Amidst all the trades and shifting around between teams and players on Day Two, the Pittsburgh Steelers did the most Steelers thing ever and stayed put and took their guys. On the Draft Preview episode of the Steelers Draft Fix, I locked it up that the Steelers would take a wide receiver (WR) in Round 2. That’s exactly what they did, making University of Georgia stud George Pickens their newest addition at pick No. 52.
In the 3rd Round, Pittsburgh addressed a future need in the selection of Defensive Tackle DeMarvin Leal from Texas A&M with the 84th overall pick. With so many unknowns along the Defensive Line, the Steelers took a versatile player to develop for the future.
So, whose stock is going up and whose is going down after these selections? Let’s dive in and take a look.
Stock Up: Whoever the starting quarterback will be
What better to help a reclamation project in Mitch Trubisky or an unproven rookie signal caller in Kenny Pickett than a big-bodied, physical weapon on the outside? Pickens is 6’3” and 195lbs and has a huge catch radius. If it weren’t for an ACL injury early in 2021, Pickens would have been a sure-fire 1st Round pick and a top 5 WR in this class.
The Quarterbacks (QB) have to love the thought of adding a contested catch specialist and vertical threat to the roster. He’ll make every throw easier with his length and sure hands. The Steelers selection of Pickens shows that they are committed to surrounding whoever starts at QB with as much young talent as possible to help carry the offensive load.
Stock Up: Red-Zone efficiency
Imagine the jumbo skill position package the Steelers can trot out in the Red area with 6’3” Chase Claypool, 6’5” Pat Freiermuth, and the newly acquired Georgia WR. All three are able blockers in the run game, but also massive human beings that can physically outmatch any defense in the passing game. Couple that with the mobility of the QBs and you have all the potential for a highly efficient Red Zone team in 2022.
Stock Down: Carlos and Khalil Davis
The brothers were far from roster locks, but with the selection of DeMarvin Leal, one has to think the writing is on the wall so to speak for both of these guys. Neither has really shown they can develop into even solid rotational defenders, and the Steelers value their Day 2 draft investments. Leal’s leash will be a good deal longer than either Davis brother’s, and his versatility also gives him higher potential for a larger role early on.
Stock TBD: Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu
The looming question of the offseason regarding the health and status of the two gentlemen listed above comes to the forefront again after the Steelers Round 3 addition. With the answer not likely to be revealed any time soon, it’s a waiting game to see if Leal’s selection was precautionary or preparatory for potential issues with either’s availability.
The other aspect is that the Steelers could simply be adding a future piece to the Defensive Front, knowing that their current assets there are getting up in years. Cam Heyward is an All-Pro player and also basically a part-time TV analyst at this point. How much longer is he wanting to lace up the old spikes is a valid question as well. In any case, this situation should be monitored closely as Training Camp and Preseason approaches.
Don’t look now, but the Steelers roster is starting to take shape, and it isn’t looking that bad. In fact, there is a lot to be excited about. Let’s not write off the Black and Gold just yet. As always, I look forward to hearing your well-informed comments below. Don’t forget to stay tuned to BTSC for all the NFL Draft news you’ll want or need regarding your Pittsburgh Steelers.