NFL drafts are constantly broken down after they are chosen for years to come. The Steelers historic 1974 NFL draft is talked about constantly more than 45 years later. Much like the Steelers ‘74 draft, grades following the selections and looking back after players take the field don’t often lineup as many scrutinized the Steelers for not filling specific needs and what is the greatest draft class in NFL history.
When it comes to the most recent draft in the NFL, players now have a season under their belt and things have come into focus a little better. Of course, many feel it takes about three years to properly put a draft class in the correct context. Regardless, ESPN recently released a re-draft of the 2020 NFL draft.
In ESPN’s re-draft, they did not allow any draft-day trades and set the pics back to the original teams scheduled for each pick when the draft officially went underway. Having ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters for each team draft in their place, there were many changes with only a few players being drafted in the same position.
In looking at a re-draft, there are two main things to look at for about your particular team:
- Where did their original selection get picked?
- Who would they have chosen looking at one season?
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they had no first round draft pick as it was used to secure All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Luckily, ESPN re-drafted the first two rounds of the 2020 draft.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at how things went for the Steelers:
Where did their original selection get picked?
With the 49th overall selection in the NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers chose wide receiver chase Claypool out of Notre Dame. Claypool tied Steelers rookie records in receiving touchdowns (9) and touchdowns (11) and led all rookies in receiving touchdowns.
So where did Claypool get selected in ESPN’s re-draft?
11th overall to the New York Jets.
Here is the explanation from ESPN’s Rich Cimini:
Ideally, they’d re-draft an offensive tackle, but Andrew Thomas’ mediocre season forces them to go wide receiver, their No. 2 need. There’s plenty to choose from, including Denzel Mims (the Jets’ actual second-round choice), but it’s hard to ignore Claypool and his 873 yards and nine TDs. — Rich Cimini
In looking at the Steelers selection of Claypool in Round 2 at pick 49, it’s difficult to argue with the immense value Steelers received in return for their first selection of the 2020 NFL draft.
Who would they have chosen looking at one season?
With Chase Claypool taken out of the equation by being selected 38 spots earlier, who would the Steelers have selected in his place? According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, she selected a player many were hoping that Steelers would take prior to the 2020 draft in running back J.K. Dobbins.
Here is Pryor’s explanation for the selection of Dobbins by the Steelers:
The Steelers’ run game was dreadful for the second year in a row. Though he was the lead back, as promised by Mike Tomlin, James Conner never returned to his 2018 form. Meanwhile, Dobbins had a solid rookie season in Baltimore and took over starting duties from Mark Ingram II. — Brooke Pryor
When the steelers selected Chase Claypool when J.K. Dobbins was still on the board, a number of Steelers’ fans were upset they passed on the running back out of Ohio State. But after their rookie campaigns, it’s difficult to argue over the excellent value the Steelers got at the 49th pick. Even one year later, Claypool’s value appears to be at an 11 with Dobbins at 49 according to ESPN.
Would Claypool have found the same success with the Jets? Would Dobbins have been able to run successfully in the Steelers offense? Thankfully we’ll never have to find out.
Now that his rookie season is over, what is your opinion of the Steelers first selection of the 2020 NFL draft after seeing where he would have been selected according to ESPN? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
ESPN’s entire two-round re-draft of the the 2020 NFL Draft can be seen HERE with a subscription to ESPN+.