Over the last few days I’ve been digging into some reasons to love or hate the Steelers draft class (links below). But, if we’re being honest before they even play a snap, we as fans should be cautiously optimistic. Even if they were to hit on all nine of their picks, it would be highly likely the late round guys won't achieve their potential until a few years down the road. So with that being said here’s a moderate look at the Steelers 2021 Draft class.
10. They filled every position of need
It is an undeniable fact that the Steelers plugged up the biggest areas of weakness on this roster. Whether those players can live up to that potential will be answered in a couple months/years, but the Steelers have added a skill player at each of their biggest question mark positions.
9. They found some immediate starters, and developmental pieces
Even before training camp it is fair to assume Najee Harris will be the bell cow running back, Pat Freiermuth will be the number 2 tight end, Kendrick Green has a shot to be the day one starting center, and Pressley Harvin III should slot in as the punter. Past them Dan Moore Jr., Buddy Johnson, Quincy Roche, Isaiahh Loudermilk, and Tre Norwood will develop as backups, and one day crack the starting line up. Untapped potential is the name of the draft game, and it’s up to the Steelers coaches to turn these lumps of coal into diamonds.
8. The Steelers will be forced to rely on rookies earlier than normal
The Steelers almost always deploy all of their rookies as backups, and, if it’s at all possible keep them as backups until their second season. This year, with the amount of holes on the team they will have no choice but to start a number of rookies. That’s a lot of pressure to put on these kids. Hopefully they live up to the moment and don’t get crushed by it.
7. They still have a lot of depth concerns
Outside linebacker, corner, and safety are one injury away from being a catastrophic hole for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If they are wise they will move some money around to bring in some veteran backups to round out those positions. But as for right now the guys at those positions can't even afford to get a rest during the game.
6. This draft class will get better with time
This draft class has one of the highest ceilings when it comes to potential as a whole. No matter what these kids do in year one I'd be willing to bet they achieve more in year two.
5. The Steelers understand their picks better than anyone
Sure, it’s easy to say the Steelers overdraft some players. But, the Pittsburgh Steelers know who they want and they don't mess around when it comes to drafting them. You can tell by just how quickly the Steelers submitted their draft cards when it was their turn to pick. There was no messing around by Kevin Colbert and company, and the Steelers got everyone they wanted.
4. They selected a lot of high character people
At the end of the day, the community of Pittsburgh added nine outstanding humans. From top to bottom these guys are well-spoken, hard working, and dedicated to those less fortunate. Beyond the actual game, the city of Pittsburgh became a better place because of these players.
3. They didn't make any splash moves
The Steelers never really made the big sexy trade up, nor did they make a real surprising pick, or splash acquisition. Which, if you have followed this team for a long time you knew wasn't going to happen. So business wise this was a draft that maintained the stats quo.
2. The Steelers are trying to rebuild on the fly
This can be a dangerous game. On one hand, if you draft well you will maintain contender status forever. On the other, if you never fully commit to a rebuild and misfire on draft picks you could set yourself in the hole for an extra couple seasons. Thankfully, this team has a strong foundation but has to continue to hit on players, especially when the time comes to find Ben Roethlisberger’s successor.
1. The Steelers are a better team than they were before the draft
No ifs, ands, or buts about it the Steelers are a better football team than what they were just two week ago. They added talent, what they make of that talent is the fun part, but on paper this team is in a better place now,
But what do you think? Which side of the argument do you side with (Love, Hate, Business as usual)? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.