Few teams outside the Pittsburgh Steelers have pulled off what this team was able to do in two days.
Three days ago, NFL Mock Drafts had the Pittsburgh Steelers considering Mason Rudolph in the first-round. Two days ago, people believed they missed their shot at a franchise quarterback after passing on Lamar Jackson. Yesterday, football watched them put together one of the best offenses in the NFL, not only this year, but for the future.
James Washington at No. 60 was not a pick anyone was looking for. Heading into the draft, nothing more than a mid-to-late rounder was expected to head to Pittsburgh as a wide receiver.
Then, the trade happened. Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders was a phenomenal move. Say what you want about his value, Pittsburgh was able to move a receiver with 84 targets a year ago and get a third-round pick in a draft loaded with talent.
They even got a better receiver. Bryant may be one of the NFL’s fastest, but he has drop issues and doesn’t click well within the offense. But James Washington. James Washington is going to be a Pro Bowler sooner rather than later.
Him and JuJu Smith-Schuster working the inside and slot are going to cause a lot of difficulties for opposing defenses. Secondaries aren’t going to know how to handle so many deep threats, and that’ll open up plenty of space for Le’Veon Bell and James Conner.
Then, they came back and did something no one believed would be possible before Day 1 of the draft. Mason Rudolph should not have been around at the 76th pick. After five quarterbacks dropped off the board in the first 32 picks, Rudolph shouldn’t have lasted half of round two.
As the picks came, though, and the Steelers realized no one was going to draft him before their next pick, they made the decision. Instead of drafting a quarterback in the second, they’d wait it out and steal his wide receiver. Then, come back and move three spots up for their next franchise play caller.
Chukwuma Okorafor was a bit of a shock, and one that may not make much sense, still. The right tackle is coming to Pittsburgh as a late third-rounder with eventual starting potential, but no more expectations that to replace Chris Hubbard. Seeing a new tackle on the depth chart is promising, but a lot of people think they could’ve waited until the fifth.
They made the move, though. Much like Terrell Edmunds at No. 28, people just need to accept that someone saw something and made the move. He adds security to the offensive line, and after completing the offense the way they did, adding bulk to the five most important players is significant.
Pittsburgh went offense and no one saw it coming. Three straight picks without a defensive selection was not on the agenda according to experts, but if we’ve learned anything it’s that the Steelers don’t take advice.
They did everything they needed to do and more. They have four more picks left to round out their draft class, but Day 2 already boosted their roster by ten-fold.
Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Chukwuma Okorafor, welcome to Pittsburgh. It’s going to be a fun ride.