One’s tolerance for post-draft grades within days of the draft’s completion probably holds a strong correlation with those who have never seen a mock draft they didn’t want to look at. While it goes without saying that any immediate evaluation of a draft class is by necessity incomplete, I do think there is some value in making judgements about a team’s habits and evaluative abilities relative to the immediate aftermath as well.
Earlier, I shared an evaluation from Pro Football Focus which rated the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft class as ‘above average’, with the highest grade being excellent, generally handed out to teams who had blue chip players fall into their laps in the first round.
Another post-draft evaluation comes from Adam Schein through the league’s own website. Schein rated the Steelers’ class as one of the very best, second only to Washington, who had Dwayne Haskins fall to them in the first round. They then traded back into the first to pounce on the falling Montez Sweat, who if medicals remain positive can be a very good player.
Next was Pittsburgh in the ‘love’ category, though.
“I just love how Pittsburgh, fresh off of a tumultuous 2018 campaign and 2019 winter, went against its DNA to trade up for one of my favorite players in the draft, linebacker Devin Bush”, he wrote. “This kid is the real deal — a lock to be great, at least in my book. He’s this year’s Roquan Smith. And the former Michigan star is the perfect and classic Steeler. Pittsburgh could’ve been content to stay at 20 and nab a corner. Nope. The Steelers got aggressive and scooped up a defensive heartbeat — a playmaking, game-shaping, tackling machine”.
It’s fair to say that the legacy of the 2019 NFL Draft for Pittsburgh is probably going to hinge on the player Bush becomes. They believe he should develop into a difference-maker and Pro Bowler, obviously given the resources they spended to go and get him. But he was just one of nine players added over the weekend.
“Two rounds (and 73 picks) later, Kevin Colbert found a corner with great physical tools and upside: Justin Layne, a 6-foot-2 coverman who initially played wide receiver at Michigan State”, Schein went on. “Pittsburgh also nabbed a wideout (third-rounder Diontae Johnson) and running back (fourth-rounder Benny Snell) to compete for playing time in position groups that will no longer feature Pro Bowl mainstays Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell”.
In addition to those top four picks, the Steelers also added tight end Zach Gentry in the fifth round, linebackers Sutton Smith and Ulysees Gilbert III and defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs in the sixth, and completed their class with offensive lineman Derwin Gray in the seventh.