Kozora: Steelers 2018 NFL Draft Recap

You may have listened to me on The Terrible Podcast but I wanted to quickly give you my overall thoughts on each player the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted over the last three days. Of course, we won’t know anything about the class, from Pittsburgh or any other team in the league, for a couple years. But it’s ok to have an initial reaction.

For fun, I’ll do a Steelers’ comparison for each player. A current or former Steeler who the pick reminds me of.

Terrell Edmunds/S Virginia Tech: Definitely not as bad as some people have made it out to be, even if the selection was a surprise. Edmunds checks every box the Steelers look for in a first rounder. He has short-term and long-term impact. Year One, I expect him to be the 6th DB on the field in dime packages and he’ll probably see work on coverage teams, 215 pounds running 4.4 downfield.

It’s an upside pick, he isn’t a finished product, so in that sense, there can be some extra “risk” (even though they’re all risky) but it’s a classic Steelers first rounder. Knowing he played hurt all of last year makes his tape even more impressive. It wasn’t going to be who I picked but objectively, if I didn’t have a “guy,” it’s a good one. He can play free safety, something a lot of fans don’t believe he can do.

Steelers Comparison: Better version of Chris Hope

James Washington/WR Oklahoma State: An obvious, but necessary, selection after dealing Martavis Bryant. He isn’t blessed physically the way Bryant is but is still a vertical threat. He’s physical, tough, and plays to his size, an issue Bryant struggled with throughout his career. Should be the team’s “Z” receiver in 11 personnel and he could get involved in the return game with his size and toughness, even though he doesn’t have much of a background there. Happy with this one.

Steelers Comparison: Yancey Thigpen

Mason Rudolph/QB Oklahoma State: You guys know where I’m at with this one. I just hate the idea of taking a player and having no idea when he’ll be used, knowing he won’t offer any immediate help to a team trying to win the Super Bowl. It could take four years, the length of his rookie deal, to get a good feel for if he really is Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement. It could be less, maybe Roethlisberger is done earlier than we all think, but again, it’s the uncertainty of what you’re going to get from him – and when you’ll get it – that makes me frustrated with this one.

Steelers Comparison: Cross between Neil O’Donnell and Tommy Maddox (struggled with a good comp for this)

Chukwuma Okorafor/OT Western Michigan: Obviously, we all knew offensive line was low on the list of needs. So I bristled at the pick just like you probably did. I still have to get to the tape of some of the Day Three guys but I think Okorafor is the guy I’ll feel the best about after learning more about his game and talent. I think you have someone who can be a starting left tackle in the league. The size, the length, the grip strength, and agility, all the traits that you know Mike Munchak can mold. There is, of course, no real path to playing time in 2018 but there is potential down the road.

Steelers Comparison: What Tony Hills was supposed to be (aka a healthy one)

Marcus Allen/SS Penn State: A different type of Steelers pick. He isn’t the high-upside, elite athlete who has the potential to be a star in the league. But he’s steady, consistent, and a big hitter to play a true strong safety role. The lack of turnovers he created (six in 45 starts) is a problem and I don’t see him as anything other than an average coverage guy, but he has a high floor too. He’s not going to flame out. Should do really well on special teams Year One and be good depth for the future. Don’t love the pick but certainly don’t hate it either. It was a good choice.

Steelers Comparison: Mike Logan

Jaylen Samuels/RB NC State: A guy who is ready from Day One, something that a guy like James Conner wasn’t completely and it showed on the field. Samuels can block, he can catch, and he’s the big body (5’11 225) the Steelers always look at during the draft. A guy I do need to learn more about but hopefully a player – and I think he will – who will open the year as the team’s #3.

Steelers Comparison: Cross between John L. Williams and Mewelde Moore

Joshua Frazier/NT Alabama: Definitely no surprise that Frazier was the guy given the Pro Day Dinner and connection with Karl Dunbar. He is what he is, a one-tech plugger, but the Steelers could use that in a backup nose tackle. We’ll see what happens but I like his chances to beat out Daniel McCullers to be the 6th defensive linemen on the roster.

Steelers Comparison: Oliver Gibson

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