The Perspective of an Average Steelers Fan: Recapping Pre-Draft Predictions

In just a few more days, training camp at Latrobe will be underway with a torrent of information on the Steeler upcoming 2017 season. I hope to come up and watch a few days of summer practice. Getting a glimpse of the mainstays is always a thrill, but it is also exciting to see all the new young prospects.

Among the newest Steelers, those just picked from the NFL draft in April get the most attention. Undrafted free agents signed in May get their due but even the nine players signed to reserve/futures contracts back in January receive some adulation in the first days of camp. Last year, “Mercyhurst” also known as Brandon Brown-Dukes was a household name last summer. He’s back, but it looks like cornerback Mike Hilton is likely the new favorite.

One of my favorite features on Steelers Depot is Dave Bryan’s Friday Night Five Questions. The readership is given the opportunity to answer some of the questions facing Steeler Nation that week along with some predictions. I ran a contest last season to see who was the best prognosticator. Phil Brenneman II was the winner last season; I wonder if anyone will challenge him for the crown this year. I also started doing recaps of the Friday Night Questions this year which Dave is kind enough to add to his column.

Here are some selected questions leading up to this year’s draft along with how we did as a group with the actual results:

Who is your favorite running back in this year’s draft class who has a good shot at ultimately being selected by the Steelers? Ten different running backs were named with Samaje Perine who was a 4th round pick by the Washington Redskins was the runaway favorite. Six people said no running back would be picked while six named James Conner. Nice job by Josh Gustad, Jeff McNeil, Phenix, LucasY59, Kevin Reich & Matt Palmer for making the correct call.

How many cornerbacks will be drafted before the Steelers 30th overall selection in the first round? Responses ranged from 2-5 cornerbacks being picked before the Steelers 30th overall selection. Only two correctly answered that five cornerbacks would be chosen before the Steeler’s turn: Shannon Stephenson & SoCalSteeler.

Will the Steelers select an inside linebacker in the first three rounds of this year’s draft? As a group, we leaned slightly in the NO column on whether the Steelers would select an inside linebacker in the first three rounds. 19 people got this right: PaeperCup, Chris92021, Phil Brennenman II, SoCalSteeler, Darth Blount 47, Matt Manzo, Jeff Papiernik, Matt Correll, Beeze, Michael Young, SkoolHouseRoxx, Jeff McNeil, Brian Tollini, gjnn, Marcel Chris Chauvet, Jason Campbell, Michael Joseph Jackson & Jaybird.

Which is more likely to happen with the Steelers first two selections, a defensive back followed by an edge-rusher or an edge-rusher followed by a defensive back? Thirteen stated that the Steelers are more likely to draft a defensive back followed by an edge rusher with their top two picks. Four said it would be vice versa. The majority feel that secondary prospects are a deeper group this year while the minority opinion was that edge rusher was the greater need and would drive the order of the Steelers selections. Of course, the Steelers picked a wide receiver in the 2nd round; but ultimately Pittsburgh picked an edge rusher in TJ Watt before a defensive back so SoCalSteeler, Thomas, RickM & Reader783 get the nod.

Will the Steelers 2017 first round selection have had been included in Gil Brandt’s final top 50 rankings? (list of players here) T.J. Watt was # 60 on Gil Brandt’s final top rankings. We had voted at a nearly 3-1 margin (17-6) that the Steelers first round selection would be in Brandt’s top 50. Shannon Stephenson, LucasY59, SkoolHouseRoxx, Brian Tollini, Dennis Nevinsky & jsteeler all won going against the popular consensus.

How many running backs will ultimately be drafted in the first four (4) rounds of this year’s draft? 15 running backs were selected in rounds 1-4. The Jaguars took Leonard Fournette and the Panthers picked Christian McCaffrey in the first round. We predicted between 6 and 12 running backs selected in the first four (4) rounds with the median response at nine (9). Whiff.

What round will Pittsburgh running back James Conner ultimately be drafted in? We predicted that running back James Conner would be selected somewhere between the 4th & 6th round. The median response was the 5th round. Not a single person predicted Conner going in the 3rd round – and he was picked by the Steelers.

How many offensive players will be selected in the first round of this year’s draft? Responses ranged from 9-16 offensive players harvested in the first round. The overall perception being it was a weak crop this year. The median response was 13. There was an early run on wide receivers and quarterbacks but the final tally in the first round was 13 with 6 folks pegging it – Chris92021, Rene Gonzalez, Jeff Papiernik, SkoolHouseRoxx, Jaybird & Robbie!

The comments on the Steelers Depot articles are always interesting to read. Many thanks; keep them coming; it is a big part of what sets the Depot apart from the rest.

Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven

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