The Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday used their top pick of the evening in order to address their top need at cornerback when they selected Ole Miss prospect Senquez Golson at 56th overall, but apparently it’s not what they wanted, and they have the Baltimore Ravens to thank for that.
The Ravens, of course, leapfrogged the Steelers into the 55th slot, moving up three spots to draft tight end Maxx Williams, the highest-rated prospect at the position, and, according to Gerry Dulac, the presumptive target for the Steelers, who even considered, or attempted to, trade up as well to get him.
But that plan didn’t work out, and it didn’t get any better from there when it came to the Steelers being able to address their future need at the tight end position, with both Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth creeping closer to their mid-30s.
Clive Walford, the second-rated tight end prospect in the class, went off the board early in the third round, which is not surprising, and he was not likely to be able to be reached by the Steelers’ slot in the third round anyway.
But another interesting tight end prospect was, and he, too, was scooped up by a division foe just ahead of them. The Cincinnati Bengals addressed their own need at the position by selecting Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft with the 21st pick in the round.
Of all the prospects beyond the top two, Kroft is perhaps the player that I liked the most as a target for the Steelers, as he is already a plus blocker and has the potential to be a receiving threat as well.
Playing in a running system with below average quarterback play, especially in his final year, he didn’t always have the opportunities as a pass catcher that Williams and Walford were given. His receiving numbers dipped in his final year because of the way he was used, but I think he has more to offer there, and he can already contribute as a blocker.
Admittedly, I don’t suspect by any means that the Steelers would have used their third-round pick on Kroft, although I imagine he would have been a consideration in the fourth round if he remained available.
It is interesting, however, that in a division in which all four teams had a need at the tight end position, two of the division teams managed to lock down one of the three top players at the position just a pick or two in front of the Steelers, with the Williams pick hurting most of all, of course, factoring in the trade to get ahead and the obvious interest the team showed in him.
Another potential target, who actually visited the Steelers, Jeff Heuerman, didn’t make it out of the first round either, and at this point I find it hard to imagine that Pittsburgh will be able to address the position before the sixth round if they wish to get worthwhile value. They have their own division opponents to thank for that.