I am generally happy with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft picks. Didn’t love every single one, as I’m sure you’re aware of by now, but overall, it’s a good group. Focusing on productive, tough, and athletic traits, never a bad trio to go after.
But the undrafted class, easily the most frenzied part of the entire three day event? For the second year in a row, the most appropriate word to describe it is…”meh.”
Of course, no class is going to get the casual fan’s heart rate racing. But most have at least one name that will at least draw attention. Picking teams at random, the Arizona Cardinals signed Trevor Knight, an interesting QB/WR athlete. The Denver Broncos signed Jamal Carter, a defensive back who certainly looks like he belongs in the NFL. And the Indianapolis Colts signed Krishawn Hogan, an NAIA receiver who impressed at the Combine and Ken Griffey’s son, who is at least a fun feature story.
Call me a spoiled, high-maintenance fan, but I wish the Steelers’ group of nine could create some level of excitement. You never know what’ll happen in training camp and, to be fair, all these guys will get a fair shake. Johnny Maxey was the most successful of last year’s class after entering as its most obscure player. He was the only one of the original lot to make the Steelers’ practice squad.
Only six of the ten originally signed last year ending up making it to camp for the start of the year, though RB Christian Powell would make a brief comeback. And most disappointed in camp; even my “sleeper,” Giorgio Newberry, struggled mightily.
David Reeves? Quinton Schooley? Devaunte Sigler? Remember those guys?
And this year’s class isn’t offering any additional initial promise. Five of this year’s nine ended up being local – West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and one from IUP, about an hour north of downtown. It’s as of their entire sales pitch centered around, “hey man, you can still eat at Sheetz.” Maybe they need lessons from Glengary Glenn Ross.
The biggest name from that group is Rushel Shell, once a highly touted high school recruit who bounced around schools and ran terribly at the Combine. There’s no one outside the area who has a lot of promise on paper, either. It’s guard Ethan Cooper who may hold the most promise, a powerful guard who earned an NFL Combine invite, but he’s stuck in a crowded unit.
Don’t get me wrong – talking about the “little guy” is one of my favorite things. I abhor the thought of someone being a camp body; they’re people, not “bodies” who have busted their butt as much as anyone to make it to the NFL, a remarkable feat no matter how you get there.
Hopefully someone proves me wrong in camp and I can’t wait to watch these guys go to work in Latrobe. But objectively, it’s a bad UDFA class. That’s just a fact.
The Steelers did well to add plenty of competition in the draft. But they didn’t seem to quite get there with this undrafted group.