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 one player drafted in 2017 by an AFC North rival would you have preferred the Steelers draft? Please read on for full details of the hypothetical scenario.
Since we’re already on a hypotheticals kick, I thought that this one would be an interesting one to try out as we whittle away the hours until training camp. Basically, reviewing the players that the Browns, Ravens, and Bengals drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, which one would you have preferred the Steelers draft, rather than the player that they did draft with their nearest pick, or with a later pick if said player might reasonably have still been available?
I want to fully flesh out the details in order to generate the best answer possible. For starters, I want to start out with a draft assuming no trades. The Ravens didn’t trade, and I don’t think the Bengals did either, but the Browns did. So, for example, in this hypothetical, Cleveland doesn’t draft David Njoku 29th overall, making him available for Pittsburgh to take with the next pick.
But this means by extension that the Steelers would not have drafted T.J. Watt. Because it can get way too complex beyond this point, I will leave it up to you as you answer the question to decide whether or not the change of one draft pick has a ripple effect regarding the rest of their draft picks, or if you want to assume all their other selections but the one remains the same.
The Steelers and their rivals have an interesting recent history when it comes to drafting players whom fans view as tied together. There was Le’Veon Bell and Giovani Bernard in 2013. The following year, Pittsburgh and the Ravens went back-to-back in the first two rounds with inside linebackers Ryan Shazier and C.J. Mosley, and then Stephon Tuitt and Timmy Jernigan, respectively.
It’s not always necessarily the same position, of course. It could just be a player linked to one team that another scooped up. That is how Maxx Williams was initially viewed, though I don’t think Pittsburgh’s strong interest in drafting him in the second round was ever substantiated.