but just saying “what could have been”. I am using actual teams that traded out of their spots and Jimmy Johnson’s draft value chart to ensure to simulate the actual value that teams put on draft slots.
Summary after two rounds after making three trades during those rounds.
30th pick: Cornerback Byron Murphy
42nd pick: Tight end Irv Smith Jr.
56th pick: Safety Nasir Adderley
Picks remaining: #83, #122, #141, #175, #192, #207, and #219.
Continuing with the trend, the Steelers once again move up in the draft with all the draft capital they have stockpiled, this is easily done. The Steelers move up from pick #83 up to #70 to double dip at cornerback and select David Long Jr.
2019 third-round pick No. 70
2019 third-round pick No. 83
2019 fourth-round pick No. 122
219 seventh-round pick No. 219
(According to the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart, The Los Angeles Rams gave up 228 points to move up for pick #70. With the move above, the Steelers give up 228. 4 points.)
Some draftniks said that Long was too short for a prototypical NFL cornerback coming in at 5-10 5/8″. What they fail to mention was Long’s 39.5” vertical leap, 4.45 forty time, and his superb 6.45-second 3-cone drill. Those along with his other measurables puts Long into the 92nd SPARQ percentile.
It is not only his athleticism that is impressive it is what he did for the Michigan Wolverines. I will let Pro Football Focus say all that needs to be said about Long.
“The statistics Long put up at Michigan are eye-popping. On 595 coverage snaps in his career, Long allowed a grand total of 18 receptions on 60 targets for 130 yards. There were 100 separate incidents of a cornerback allowing at least that many yards in a single game last year – that list includes draft prospects Saivion Smith (Alabama), Isaiah Johnson (Houston) and Kris Boyd (Texas). The craziness doesn’t stop there. Of his 18 receptions allowed, only three resulted in first downs and one resulted in a touchdown. The longest catch he allowed in his career went only 24 yards, and this past season, it was 12 yards. He broke up more passes (19) than he allowed receptions and never allowed more than two catches in a single game.”
For the first time during the draft, the Steelers remain locked into the #141 draft slot. At this stage of the draft, teams are going for depth and special teamers who may be hidden gems. For Pittsburgh, they have a glaring hole at their third running back spot. 2017 one game wonder, Stevan Ridley fumbled his way out of Pittsburgh. The Steelers do not need the next James Conner or Jaylen Samuels, instead, the team needs a big powerful running back who can pick up short yardage. I did not have to look far as Pitt Panther Qadree Ollison fits the desired specifications.
Ollison will not leave players in the dust or breaking their ankles. At 6’2 and 230 pounds, he does not go down easily by arm tackles and is built perfectly for those crucial fourth and one situations. With 34 receptions the past two seasons, he has soft enough hands not to be an utter liability in the passing game. His pass protection needs some work but is better than a lot of running backs in the draft.
Another two picks in the books which brings the total haul so far to five. Being able to look back makes the redrafting way easier compared to what Colbert and company deal with during the three days of the draft. Ollison could have filled an immediate short-yardage need in 2019 while Long may be relegated to only special teams play while he sits and learns. Could he have moved past Artie Burns and Cameron Sutton in 2019? I think neither set the bar high and believe he would have seen a limited number of defensive snaps this season.
The draft so far.
Pick #30: CB Byron Murphy
Pick #42: TE Irv Smith Jr.
Pick #56: S Nasir Adderley
Pick #70: CB David Long Jr.
Pick #141: RB Qadree Ollison
Green Bay Packers 2020 fourth round pick.
Draft picks remaining: #175, #192, #207
Did you like the selections?
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If you missed Part 1 of the Steelers re-draft, click HERE