The Pittsburgh Steelers showed a lot of interest in wide receivers during the pre-draft process. They were no doubt set to draft one anyway, but one can’t help but wonder if they had the sense that the Oakland Raiders might escalate their trade offer for Martavis Bryant enough to coax them into pulling the trigger.
Making that trade may have influenced the Steelers to take a wide receiver higher than they might otherwise have. Maybe they would have done the same thing anyway. But the bottom line is that there are really only two high draft picks they showed a lot of interest in during the pre-draft process.
One of them was Oklahoma State’s James Washington, the one they ended up drafting, whom they met at his Pro Day and had out for dinner. The other was Christian Kirk, who came off the board before they would have had the chance to draft him in the second round. Kirk came in for a pre-draft visit.
Perhaps the purpose of that pre-draft visit was to learn more about the Texas A&M product’s character after he was arrested back in early February, months before the draft, for disorderly conduct and property damage.
According to a report that came out yesterday, Kirk and some of his friends were observed near a golf course basically drunkenly throwing rocks at cars in the parking lot, causing at least one window in a car to break.
While this is new information to most of us, teams were aware of it, and obviously it didn’t really affect his draft stock, since the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the second round, right about where he was expected to go in the first place.
“We spoke with Christian about it at length and also looked into it independently”, the Cardinals said in a statement. “Our understanding is that the process will be resolved in the near future but while it remains an active legal matter, we won’t comment further”.
The article citing the incident points out that new Cardinals Head Coach Steve Wilks went out of his way during his post-draft press conference to emphasize the importance of character in their new draft class, which included reportedly difficult quarterback Josh Rosen.
While he did add that “we don’t want a bunch of choir boys”, Wilks said that they don’t feel they’re “going to have to worry about getting a phone call in the middle of the morning that someone out in Scottsdale is doing something crazy”.
Of course, Kirk was out in Scottsdale one late night in February doing something crazy. But reportedly many teams regardless of this odd incident felt strongly about his character. What did the Steelers think of his character, though? That is what I would be interested to know, and I’m sure we won’t get an answer.