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: Scott Orndoff
Draft Status: Undrafted
The list of undrafted players that I’m going to cover is going to be short because, frankly, it was not a good crop of players that they brought in this past season. As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, inside linebacker Keith Kelsey was the only undrafted free agent they signed immediately after the draft that is still with the team.
But Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff is one player who did get a decent amount of attention, and somebody who I thought had the potential at least to make the practice squad and then push for a roster spot a year later.
That didn’t happen, but perhaps only because he suffered an injury that resulted in him being waived with an injury designation. Tight end is not a position at which they stack a lot of bodies in the offseason, so if it’s not a significant player they keep the train rolling.
Orndoff was replaced on the 90-man roster by Jake McGee, who in many ways was the player that some people hoped Orndoff would be. McGee already had an offseason under his belt and is stronger and more athletic.
As for the Pittsburgh product, he later signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on their practice squad in November after finishing the rest of the preseason with the Lions. He came and went, briefly, but the team signed him to a Reserve/Future contract at the end of the season, so he remains with the Steelers’ rival.