The 2020 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 2019 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 from.
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 Robert Spillane and Tevin Jones because they were first-year players, not rookies.
The Steelers went into the 2018 NFL Draft with 10 selections, including two in the third round and three in the sixth, but ended up trading their second-round pick to move up in the first round. They received additional third- and fifth-round picks for trading Antonio Brown, a sixth for Marcus Gilbert, and the other sixth was part of the Ryan Switzer trade the year before.
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: Garrett Brumfield
Draft Status: Undrafted
Starts: 0 (0 games)
One of the Steelers’ surest bets in recent years has seemed to be that, no worse than every other year on average, they would be able to find among the college free agents an offensive lineman that they would be able to mold into something. Even if Pittsburgh wasn’t their first team.
The most recent was Fred Johnson just last year, who is unfortunately now with the Bengals. Before him, there was B.J. Finney, and Matt Feiler, and Chris Hubbard. You can go back to Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster even, 11 years ago.
Early on, it looked as though Garrett Brumfield, out of LSU, could be another. Along with Johnson, Brumfield was among the college free agents that the Steelers signed immediately after the draft. They were preceded by Derwin Gray as a seventh-round pick, and Damian Prince would be added after a rookie minicamp tryout invitation.
Between the four of them, Johnson and Brumfield stood out early on, something that Foster mentioned during OTAs, singling them out as a pair of rookies to watch out for. Johnson ended up ultimately pulling away, of course, making the 53-man roster.
Both Brumfield and Prince fell behind, neither of them making the practice squad, though Gray caught on and remained there all year. The former would only see 37 snaps during the preseason, the bulk of which came at the end of the final preseason game, at which point it was too late.
Like Prince, Brumfield would enter the XFL Draft, and he would be selected by the New York Guardians. Unlike Prince, he would remain on the team, though he was a backup, and ultimately only played 15 snaps. That’s not likely to get him looked at again by NFL teams this offseason.