Grading an NFL Draft class immediately after the event is difficult enough, but when a website like Pro Football Focus (PFF) takes a stab at selecting the best and worst draft picks from each NFL franchise in the 2016 NFL Draft, you can expect backlash. When looking at who they selected as the best and worst picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 draft class, it certainly left me scratching my head.
Before going any further, it should be noted the polarizing aspects of PFF. Some people live and die by PFF's weekly grades and thoughts, while others think PFF doesn't do anything worth noting, citing sorcery as their basis for their grading process.
Nonetheless, their opinion matters to many, but in this instance, their thoughts on the Steelers best and worst draft picks is anything but conventional.
See what they had to say about the team's worst and best draft picks of the 2016 draft class.
Best: Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston (Rd. 7, No. 229)
Ayers' 2.70 yards per route run from the slot last year was seventh-best in college football. Ayers has the ability to soften the blow of losing Martavis Bryant for a year due to suspension.
Worst: Artie Burns, CB, Miami (FL) (Rd. 1, No. 25)
It was inevitable that the Steelers were going to reach for an athletic corner. Burns has all the athletic traits teams like to see at the position, yet only graded out around average a year ago. He wasn't anywhere close to the first round on the PFF board, yet that's where the Steelers took him.
The thought of Ayers being the team's best pick is baffling, but the Burns selection as the worst pick might be even more ridiculous.
PFF judged their selections on "value per pick", which gives a small glance into what they might have been thinking when they selected Ayers as the best and Burns as the worst draft picks, but their reasoning behind the selections is what is so baffling.
To suggest a player like Ayers, who was picked as a punt returner and depth receiver, would somehow soften the blow for the loss of Martavis Bryant for the 2016 season is laughable. Ayers has potential as a punt returner, and might be able to thrive in the slot, but him playing over Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey is unlikely at best.
Their selection of Artie Burns as the worst pick, in terms of value, is based solely on Burns not being very high on their draft board has led to them giving him the tag of "worst" in a class focused on the defensive side of the ball. They speak of the Steelers reaching for a cornerback, but they mention how Burns has all the characteristics teams want to see at the position, but because he wasn't graded high on their board they give him a poor selection.
People should clearly take these thoughts with a grain of salt, but for a website as established and viewed as PFF, you expect better. Of all the Steelers draft picks (Artie Burns, Sean Davis, Javon Hargrave, Jerald Hawkins, Travis Feeney, Demarcus Ayers and Travis Matakevich) the best and worst could be any number of players, but to say Ayers is the best and Burns is the worst, now that is the true definition of a reach.