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 was your least favorite selection of the Steelers’ draft class?
The same thing applies from yesterday’s question. Factor in anything football-relevant to your answer, whether it’s draft value, positional value, team needs, etc., when considering your response. The Steelers came away with just six players in the draft, their fewest since 2003, so there aren’t a ton of options to choose from.
I’m not sure there are any picks that will be actively disliked, but if I was going to predict which would get the most mentions, it might be Antoine Brooks. While the team was reportedly looking for a dimebacker-type player, many are concerned about the lack of a backup free safety. Somebody like Geno Stone, whom the Baltimore Ravens drafted after the Steelers took Brooks, would have fit that profile better, but Pittsburgh got the body type it was looking for here.
Carlos Davis to me doesn’t scream roster lock at all, but even with that said, he was only a seventh-round pick, and the miss rate that deep into the draft is pretty high, so it’s hard to get too upset about that, even if it ends up being a swing and a miss at a ‘need’ position.
Anthony McFarland in the fourth round seems like a perfectly fine change-of-pace running back. Whether or not they needed that, or if that spot could have been better-served addressing another area of the roster, is up for debate.
Then you have Chase Claypool, the 11th wide receiver taken off the board. If they were going to draft a running back, it should have been one that profiles as a future starter, like, say…J.K. Dobbins, another Ravens draft pick. As for Alex Highsmith, it’s always a gamble taking small-school players, especially in the first three rounds. It worked out with Javon Hargrave, but that doesn’t mean anything for Highsmith. And just to mention Kevin Dotson, he’s not going to get on the field if he can’t pass protect, and the left guard has been instrumental in setting protections, too.