ESPN is re-drafting the entire NFL. Four rounds of it, anyway. A beat writer assigned to each team, they selected the top 128 picks and four Steelers appeared on the list.
TJ Watt was the first name off the board, picked at a surprisingly low #42 overall by New England (because of course he was). Yes, quarterbacks are at a premium in these exercises but Watt was taken after the likes of Drew Lock, Tua Tagovailoa, Cam Newton. That…doesn’t seem right.
Next up was Minkah Fitzpatrick, taken five spots later at #47 but ESPN’s Brook Pryor, running the Steelers for this mock. JuJu Smith-Schuster went #73 overall to Jacksonville with Ben Roethlisberger rounding out the list at #91 to Seattle. Smith-Schuster and Roethlisberger taken where they were is understandable; wide receiver is a deep class, JuJu is coming off a poor year, and Roethlisberger’s age doesn’t play well in a re-draft like this.
Two names not to appear on the list are Cam Heyward and David DeCastro. Two of the best to play their position passed up, ostensibly due to age, but shunned for a slew of rookies and total unknowns. I’m not clutching my pearls over a ESPN mock draft but they deserve to be taken in the top 128.
The top five of the draft was predictably led by quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, with Aaron Donald sneaking into the top 5. The first non-QB skill position off the board wasn’t until Christian McCaffrey at #20 – a whopping 15 quarterbacks went in the top 19 picks – with Michael Thomas the first WR at #22.
For the Steelers, Pryor selected:
Teddy Bridgewater – #18
Minkah Fitzpatrick – #47
Mitchell Schwartz – #82
DK Metcalf – #111
The bottom three are all fine picks but Bridgewater at 18 feels like a major stretch.
It’s a fun exercise during a boring offseason. Again, check out the link for the complete results.