The NFL will hold their 42nd annual supplement draft on Wednesday featuring a total of five prospects, but if previous history is any guide, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be picking any of them.
Since the first supplemental draft in 1977, 45 players have been selected, with the Steelers yet to make a pick in any round. Along with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, they are one of four teams who have consistently passed on the prospects on offer each year. Perhaps the closest the team ever came to making a selection coming in 2011 when they seriously considered drafting local prospect Terrelle Pryor.
While the top player available in 2019 is Washington State safety Jalen Thompson, the Steelers do not appear to have shown much interest in him and were not among the teams who attended his pro day earlier in the month, as per Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst.
Projected to go as early as the second-round and as late as the sixth, it looks very likely that someone will draft Thompson on Wednesday, with the Green Bay Packers rumored to be extremely interested. This scouting report from Jake Arthur of Colts.com suggests a player who might have made a nice addition for a Steelers position group lacking playmakers.
“Already considered to be one of the top safeties in next year’s draft, we’ll see if not having that extra season of film Thompson would’ve had in 2019 affects his draft stock much. Listed at 6-0, 195, Thompson has a slender, albeit adequate frame for free safety. While he was able to contribute against the run in college in the Pac-12, he will likely need to bulk up a little if he is to hold up against the run in the NFL. Otherwise, he is more of a pass defender with the ability to play in the slot as well as safety. He has a nose for making plays on the ball, coming down with six interceptions and 17 pass breakups in 39 games. Overall, he’s an instinctual, well-balanced, playmaking safety prospect who would be deserving of being picked.”
There were no Pittsburgh staff members noted at the pro day of West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms either, arguably the next best player available in the supplemental draft this year. Pauline again the one with a list of 16 teams on hand to watch his workout that did not include the Steelers.
But given the depth already on the roster, it should not come as much of a surprise to learn that Pittsburgh has no interest in adding another young wideout. Projected to go as high as round three, Simms is more likely to go in the final few rounds, if at all. As per Arthur.
“Simms’ stock likely would’ve improved over the course of the season with David Sills and Gary Jennings’ departure to the NFL opening up more opportunity, but NFL teams will need to make their choice on him now. Simms has adequate size at 6-0, 195, and he has a very balanced game. He has natural hands, good speed and quickness and is already a polished route runner. Like so many receivers in the 2019 draft class, Simms is another playmaker after the catch, as his athleticism and toughness make him tough to bring down. The latter especially shows up in the kickoff and punt return games (41 kickoff returns for 24.2-yard average and 23 punt returns for 6.8 average).”
For the remaining trio of Syracuse linebacker Shyheim Cullen, Northland Community College tight end Devonaire Clarington, and St. Francis defensive back Bryant Perry, the chances of being drafted look very slim indeed.
Relatively undersized for his position at 6-foot tall and 224-pounds, Cullen started just four games during his four years in college. Primarily limited to special teams, he would record a total of 43 tackles, three for a loss and one sack. A level of production that is unlikely to attract the attention of too many NFL teams. However, his athletic testing suggests a player with some promise, as per Colts.com.
“Cullen was recently measured at 39 inches in the vertical jump -- a mark that would’ve tied for third among linebackers in the NFL Scouting Combine. He also checked in at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash (t-5th) and 118 inches in the broad jump (t-14th). He consistently pushes out 23 reps (t-10th) in the 225-pound bench press.”
Hailing from much smaller programs, both Clarington and Perry have a much better shot at being signed as undrafted free agents than they do being selected in the later rounds. As per Arthur.
“Clarington is huge, measuring at 6-7, 230. He began his college career at the University of Texas but since played at Blinn Junior College and Northland Community College after reportedly being ruled academically ineligible in Austin. He had 48 catches for 916 yards and 11 touchdowns at Northland.
A scouting report for Perry by Colts.com
“Listed at 6-0, 180, Perry is apparently even more slender than Thompson, although Perry is listed generally as a defensive back rather than a corner or safety. He began his career at Mesabi Range College in Minnesota where he earned All-Minnesota Collegiate Athletic Conference honors, before moving on to the University of St. Francis.
”Perry played two seasons at Mesabi Range College in Minnesota, where he made 55 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, an interception and six pass breakups in 13 games,” according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “He had 24 tackles and three pass breakups last season in seven games at Saint Francis.”
But considering the depth the Steelers already have at the positions most of these prospects play, their chances of ending up in Pittsburgh after Wednesday’s draft should be considered extremely low, even as undrafted free agents. Barring a player like Thompson falling all the way to the seventh-round, it seems safe to say the Steelers will not be using any of their 2020 draft capital on this group.