While the vast majority of the discussion about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ potential interests in the 2019 NFL Draft have focused around the defensive side of the ball, the reality is that there figures to be a strong offensive presence in their class as well, perhaps even as much as half of their draft picks, or even more if they do a trade.
It’s almost a sure thing that they will draft at least one player at running back, tight end, and wide receiver, and an offensive lineman is not an impossibility. They may even draft multiple tight ends if the value is there.
But the Steelers don’t often play with two tight ends on the field, at least comparatively. And playing with more than one running back is very rare. They already have two running backs that they like, and two tight ends as well, and they have their starters at those positions.
The question of who will start long-term at wide receiver is more open. They have James Washington and Donte Moncrief, but only JuJu Smith-Schuster is a sure thing right now, so one would have to assume that the position can be in play at pretty much any point in the draft provided that that is where the value falls.
Tomorrow, the Steelers will do a mock exercise in which they select the top 20 players in the draft in roughly the order in which they would select them if they were the only team drafting. I’m confident that there will be a wide receiver or two among them. said Kevin Colbert yesterday about the class:
“It’s a deep class. I can’t say that it’s elite like it has been in the past where I think you could easily identify one guy as the top guy. I think if you polled 32 teams, you’d probably get variations on who they have as their top guy, because I don’t think it’s a universal class that has two or three elite players. But there are certainly players that are going to help the individual team. So I like it from that standpoint”.
So perhaps there are no surefire, bonafide home runs like a Julio Jones or A.J. Green or Odell Beckham, Jr. But there could be a Smith-Schuster in there somewhere, and the Steelers would love to find another one of them.
Between 2008 and 2017, the Steelers never used a selection higher than the third round on a wide receiver, bookmarking the selections of Limas Sweed and Smith-Schuster. Between the third and sixth rounds during that time, they drafted the likes of Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, and Sammie Coates.
All of those players showed at least significant potential at one point, though the careers of the latter three were derailed by injuries or off-field issues. If they can find a player like these when they were at their best, it would be well worth the investment.