The Pittsburgh Steelers have finished the grueling process of the NFL draft. With any draft class you will find its biggest supporters and hardest critics. While it’s easy to fall in love with what the Steelers did, it is healthy to keep in mind that this class could come with its own flaws. If you’re a positive person (like me) you can find reasons to love the class from the link below, but for today’s exercise we will look at some reasons to worry.
10. Round one running back
The running back position has trended in a downward position since the start of the 2010’s. No longer are these players durable enough to command a second contract, so you’re investing a lot in player that will likely only give you 4-5 good years. If there was any position in the NFL that you could start an undrafted free agent on Day 1, its at running back. Just look at James Robinson last year for example. Bottom line is Najee Harris will need to be special to make it worth it.
9. Offensive line neglect
The Steelers had opportunities to round out their weakest position group much earlier in the draft than what they did. Instead, they will be forced to either give B.J. Finney quality snaps or use someone who was a collegiate guard at a new position in year one. Hopefully Ben Roethlisberger isn't running for his life or Najee Harris getting swamped in the backfield.
8. Reaching on nearly every pick
Of the Steelers nine draft picks only two would be universally seen as good value picks. Instead, the Steelers added a number of guys rounds earlier than what the should have. They better outplay what every media scout projected them to be, or Kevin Colbert and company will have to answer some tough questions a couple years from now.
7. No quarterback transition plan
Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end, we know this. However, it looks like the Steelers might have to throw a rookie onto the field without any mentoring time from the Steelers current future hall of fame quarterback. A perfect world would see Big Ben handing the keys to a young guy much like Tommy Maddox did with him. As for now, there is no one who can pick Roethlisberger’s brain, hopefully Ben stays an extra year to teach an apprentice in 2022.
6. Traded a lot for a little
What was the Isaiahh Loudermilk deal all about?? The Steelers gave up a premium draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft for someone who was viewed as an undrafted free agent. Not to mention next year‘s fourth round pick should come in a year were scouting gets back to normal, and make it easier to find quality prospects.
5. The rest of the AFC North had great drafts
The Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals landed some big fish in the 2021 draft. All three teams took large strides into a positive direction and will field better teams this upcoming season because of it. Watching your divisional rivals have such success could make even the most casual fan have their stomach’s turn. Hopefully those teams didn’t distance themselves from the Steelers, or in the Bengals case close the gap.
4. Defense still has no depth
The Steelers are one defensive injury away from complete chaos in 2021. Outside of defensive line the Steelers have no depth anywhere else. Because of such glaring needs on the offensive side of the football the Steelers were unable to invest high draft capital on the defensive side of the football. The Steelers better invest in some free agents in the coming days to round out this roster otherwise they will be flirting with complete disaster.
3. Why would they make luxury picks
Did the Pittsburgh Steelers really need to invest their second round pick into a tight end, or use a draft pick for a punter at all? Both selections felt like picks a better team could afford to make. Even with the glaring holes on the offensive line and in the secondary, the Steelers chose to make these moves. Thankfully for the Steelers sake these two guys appear to be players who will make a large impact in year one.
2. Neglecting the secondary
The Steelers’ secondary took some heavy losses this off-season. After losing both Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson the Steelers definitely got worse at corner. Instead of investing other assets into the position,, they are giving Cam Sutton a well-deserved shot at the starting job but are not giving themselves a solid back up plan in case he fails. The Steelers next best option is undrafted free agent James Pierre who looks to be getting some big time playing time in the slot this season. Hopefully they gambled correctly.
1. The Steelers are the same team they were last year
Can we honestly say the Steelers roster is that much better than the one they rolled out to start 2020? Almost everybody they drafted is replacing an established veteran and cannot be assumed to be better than them as rookies. If the Steelers cannot get some substantial playing time out of this draft class they could struggle mightily in 2021.
What do you think? What scares you most of this year‘s draft class? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.