With the 2020 Draft completed and the film reviewed, now is the time to lament the “what could have been” as the Steelers prep for their next season
As a professional arm-chair GM for the Steelers, I always believe I can do a better job than the front office (even though they usually end up proving me wrong). That said, with the draft come and gone, posting an early redraft is a popular way for fans to lament the “one that got away.”
Overall, I am very satisfied with the Steelers incoming crop of rookies, as I believe they added key players to positions of need while also filling out their depth chart well. However, I believe I can do better. The rules of this are simple: you have every single pick the Steelers had (no trading) and you can take anyone taken at that selection or after. For reference, here is a list of every draft pick so you can make your own.
After analyzing each of the picks and giving a few days to reconsider options, this is how the draft would have gone down had I been in charge of picking. Obviously, this won’t be a topic dwelled on for long, but I wanted to pose this to you the readers. Who would you have selected and why? Were you dead set on a QB at 49? Do you think Kevin Dotson is too raw for a pick in the 4th? Let me know in the comments how the draft would have gone had you been in charge.
Assuming Kevin Colbert had me on the phone though, this is how it would have broken down:
Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise St.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Rashard Lawrence, NT, LSU
Amik Robertson, CB, LA Tech
James Proche, WR, SMU
Brian Cole II, S, Utah
I have sung the praises of Chase Claypool often since he was drafted, but that doesn’t mean he was my personal choice at pick 49. With Ezra Cleveland, the Steelers would have gotten an instant upgrade at RT and a potential franchise LT as soon as next year. While Claypool will provide a jump in the red zone, Cleveland represents more value overall.
I keep the Highsmith pick, as I think the value was good and I really love the player. He screams top depth options and future starter after refining his skills in his rookie season. Rashard Lawrence replaces my least favorite pick (Anthony McFarland) as there is a huge hole at NT. As well, with OL already addressed, Amik Robertson replaces Kevin Dotson as I believe Robertson would be the future starting slot CB.
James Proche is an NFL ready high floor low ceiling slot option. He has great hands and is a good route runner, but his overall athletic build isn’t anything special. That said, he would have instantly been the top backup slot option. A different type of WR than Claypool, but still a valuable asset.
Finally, I don’t know a lot about Brian Cole II, but with the lack of S depth on the team, a flyer at the position makes sense. Yes, this is a dart at the wall, but depth is needed in the secondary.
Just for fun, my UDFA list would have been Jacob Breeland, Trajan Brandy, Yasir Durant, Sewo Oloniula, Quartney Davis, Jordan Mack, Malcolm Roach, Joe Bachie, Austin Mack, and Calvin Taylor. Do these names mean much right now? No, but a lot of these names have more developmental upside than the guys brought in (obviously it is up to the player to decide where they sign, so this list could have been targeted by the Steelers).
As well, for a bonus, had the Steelers not traded their first and third, I would have targeted either Cesar Ruiz or Justin Jefferson in the first and Devin Duvernay in the third. None of those options are better than Minkah Fitzpatrick or Devin Bush though, so I am very happy with those trades still.
That is the summation of what my draft would have looked like had I been charge. While I really like the job the Steelers did, I went after more depth options on defense to keep that group strong while adding more top talent to the OL. What do you think? Had you been in charge, what would your draft have looked like?