Did the Steelers 2021 draft process live up to what it should have been?
By Austin Lloyd
There were certainly both highs and lows throughout the Pittsburgh Steelers draft process.
As one can certainly imagine, being a Steelers fan is easier than being a fan of most other teams in the National Football League. A big reason for this is because Pittsburgh always seems to be one step ahead of the masses; they always have a plan. The Steelers hold such a dominant (and Lombardi-littered) reputation for doing so, which leaves many folks in the Steel City community rather relaxed and willing to trust their team’s annual NFL draft process.
Unfortunately, that whole song and dance flew right out the window for me this time around. It is very rare that I find myself frightened by Pittsburgh’s behavior, but their 2021 NFL Draft performance saw just that.
The reason as to why the Steelers antics were so off-putting was less about who they ended up hauling in, but more about the order in which they hauled. For example, Pittsburgh needed a new running back at some point. However, it was not their paramount requirement. Despite this, who did they draft with their sole 1st-round pick? Najee Harris, a running back out of Alabama.
Harris was the most widely-accepted answer to the question of who the Steelers were going to take with their opening selection, though, so perhaps it was not the end of the world that Najee was scooped up by them after all.
But of course, things got a bit scarier in the second round. Pitt took the “local” Penn State tight end, Pat Freiermuth, with the 55th overall pick. Similar to the RB position, TE was something that the Steelers needed to address in this draft, but not before their offensive line woes (most namely regarding the needs for a tackle and center).
Looking at everyone else that Pittsburgh went on to select, we have Kendrick Green (G/C, Illinois), Dan Moore Jr. (OT, Texas A&M), Buddy Johnson (ILB, Texas A&M), Isaiahh Loudermilk (DT, Wisconsin), Quincy Roche (LB, Miami), Tre Norwood (CB, Oklahoma), and Pressley Harvin III (P, Georgia Tech).
All in all, the Pittsburgh Steelers brought in a decent array of players that they needed (especially in regards to OL, LB, and RB). The only move that I do not understand whatsoever is the selection of a punter, but at least it was done with their last pick on the board instead of them taking one over any of the other aforementioned positions. People always “grade” the quality of their team’s draft on a scale of F to A+. In my opinion, this draft was a B+. Look out for the Steelers next season.