Did you think the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft class was really underwhelming? Then I have a take for you to appreciate, courtesy of NFL.com. Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr paired up to not only grade but to rank every draft class—while drinking, apparently, according to the article—and they were not particularly kind to the Black and Gold.
While their draft grade of a B- is not necessarily terrible, that placed them all the way down at 26th in the league. They were one of three teams to receive a B- grade, while five teams received a grade of C+ or worse, the New York Giants’ D+ with three first-round picks bringing up the rear.
“This draft started with a bang for Pittsburgh and kind of petered out after that, with some interesting swings along the way”, the article summarized in describing the Steelers’ draft. “I like the idea of identifying a massive need, finding a fit and then doing whatever it takes to land your target. That’s exactly what Kevin Colbert did by trading up 10 spots for Bush”.
Noting the “dramatic dropoff” in quality at the inside linebacker position behind Devin White, who went fifth-overall, and Devin Bush, who went 10th, they were high on the Steelers’ decision to trade up to get him, labeling it a “good call”, but they were less impressed with pretty much everything else.
“They turned the picks they acquired in the Antonio Brown trade into Johnson and Gentry”, it went on. “I’m not feeling super great right now about the payoff for one of the greatest receivers of our time, but given Colbert’s track record, it won’t be surprising if he’s found another gem or two between the two of them”.
These are two of the Steelers’ picks that have received the most criticism, admittedly, with many seeing Diontae Johnson as a late-round pick and tight end Zach Gentry as possibly even a priority free agent. But as is often the case, what teams think about players and what everybody else thinks can be different.
They did offer that “there’s plenty to like” about Benny Snell and Justin Layne, a pair of mid-round selections. “Layne was a great value in Round 3, and Snell is a perfect fit for the Steel City as a power back who can pound the rock between the tackles”.
Lumping Sutton Smith, Ulysees Gilbert III, and Isaiah Bugg together, the blurb concluded, “the defenders they took flyers on in Round 6 don’t have athletic traits that are going to generate a lot of excitement, but they were highly productive college players”.
The Arizona Cardinals were ranked at the top with an A grade, their draft starting with Kyler Murray with the first-overall pick before landing cornerback Byron Murphy and wide receiver Andy Isabella in the second round. Their class also included Zach Allen, Hakeem Butler, and Deionte Thompson, in addition to five more selections in the final two rounds.