PFF Labels Steelers’ Draft As NFL’s Best From Analytics-Driven Criteria

Depending on who you talk to or read post-2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers either had a good draft overall, or reached on a quarterback too early and tanked away any chance at a good draft overall.

However, Pro Football Focus’s Timo Riske, using analytics to determine who had the best draft last weekend across the NFL, believes that the Steelers outdistanced themselves in a big way from the rest of the NFL when it comes to adding value coming out of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Coming out of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers added the likes of quarterback Kenny Pickett, wide receiver George Pickens, defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, wide receiver Calvin Austin III, H-back Connor Heyward, linebacker Mark Robinson, and quarterback Chris Oladokun, earning high praise from PFF from an analytics standpoint.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ decision to draft Kenny Pickett was highly criticized, but selecting a quarterback who ranked No. 20 on the consensus big board without needing to trade up is a pretty solid value compared to recent years,” Riske writes. “The alternatives would’ve been much worse, too, as their quarterback room heading into the draft consisted of Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky.

“Also, 31 other teams at least agreed with them in the sense that no other quarterback would have been worth the 20th overall pick, let alone a second-round pick. Of course, we don’t know whether Pickett would have slid — just like the other quarterbacks — if the Steelers didn’t select him, but given the information that we have about him and his selection, it was a very valuable pick.

“Since all the other Steelers picks were also considered good values, the Steelers lead our draft ranking by a pretty good margin,” Riske added. “We don’t know whether this draft will really spark another successful era for Pittsburgh, but it was definitely a promising start for the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.”

As Riske writes, the Steelers did a nice job grabbing the top quarterback on the board among the consensus at No. 20 overall without having to deal away future capital to get him. Though there remains questions regarding Pickett and his ceiling, that type of value – especially at the quarterback position — is hard to find overall.

Pickens adds even more value at No. 52 as many considered him a first-round caliber wide receiver, though he fell due to a medical red flag and some character concerns overall. While he still has some developing to do, the Steelers obviously feel very comfortable overall about the Georgia star, who could develop into the next star at wide receiver for the Steelers.

Though it looks great on paper seeing the Steelers adding that type of value overall out of one draft class based on PFF’s analytics, things have to play out on the field before we really truly judge this draft class one way or another. One thing is clear though: the general consensus feels like the Steelers came out ahead in the draft, the final under GM Kevin Colbert.

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