The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped the ball during the 2015 and 2016 NFL Drafts. Here’s why just one player remains with the team from those forgettable years.
The Steelers have always been a team that prides themselves with their ability to draft well and keep their own players around on second and even third contracts. Unfortunately, a few very poor draft classes have them straying from their recipe for success.
After players were cut and a few others signed with different teams this offseason, the Steelers have just one player remaining on their team from both their 2015 and 2016 draft classes:
Players still on #Steelers from 2016-2015:
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) March 17, 2020
Bud Dupree is Pittsburgh’s sole survivor of a very forgettable time in Kevin Colbert’s career with the Steelers. While not all of the players they drafted in 2015 and 2016 busted, it speaks volumes that just 1 of 15 still remain with the team.
With Javon Hargrave and Tyler Matakevich signed by different teams, the Steelers now have no remaining players from the 2016 draft – a draft that took place less than five years ago. 2015 wasn’t much better.
Pittsburgh has gotten one solid season out of Bud Dupree, and they elected to keep him around on the franchise tag this year. But with Jesse James leaving last offseason and Chickillo getting cut by the team this offseason, the Steelers have just one remaining player from the 2015 draft.
Though Dupree, Hargrave, Sean Davis, Jesse James, and Tyler Matakevich weren’t bad selections, Some of them never became more than part-time players for the team. The other 9 players proved to be completely expendable, and some never even suited up for a game with the Steelers.
Fortunately, Colbert restored hope to many Steelers fans with a miraculous 2017 draft that included T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, and Cam Sutton. However, another dry spout like the one we witnessed in 2015 and 2016 could set the team back years.
On the bright side, Pittsburgh should receive a nice compensatory pick for the loss of Javon Hargrave to free agency this offseason. With the money they saved from their recent restructured contracts, they may be able to find a serviceable replacement in free agency.
Pittsburgh is short-handed on draft selections in 2020. But even without a first-round pick and their original third-rounder, the Steelers must find a way to make this draft class better than the ones we witnessed in 2015 and 2016.