Know this, Steelers fans: There is no way you can make me grade Pittsburgh’s 2020 draft class. I won’t do it, and here’s why.
Okay, Steelers fans, it’s time to take a deep breath and remember a couple of extremely important things. First of all, the sports media draft “experts” do not have all the answers. They do not have the inside scoop on NFL teams’ team-building strategy, and on a consistent basis, they prove to be wrong when it comes to the players they believe that teams should draft in a specific order.
Secondly, it’s extremely important that we do not fall for the draft-pundit-group-think that happens every year in February, March, and April. Believe it or not, the likes of Mel Kiper and Lance Zerlien are not professional scouts. They’ve never worked in any team’s scouting department. The traits they bring to the table are simply an ability to vaguely say the same thing over and over again about the players they profile leading up to each year’s draft.
But the pundits and the sports media as a whole will begin (actually, they’ve already started) to extract their pound of flesh over the fact that the Steelers (not to mention every other team in the league) did not pick the players they “evaluated” prior to the actual draft. It’s no mistake that most mock drafts cover only the first round. Aside from the likes of Mel Kiper and Daniel Jeremiah, there are very few in the media who have the time to analyze traits, watch film, and set up their own “big board” for the draft. Because of this, most of the media relies on the two draftniks I just named or the few others like them to decide who teams should pick in rounds 2 through 7.
Others in the media, like yours truly, find a handful of players they can dig into and then we provide pre-draft profiles on that smaller group. It’s a fun exercise but does not represent the amount of work NFL teams put into evaluating players.
So, rather than grade the Steelers’ 2020 draft a day after the last pick was made and months before any of these men will play a down in the NFL, I’m going to first reveal why immediate draft grades are so ridiculous, and then I might take a shot at revealing what I’ve learned about the Steelers’ picks in the relatively short amount of time I’ve had to dig into their resumes.