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: What is your takeaway about the overall 2018 draft class following the conclusion of the Combine?
It goes without saying that the Combine is far from the end-all, be-all when it comes to evaluating talent ahead of the NFL Draft. In fact, it’s really a secondary event, serving primarily to provide corroborating evidence more than anything.
The golden ticket is and will always be watching game tape the vast majority of the time, though there are always ways in which the Combine will be important. For example, it helps out players who are projected to transition to another position at the NFL level, allowing them to test at a position that they didn’t put out on tape.
And we would be lying if we tried to deny that there was a certain athletic standard that is just about necessary for a high level of play at certain positions. You don’t need to be particularly fast as an offensive lineman, or even a quarterback, but it sure helps wide receivers and defensive backs.
Overall, I don’t think that there were too many players this year that really hurt their perception leading up to the draft based on what they did or did not do at the Combine. Orlando Brown obviously is one name that might stick out in that regard. Roger Goodell literally had a better 40 time than he did. He posted poor strength and agility numbers as well, which are more important to an offensive lineman. But he will have time to redeem himself at his Pro Day.
I would imagine anybody following along already knows who helped themselves with their showings, like Saquon Barkley and Shaquem Griffin, the latter being a bigger deal, I think, as Barkley’s position is already pretty firm, though apparently he may now even be in talks to go first overall.
With the Combine over, though, taking in everything that we now know to date about this year’s prospects, how do you feel overall about the draft class, and how has the Combine changed you views, or at least made your reconsider them?