- Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft Breakdown
- Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Breakdown
- Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Breakdown
- Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Breakdown
- Buffalo Bills NFL Draft Breakdown
- Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Breakdown
- New England Patriots NFL Draft Breakdown
- Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Draft Breakdown
- Tennessee Titans NFL Draft Breakdown
- Denver Broncos NFL Draft Breakdown
- New York Jets NFL Draft Breakdown
- Houston Texans NFL Draft Breakdown
- Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Breakdown
- Oakland Raiders NFL Draft Breakdown
- Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Breakdown
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going through a rebuilding phase and perhaps a culture change heading into the 2019 season. They have shed some divas and were looking to fill positions of need.
This is how they fared in the NFL draft
|Justin Layne||83||CB||Michigan St.|
|Sutton Smith||175||EDGE||Northern Illinois|
|Dravon Askew-Henry||S||West Virginia|
TEAM 2019 Outlook
It’s the beginning of a new era in Pittsburgh. They are looking to move on from a string of issues that have plagued the team over the last few seasons.
The first offensive player taken in the Draft was a strange choice for mine, Toledo WR Diontae Johnson. Johnson enters a team with a receiving core consisting of Juju Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, and Eli Rogers. Johnson is a polished WR who has been underrated throughout his college career but shouldn’t have been taken at 66th overall.
Kentucky RB Benny Snell was an excellent choice by the Steelers with pick 122. We all watched the emergence of James Connor last season, but you cannot put all your eggs into the one basket. Snell is a quality RB who complements the skills of Connor and will make a great RB2 going forward. He rushed for nearly 4,000 yards in three seasons with Kentucky and scored 48 TDs. Expect Jaylen Samuels to drop to RB3.
Zach Gentry TE from Michigan was the next player taken by the Steelers with pick 141. Gentry, more of a blocking TE, came to Michigan in 2015 as a QB before shifting roles. He is incredibly raw and needs a lot to of work make it as a TE1 in the NFL. Don’t expect to see a lot of game time from him early on.
Notable UDFAs the Steelers picked up include LSU Guard Garrett Brumfield and Florida Gator Guard Fred Johnson. Both these guys are exciting young players who have a future in the NFL. Look for both of them to be fixtures in the Steelers offense of the future.
One of the best players drafted in this class is Michigan LB Devin Bush. Bush commands the backfield and is a leader of men, just the kind of player the Steelers need in their new-look team. Bush started all but one game in his final two seasons with the Wolverines amassing 172 total tackles and 10 sacks. He will easily find the starting role in the backfield for the Steelers in 2019.
Michigan State CB Justin Layne went in the 3rd round. He is one of the youngest guys in the draft class at just 21 and four months on draft day. He arrived at Michigan as a WR but quickly transitioned into a CB. He reads the play well, has proportionate length and great hands. Having said that he is a work in progress and can get caught in the wrong spot on the field at times.
Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs will fill the depth chart behind DE Cameron Heyward. Buggs is an animal of a footballing, weighing in at over 300 pounds. He has great use of hands, is quick for a big man and disposes of opponents with ease. He played all 15 games for the Crimson Tide in 2018 and make 9.5 sacks.
In the last week, the Steelers have added one of the best UDFAs on the market in PJ Locke. The Safety out of Texas is a jack of all trades. He can play single high, slot cover, safety or corner. He has great range and is solid with his hands. During his time with the Longhorns, he forced more fumbles and pass deflections than any other player.
Grade – A
There has been a changing of the guard in Pittsburgh. Coach Mike Tomlin has thrown out the trash and is building around a new nucleus. It may take some time to get all the pieces working together, but things are moving in the right direction.
As always, that’s what Spinks thinks.