Just want to throw a little PSA out there to kick off this weekend. Don’t drive in flooded waters. Don’t eat Tide Pods. And don’t expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to alter their draft plans after their recent roster moves.
I only say this because I’ve been asked the question several times already. Which is fine, I get it, no bad questions in the offseason. But the short answer is no, bringing in Stevan Ridley, Nat Berhe, or any of the other newest additions doesn’t alter Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert’s draft strategy.
These deals are niche, round-out-the-roster contracts. Berhe should comfortably make the squad but he’s not going to see the field on defense, meaning there’s nothing preventing the team from taking a safety high and the draft. They still should and likely will somewhere in the top three rounds.
And the others? Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint were brought in on the minimum. That will never change up a war room. By the nature of their contract, and how long they lasted in free agency, they’re expendable. Ditto Daniel McCullers and Justin Hunter. Pittsburgh is likely to keep adding to the position. Competition brings out the best in the roster and McCullers and Hunter certainly haven’t done anything to warrant waltzing their way onto the 53. In fact, the Steelers are arguably better off if both get cut at the preseason’s end.
There were plenty of roster spots up for grabs so there’s zero downside from bringing those guys in, even if personally, I’m the farthest thing from enthusiastic about McCullers and Hunter.
To a broader point, the signings of Jon Bostic and Morgan Burnett do tweak – not change – draft strategy. As Dave Bryan and I have talked about on The Terrible Podcast, it leaves the field wide open for how the team approaches the early rounds. With those signings, there is no longer a position that screams first round. Could they take a safety at 28? Yes. Inside linebacker? Sure. Something else? Maybe less likely but still, definitely. That’ll make this one of the most interesting and open-ended first rounds in quite sometime.