The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Which potential first-round prospects are you hoping that the Steelers will NOT draft?
I think it’s fair to say that some of the Steelers’ most recent first-round draft picks have not exactly been big fan favorites, with T.J. Watt the glaring exception, three of the team’s four most recent first-round picks have been highly criticized, particularly the selection of Artie Burns in 2016. The cornerback was taken just one pick after William Jackson III, whom they would have otherwise drafted.
It’s hard to predict how the first round is going to break this year, but the Steelers have the highest pick they’ve had in the first round since 2014 when they got Ryan Shazier 15th overall. One would think that at 20 they would be able to acquire a player that is pretty universally regarded as a first-round pick.
Still, there has been increasing movement, for example, behind the idea of the Steelers drafting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, whom many view as a second-round candidate. Chase Winovich is another second-round candidate who has been connected to the Steelers in the first. Darnell Savage has more recently been considered a first-round possibility.
Where a player is drafted ultimately matters a lot less than how good that player becomes after he is drafted, of course. While you want your first-round pick to be the best player that you take, it doesn’t always work out that way, and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. See Antonio Brown in 2010, and that’s with an All-Pro center drafted in the first round that year.
No matter which direction the night takes, the one thing we know for sure is that we will finally know who the Steelers take in the first round after months and months of waiting and speculation. Could it be Devin Bush? What about Greedy Williams or Byron Murphy? Maybe even a tight end or a wide receiver? We’ll know soon, at long last.