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: Are there any ‘obvious’ draft prospects that the Steelers seem destined to come away with in the draft?
I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, it just seems like to me that the tea leaves tend to spell out whom the Steelers are going to draft sometimes. It’s often in the first round, which is no surprise, since it’s the easiest to predict whether or not a player will still be there.
I would attribute that ‘destined’ quality to such selections as Maurkice Pouncey in 2010, Cameron Heyward in 2011, and Jarvis Jones in 2013. There are other examples, but these three feel in my mind to be the most notable. These are the players that would not get past the Steelers if they fell to them.
I don’t know that there is such a player in the first round for Pittsburgh this year (although no doubt many already have such a player of destiny in mind), but if there were such a prospect in this draft, I might say that it is Pittsburgh running back James Conner.
Pretty everybody reading this will inevitably be familiar with his back story, but the Steelers already have an extensive history with the inspiring young man, and he also already has a relationship with running back Le’Veon Bell.
As fate would have it, the team is in the market for a backup running back after they failed to move up in the draft last year to secure one. And Conner is likely to be drafted roughly in the area of the draft that they would be turning their gaze toward that position.
Predictions have a funny way of making sure they don’t come through once you declare them, but I do think if you were to put odds on every player based on the likelihood that he will definitely be drafted by the Steelers, Conner would be on the top of the board, if not close to it.