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: Patrick Morris
Draft Status: Undrafted
While he wasn’t a part of the Steelers’ seven-man draft class in 2018, center Patrick Morris was among the players signed to contracts immediately following the draft. Of that group, three eventually made it to the 53-man roster or the practice squad (and another rookie minicamp tryout invitee did as well), but only two—himself and Ola Adeniyi—remain a year later.
The TCU product started 18 of 34 career collegiate games, playing at both guard and center. He started more at guard, though the Steelers used him exclusively at center in the preseason and list him exclusively as a center.
Morris was used as the second-team center in training camp and in the preseason when Maurkice Pouncey did not practice or play, running behind B.J. Finney. He is perhaps the only other lineman on the current roster capable of playing the center position as a natural, so he holds a lot of value in that regard.
The only other options are Matt Feiler and R.J. Prince, neither of whom are natural players or even natural interior linemen but who have been flexed out over the years, or in the case of the latter, last summer.
Morris spent all of the 2018 on the Steelers’ practice squad and is likely to have a good chance of at least retaining that spot, though upward mobility to the 53-man roster might be asking a lot, given the team’s quality depth right now.