Putting a bow on our draft recap. The Pittsburgh Steelers adhered to some of their “rules,” like taking Terrell Edmunds in Round One, who checked pretty much every box the team looks for in a first round pick. But others, not even “rules” but trends, were snapped.
One of the most interesting, surprisingly really, trends that were snapped? For the first time in last five Steelers’ classes, they went heavier on offense than defense.
This year, they took four players on offense: James Washington, Mason Rudolph, Chukwuma Okorafor, and Jaylen Samuels. Compared to that just three defensively: Terrell Edmunds, Marcus Allen, and Joshua Frazier.
Looking back at the brief study we conducted in late March, here’s how they last five classes have been divided up.
Prior to this year, the last draft class where the team went heavier on offense was 2012, selecting David DeCastro and Mike Adams with their first two picks.
I don’t think anyone expected the offensive-slant was one of the expected outcomes in this draft class. But as we’ve reviewed, we know why the team didn’t draft an inside linebacker. The class was heavy at the top, too specialized everywhere else. You don’t need to hear the whole song and dance again; you either agree with it or don’t and both points have merit.
Ultimately, and this is a super obvious thing to say, it’s all about the development of players they did draft. If Terrell Edmunds becomes the Pro Bowl safety they envision, no one will care how many players on defense they drafted. If Washington can replace Martavis Bryant, if Rudolph can be the next franchise QB, the picks are worth it.
But in the short-term, if this defense keeps experiencing problems, especially at linebacker (inside or out), you’ll hear the constant reminders of the way their board broke and how the Steelers selected.