The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What are your initial impressions of the Steelers’ overall draft class?
The Steelers entered the weekend with six draft picks, and they used each of them without alteration. In the second round, they landed a big wide receiver in Chase Claypool, while wrapping up day two with edge depth out of Alex Highsmith. Of course, they had no first-round pick.
Yesterday, they wrapped things up with four more players, including running back Anthony McFarland out of Maryland and a big guard in Kevin Dotson. In the final two rounds, they added another Terp, safety Antoine Brooks, and rounded out the class with defensive tackle Carlos Davis.
On paper, they checked off almost all the boxes anybody could have had for them short of quarterback and a true inside linebacker, which is noteworthy given that they only had six draft picks to work with. In practice, though, what are they really getting, especially on day three?
McFarland joins an already crowded backfield as a player who has never really gotten feature-back work, so he sets up to be just another backup, even if he adds some speed to the unit, but will negate at least one of Jaylen Samuels or Kerrith Whyte, if not both.
Davis’ scouting report doesn’t sound very encouraging, and as of right now I have a hard time seeing him even making the roster, in spite of the crying need for a defensive tackle. Smith will not offer anything in coverage, so I guess Terrell Edmunds is the backup free safety.