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: Greg Gilmore
Draft Status: Undrafted
Yet another undrafted free agent from the original wave last season, Greg Gilmore (#62) was one of the more intriguing names from that initial list of players, along with Jamar Summers and a couple of others. The LSU defensive lineman was not projected to be drafted but to be signed as a priority free agent during the pre-draft process.
He was a bit out of place in LSU’s front, so many believes he would better project into a 3-4, but the reality is that the amount of time that teams spend in a 3-4 is close to meaningless these days, as more of a sub-package than a base defense.
He didn’t get a lot of playing time during the preseason, amounting to about 30 total snaps defensively and a handful more on special teams, and he failed to record a statistic during his opportunities to get on the field, so it wasn’t a great surprised when he failed to be retained on the practice squad over Lavon Hooks.
But he got the opportunity to continue his career, no matter how brief, as a member of the Memphis Express, where he did see a lot of playing time—over 300 defensive snaps in eight games. He even got off to a good start, but his play trailed off as the season went on.
In all, he finished with 10 tackles and two sacks, with nearly all of his tackles being defensive stops. Probably not enough to get himself a second look in the NFL, but he could find an opportunity in the XFL or the CFL.