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: Darrin Hall
Draft Status: Undrafted
Starts: 0 (0 games)
Truth be told, there is not exactly a lot of room in the Steelers’ backfield right now. Bafflingly, they return five running backs who finished the 2019 season on the 53-man roster: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte, and Trey Edmunds. It’s hard to imagine at least three of them not making the team, barring a draft pick’s inclusion.
So there wouldn’t seem to be much hope for Hall to force his way into the conversation, but he did spend the last two months on the team’s practice squad, and was re-signed at the end of the year to a futures contract. By that point, he was one of seven backs in the system, with Ralph Webb being another running back on the practice squad.
Hall was originally drafted out of Pittsburgh, and spent time with three teams before signing with the Steelers. He was with the Packers during the preseason, playing in three games. He only got 10 carries for 39 yards, plus one reception for two yards, so there isn’t much NFL tape on him at all.
He is the sort of running back the Steelers prefer though at six feet and 225 pounds. Perhaps if he comes in having toned up his physique somewhat, which was the same model Conner took heading into year two, he can have a chance of standing out in a crowded backfield, and at least preserve his spot on the practice squad. Having special teams ability would be key.