The 2018 NFL Draft is drawing near, which seems to be a fitting time to take a look back at the rookie seasons of the Pittsburgh Steelers class from the 2017 NFL Draft. People start talking about the quality of a draft class before said class is even completed, of course, but now we have a year of data to work form.
Over the course of the next several days, I will be providing an overview of the team’s rookies, as well as an evaluation of each rookie that the Steelers drafted, while also noting any undrafted free agents that were able to stick around. This will not include the likes of Mike Hilton and Kameron Canaday because they were first-year players, not rookies.
The Steelers went into the 2017 NFL Draft with eight selections, including one in each round at their natural selections, as well as an additional pick in the third round as compensation for the net losses that they were dealt in free agency from the 2016 offseason.
Continuing a recent trend, the class has proven to be top-heavy in terms of early results, though there are still opportunities for those selected by them in the later rounds of the draft to develop into bigger contributors as well.
Player: Joshua Dobbs
Draft Status: 4th round (135th overall)
While it was nothing against him personally, the selection of quarterback Joshua Dobbs by the Steelers was not exactly met with cheers. Already perplexed and frustrated by the very existence of one backup quarterback in Landry Jones, they now have to contend with yet another who they expect will never be a starter.
And they could have drafted a tight end in that round, too.
Truth be told, I was in that brigade, and I still would have held that preference. But, again, that is nothing against Dobbs, who is clearly an intelligent and well-liked person. It’s not surprising that we learned rather little about who he is as a player in his rookie season, but I would like to learn more about his potential this offseason.
That is about the time the Steelers were hoping to find out what they had in Jones, but he did not develop as they hoped he would that year. That started really in his third season.
As for Dobbs, he spent the whole season until the finale in street clothes on the bench since Ben Roethlisberger stayed healthy. His only playing time came during the preseason, and he actually got a decent amount of time playing with quality competition.
Roethlisberger did not play in the preseason at all, and Jones spent time nursing an injury, which meant plenty of time for the rookie. He played in all four preseason games, and in all, he completed 38 of 64 passes for 406 yards, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions, rushing for another touchdown in the preseason finale for the win.
When people talk about Dobbs, the word ‘intangibles’ gets brought up a lot, and sure, perhaps he has intangibles. He’s a ‘winner’, I suppose, the Steelers winning the three games in which he was the primary quarterback.
But intangibles don’t make you more accurate or a better decision-maker. Dobbs has a lot of mechanical work to do this offseason. And he is eager to get to it. He hasn’t gotten the chance to do much since August, so he is just waiting until he can get going again.