There is something to be said for stating the obvious when the one doing the stating is the one who has control. Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II spoke to the media earlier today ahead of the start of day two of the 2021 NFL Draft, and, well, you may not be surprised with what he had to say, but it’s notable all the same.
“It’s definitely a position we’ll be looking at, and the good news is there’s a few guys left on the board that can play the position”, he told Steelers Nation Radio on ESPN when asked about the centers. “We’ll be evaluating that along with a number of other positions. You always try to balance your grades and your board against what you need, so those are the kind of conversations that we have today and will be having as we get into this evening”.
After scooping up a running back in the first round yesterday with Najee Harris, center is arguably their biggest remaining need, irrespective of relative value of the positions. Following the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, the only centers on the roster are B.J. Finney and J.C. Hassenauer, who have seven combined starts at center.
As Rooney stated, however, the good news is that there are still quality centers available at the start of day two—in fact, all of the centers are still available. Landon Dickerson out of Alabama is still out there. Had he not had multiple knee injuries, he would have otherwise been a virtual lock to go in the first round.
Beyond Dickerson, you have Creed Humphrey, for example, and Quinn Meinerz. Josh Myers and Drew Dalmon would also likely be under consideration. There are reports that there is expected to be a run on centers somewhere in the middle of the night, so hopefully that won’t come too far ahead of the Steelers at 55, where they select in the second round.
Pittsburgh of course has two picks today, and more than two needs, but they should have the opportunity to add two quality players with starting potential over the course of the next few hours. Their 2022 day-two picks are both projected to be starters this year, for example, in wide receiver Chase Claypool and edge Alex Highsmith.
Center would be the most obvious position where the Steelers could draft a player right now and expect him to be a starter in September, but they could use help in other areas, from cornerback to tackle to outside linebacker and tight end. But there is a reason there has been special attention paid to the ones who snap the ball.