Hello, draft fan, it’s the big day!
Actually, as I sit here typing away on April 23, 2020, it’s the big day for the rest of the professional football world (American). What am I talking about? The 2020 NFL Draft, complete with pandemic-induced Zoom concerns and a commissioner who is asking you to virtually boo him for charity as he announces each selection from his home.
If you’re a Steelers fan, however, it’s the day before the big day. What day is that, you ask? The day Pittsburgh makes its first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. But thanks to the trade with Miami last September that fetched safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, that first selection won’t come until the evening of April, 24, 2020. It also won’t happen in the first round.
You know that by now, I’m sure. But did you also know that you’re going to heap heavy expectations on that poor fella?
You don’t think so? Below are some tests:
If you’ve ever dated a ride-share driver and ultimately asked him to take you on a trip to Rio, you might be someone who is going to put high expectations on the Steelers second-round pick.
If you went to see Horrible Bosses 2 anticipating lots of laughter, you might be someone who is going to put high expectations on the Steelers second-round pick.
If you tuned into my first video podcast hoping to see George Clooney eyes, a Brad Pitt jawline, and hair, you might be someone who is going to put high expectations on the Steelers second-round pick.
If you’ve used words and phrases such as “Day 1 starter,” “high-impact player” and “Le’Veon Bell was a second-round pick” when talking about Pittsburgh’s future second-round pick, you might be someone who is going to put high expectations on the Steelers second-round pick.
What I’m getting at with all of this is that the Steelers second-round pick is still going to be a second-round pick. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve talked about it or how many mock drafts we’ve read to try and get a clearer picture of who Pittsburgh will take at 49, 49 is still located in the middle of the second round.
“I wouldn’t touch that guy in the first. Maybe if he’s there in the second.” That’s the kind of prospect Pittsburgh will be getting in the second round.
That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a bad player—far from it. Second-round draft picks are expected to start sooner rather than later. Jack Lambert was a second-round pick. Levon Kirkland was a second-round pick. Even non-middle/inside linebackers were second-round picks. I mentioned Bell. Also, JuJu Smith-Schuster was a second-round pick.
Second-round picks command high enough expectations. However, second-round picks don’t command first-round pick expectations.
Yes, while a lot is expected from second-round picks, there’s still room left to be pleasantly surprised if they perform like first-round picks.
“How did he ever slip to the second round?” is what someone is supposed to ask about a first-round caliber player that somehow lasted until the second round.
“You mean Lynn Swann was picked in the first round and Lambert went in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft? I did not know that.”
That’s the spirit.
Have that perspective when evaluating the Steelers second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Now, about the Steelers third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft...