The 2019 NFL Draft is memorable for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. After all, this was the draft where the team jumped up 10 spots in a trade with the Denver Broncos to select Devin Bush, ILB out of Michigan.
The fan base was crazy with excitement on draft day after Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin pulled this trade off, and Bush’s play as a rookie in 2019 has shown he was worth the price to move up and select him.
This is all well and good, but what if the Steelers would have stayed put at 20? Who would they have selected, and what would the team look like now? ESPN+ recently released a 2019 re-draft, and kept the Steelers at pick No. 20 rather than trading up to select Bush. Who did they take? The writers selected the first two rounds again, and the Steelers took two offensive playmakers with their selections.
Check it out:
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Original pick: Noah Fant, TE (DEN pick in PIT trade up)
New pick: Mecole Hardman, WR
The Steelers made the right call by trading up to get Devin Bush at No. 10, and he earned rookie of the year honors as a key piece of the defense. But with Bush off the board, the Steelers could focus on adding an offensive threat with this pick that would’ve mitigated some of the issues that came with injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster and other offensive skill players. Hardman had six touchdowns this season and made the Pro Bowl as a return man. — Brooke Pryor
The selection of Hardman would have a ripple effect on the Steelers’ draft class, and it likely would have meant Diontae Johnson would not have been the team’s selection with their first 3rd round pick. Nonetheless, Hardman’s speed and athleticism has been on display for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.
Now for the second round pick:
52. Pittsburgh Steelers
Original pick: Drew Sample, TE (CIN pick in DEN trade up)
New pick: Devin Singletary, RB
The Steelers struggled to keep running backs healthy this season with James Conner, Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. all missing time. Adding another back in the draft would’ve prevented them from needing to dip into the practice squad to round out the position. Singletary took over as the Bills’ primary back down the stretch, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. — Brooke Pryor
Now this is a pick many Steelers fans certainly could get behind, considering the injury history of James Conner. Nonetheless, like Hardman, if the Steelers were to take Singletary in the second round, it would have meant they wouldn’t have selected Benny Snell Jr. later in the selection process.
If you think about the Steelers’ offense with Hardman and Singletary, would the 2019 results have been any different? It is hard to argue yes considering how well Johnson performed, albeit without a true starting quarterback, and Snell played well when healthy and when given a chance.
Fans always pine for the next great player, or the other player they feel the team could have, or should have, selected in the draft process. Hindsight is always 20/20, but if you ask me the Steelers’ true 2019 draft class, and the trade they made, was well worth it in the long run.
Do you disagree? Would have rather have had the two players selected by ESPN? If so, let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest Steelers news throughout the offseason.