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: Now that the Steelers’ 2018 NFL Draft class is settled, what are your initial impressions?
The Steelers just added seven new players to their roster (actually more than double that including their undrafted free agents). We’ve been waiting for this for months, and now it’s suddenly over. It’s time to start complaining.
Maybe the best way to lay this out is if I just quickly give my own thoughts on each draft pick.
Terrell Edmunds. The value may not be great here but I’m more interested in the player than the draft position. I think he’ll fit exactly into what the Steelers are looking to do at the back end. I’m hopeful that he’ll take his game to a new level after getting his shoulder repaired. I’m on board even if it wasn’t the choice I would have made.
James Washington. I was hoping to get him in the third round but I was surely naïve in thinking he would be available then. The first round was slim on receivers but there was no trickle after that. And Washington will be a ready contributor that reminds me in many ways of JuJu Smith-Schuster without the kamehamehas.
Mason Rudolph. I do actually like Rudolph and he would have been my third choice overall at quarterback behind Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. That they were able to get him in round three was fantastic, and I couldn’t care less (in terms of value) what this might mean for Joshua Dobbs (as a person I wish for the best for him if he loses his roster spot). I’m honestly more excited than I thought I would be, and I found myself dreading the possibility of his name being called in the first round.
Chukwuma Okorafor. I’m proud that I’ve got his name memorized so quickly after having hardly even heard of him prior to Friday. Still have to watch more tape on him. The value probably isn’t great but Mike Munchak liked him and seems excited to get to work on him, so I have to be on board there.
Marcus Allen. I would have definitely taken a linebacker here (Ogbonnia Okoronkwo would have been my call) but the Steelers clearly have a vision here at safety. I would expect to see a lot more quarter defense this year.
Jaylen Samuels. The first legitimate big-play threat at the running back position that we’ve seen for a while, so that’s something. Preparation for life without Le’Veon Bell as they legislate responsibilities, somebody who can make catches. Still would have doubled up on linebacker here with Jack Cichy or traded back.
Joshua Frazier. My favorite day-three pick and not just because I mocked him. I think he’ll replace L.T. Walton on the active roster and maybe even get some use on early downs and against run-heavy teams.
I’m not going to place a grade or anything on a group of players that have never taken a practice at the professional level, but it’s certainly an interesting group. It doesn’t wow me, but every single one of these players will make the 53-man roster and contribute in some way, or have the chance to develop into one.