5 questionable draft trends the Pittsburgh Steelers must rethink

Artie Burns
Artie Burns /
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Terrell Edmunds (Virginia Tech) is selected as the number twenty-eight overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Only take Power 5 players in round one

The last time the Steelers elected to take a non-Power 5 school player in the first round, it worked out pretty well for them (Ben Roethlisberger in 2004). While I’ll be the first to admit that taking big-school players early in the draft will help limit risk, it also causes Pittsburgh to miss out on some incredible talent.

Let’s just look at the 2018 NFL Draft for a moment. Most draft analysts (myself included) had a second-to-third round grade on Virginia Tech safety, Terrell Edmunds. Though there were other players I had much higher on my draft board, we knew that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to consider taking them because of their need to draft a Power 5 player in round one.

Some of the players who were drafted shortly after the Steelers took Edmunds were Darius Leonard (South Carolina State), Will Hernandez (UTEP), Mike Hughes (UCF), Courtland Sutton (SMU), and Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State). Unfortunately, we knew from the start that Pittsburgh would not consider any of these players because they didn’t come from a big enough program.

This is just one example, but it has caused the Steelers to miss out on some great talent in recent years. If the trend continues, they won’t consider some terrific prospects like LB Zaven Collins this year from Tulsa. Let’s hope they start making more exceptions for very good small-school players in round one.