The 2019 NFL Draft is upon us and the Pittsburgh Steelers still have little idea what’s going to happen with ten picks in the next three days.
A top linebacker falls in the first, they grab an immediate impact player in the passing game, and they find a potential starter at cornerback.
In my opinion, the best case scenario for the Steelers is snagging one of the top two inside linebackers in this class. Devin White and Devin Bush are both potentially top ten players in this years draft class and they are miles ahead of the other players at their position. Last season the team tried to get by without drafting a linebacker last year and it didn’t work. Jon Bostic, the teams stopgap free agent signing was not great and only graded out at a 59.6 on Pro Football Focus. To make matters worse the Steelers highest graded linebacker from last season and best cover man in the position group departed during free agency.
The team signed Mark Barron this offseason but he isn’t the solution either in my opinion, in fact, according to Pro Football Focus he graded out even worse than Bostic did. The Steelers are going to need a lot of things to go their way for either White or Bush to be available to them at pick 20 but it is the NFL Draft and anything can happen.
It doesn’t have to happen at a specific point in the draft but for the Steelers to hit their best case scenario this week they need to find an impact player in the passing game. It doesn’t have to be a wide receiver, maybe someone like Irv Smith Jr. falls to them in the second, but they have to find players who can help replace the 100+ catches Antonio Brown was good for each season. Donte Moncrief was a solid signing in my opinion but trading Brown for Moncrief isn’t equivalent at all and more needs to be done.
The Steelers signed Steven Nelson in the offseason giving them two starters at cornerback, along with Joe Haden, that you can feel somewhat comfortable with next season. That doesn’t mean that the position is no longer a need, however. I don’t know that either is a long term answer in Pittsburgh’s secondary and they need to find a player with the potential to push the players that are already on the roster this upcoming season and a chance to develop into a full-time starter down the road.
The Steelers reach for low-value players at positions of need.
In my opinion, the worst case draft scenario is the same for every team in the NFL. Drafting a player based on position and not talent is the easiest way to wind up with a draft bust. It is important for the Steelers to remain patient if the top players at positions of need aren’t around when they are on the clock. Taking the best player available or trading back is a lot better situation for the long term success of a franchise.
As much as I would like to see a linebacker go at number twenty that only holds true if it is one of the top players at the position. In my opinion players like Mack Wilson and Tre Lamar are second and third round type players and taking them earlier than where they’re graded is a recipe for disaster.
The Steelers have done a great job of sticking to the best player available strategy and that needs to continue. They signed players like Barron, Moncrief, and Nelson to give them flexibility. Now they need to stick to that plan.