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 offensive players if any will the Steelers have in consideration for the first round?
In spite of the fact that the Steelers have used a first-round draft pick on a defensive player six years in a row going back to 2013, it seems rather unlikely that that streak is going to end in 2019. Even after officially losing two All-Pro skill position players this year in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, the vast majority of the focus has been paid elsewhere.
Because there aren’t really many areas for them to look. They’re not going to be looking at the offensive line just yet with their starting five and beyond intact. They already have a Pro Bowl starting running back and wouldn’t likely draft one in the first round even if they didn’t. They have their top wide receiver and depth. They have their top tight end as well. They even have their fullback, and their quarterback room filled out, so what’s left?
There are only two possibilities that the team would even consider, I think, those being at wide receiver and tight end. But the Steelers are satisfied with Vance McDonald as their starter, and outside of T.J. Hockenson, I’m not sure there is a tight end in this class even worth a first-round pick if they needed a starter. Noah Fant’s name has been thrown around, but I can’t see the Steelers being interested that early given his drawbacks, including drops.
The wide receivers that would be in the conversation in the first round are D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown, and A.J. Brown. While Brown’s cousin has said he would love to play for the Steelers—it’s very rare that a draft pick doesn’t say something like that when asked—I’m not sure the feeling is mutual.
The best odds of the Steelers drafting an offensive player in the first round are, in my opinion, between Hockenson, Metcalf, and A.J. Brown, with the latter having the best shot at actually being available.