The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Under what circumstances would the Steelers draft running back Derrius Guice?
We are all by now more well-acquainted with the Le’Veon Bell situation than we would care to be, and perhaps even more so than we would care to admit. The discussion over the All-Pro’s contract situation has caused people to become expert scouts, agents, and general managers to figure out whether Bell is worth what he’s looking for and if the team can afford it.
Currently on the books for the value of the franchise tag, the Steelers have maintained that they will resume negotiations toward a long-term contract extension after the draft process has completed, at which point they will have about a month and a half before a deal must be reached.
The majority now seem to believe that Bell will play under the tag and leave in free agency next year, which would mean necessarily that that the team would have a new starter in 2019. And they could approach that scenario by getting that starter in the building a year early.
Those with that approach in mind have circled around LSU running back Derrius Guice, who was Leonard Fournette’s running back before he became a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars and ran over Pittsburgh’s defense for 120 minutes at Heinz Field last season.
The conventional wisdom is that the Steelers will take a defensive player at the top of the draft board because they are stronger on offense, but they have drafted a defensive player in the first round now in five consecutive drafts, which is the longest streak since the merger.
Pittsburgh did meet with the running back, though they meet with plenty of prospects and only draft a small fraction of them. It’s not even clear if Guice will be on the board by the time the Steelers select in the first round.
The question really is this: where is he on their draft board? For those unfamiliar with the team’s approach, they do their own one-team mock draft for the first round in which they pick the player they would draft in order, up to their draft slot. That way there is no guess work; they simply draft the top player remaining on the list. How would he rank compared to the linebackers and safeties that might also be on the board? How does the draft have to fall to put Guice in Pittsburgh?