The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: What is your initial impression of the Steelers’ 2017 NFL Draft class?
This is a pretty easy question to ask, and a question that is just as easy to answer, since the day after the draft is the season of hot takes. Everybody has an initial impression of what their team ended up doing in the draft—even I do, and I will be going into that later in the day—so here is where we’re asking you to lay it out on the line.
No doubt we all, including myself, have given out bits and pieces of what we’ve made of the draft, probably often in drips and drabs as the draft picks came in over the course of the past three days. But now with the draft over and all the picking finished, it’s a bit easier to look back and take stock of what has transpired.
With their first-round draft pick, the Steelers managed to address arguably their most significant need by selecting a pass rusher in T.J. Watt. They tried to bolster their offensive depth, production, and versatility on day two with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.
A pair of cornerbacks in third-round pick Cameron Sutton and fifth-rounder Brian Allen represent opposite ends of the spectrum. Sutton has a lot of experience under his belt with a head for the position, while Allen was a wide receiver a couple of years ago.
Those picks were split in the middle by Joshua Dobbs taken in the fourth round to stock up the quarterback room, and then the Steelers took a long snapper in the sixth round in Colin Holba, which certainly raised some eyebrows. They wrapped a bow on it all with another pass rusher in Keion Adams in the seventh round, who makes the outside linebacker room that much more crowded.
All told, they double dipped on outside linebacker and cornerback while taking one of each from the skill positions of wide receiver, running back, and quarterback, with a long snapper on top as a bonus. They failed to add to their safety, tight end, or inside linebacker positions.
So what do you make of this haul?