The 2019 NFL Draft is drawing near, which seems to be a fitting time to take a look back at the rookie seasons of the Pittsburgh Steelers class from the 2018 NFL Draft. People start talking about the quality of a draft class before said class is even completed, of course, but now we have a year of data to work form.
Over the course of the next several days, I will be providing an overview of the team’s rookies, as well as an evaluation of each rookie that the Steelers drafted, while also noting any undrafted free agents that were able to stick around. This will not include the likes of Matt McCrane and Trey Griffey because they were first-year players, not rookies.
The Steelers went into the 2018 NFL Draft with eight selections, including two in the third round, but ended up trading out of the sixth round to move up in the third. They had two fifth-round selections and none in the fourth round, and flipped a number of picks due to multiple trades
Continuing a recent trend, the class has proven to be top-heavy in terms of early results, though there are still opportunities for those selected by them in the later rounds of the draft to develop into bigger contributors as well.
Player: Trey Johnson
Draft Status: Undrafted
The last player I’m going to cover before moving on to another series as we head closer to the draft will be cornerback Trey Johnson, another member of the Steelers’ initial group of college free agent signings who were brought in immediately following the 2019 NFL Draft.
Johnson was one of the players that many found themselves most excited about among that group, a product of Villanova who had decent height but a thin frame. He told us that he chose to sign with the Steelers because he was a fan of Tom Bradley.
The biggest feather in his cap was the fact that he is a great athlete, but he never got a chance to show much of it in Pittsburgh, as he suffered a shoulder injury at the outset of training camp and was waived with an injury designation.
After he reverted back to the Steelers’ injured reserve list when he inevitably cleared waivers, the team elected to carry him through the entire season there, rather than possibly work out an injury settlement. When a team does that with a player, it’s usually a good sign, as they did with Eli Rogers in 2015.
Then they waived him from injured reserve at the end of January for reasons that are not entirely clear. I suppose the most logical explanation is that the two sides could not agree on an injury settlement, which resulted in him being retained throughout the time that he was rehabbing.
Since then, he has yet to be picked up by any other team. He remains a free agent, available to sign with any team at any time.