How free agent signings and roster moves will affect Steelers draft

Myles Jack #44 of the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Myles Jack #44 of the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (right). Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers free agents lost

Wide Receiver – Juju Smith-Schuster – After showing great promise early in his career Juju settled into being a slightly above average possession receiver. Still, he was a starter. Now, he’s a Chief. The good news is Juju’s defection will probably be worth a 3rd Rd compensatory pick in 2023. However, that doesn’t do anything for the Steelers, now.

Effect on the Draft: Steelers need to add a starting quality WR prospect, preferably in the first three rounds.

Returner/WR – Ray-Ray McCloud – McCloud gave the Steelers the first stability in the return game they’ve had in years. It was a shame to see him go to the 49ers.

Effect on the Draft: None. The addition of Gunner Olszewski fills this free agency loss.

Wide Receiver – James Washington – After being drafted in the 2nd Rd of the 2019 Draft Washington didn’t really show much. He was given a number of chances to stake claim to WR3 and couldn’t do it. Washington may be worth a late round 2023 comp pick. He’s gone to the Cowboys.

Effect on the Draft: None. The 2021 signing of Anthony Miller gives us a wideout of at least equal value with more upside. Since Miller was already with the Steelers he doesn’t count against the 2023 Compensatory Pick formula… whatever that is…

Quarterback – Josh Dobbs – I’m guessing in a move designed to further infuriate Baker Mayfield, Dobbs signed with the Browns. Along with the very sad death of Dwayne Haskins the Steelers are now down to only two QBs on the roster.

Effect on the Draft: I’m not a fan of any of the quarterbacks in this draft.  I don’t think any of them are worth a 1st Round pick but the Steelers have been to many quarterback Pro Days. I would prefer later round prospects if one had to be taken. If I had to guess I’d say the Steelers will make the mistake of drafting one of these duds but I’m hoping they won’t.

And I’ll say this, under no circumstances should the Steelers draft the way over-hyped and under-talented Milik Willis. Watch his games against Ole Miss and N.C. State and you’ll see why.

OLB/DE – Taco Carlton – Yes, the Cowboys 2017 1st Round bust was with us for a brief second. He’s signed with the Saints.

Effect on The Draft: Little to none. The Steelers may want to add a reserve OLB/DE in the Draft but they may just go with a late round defensive lineman.

Punter – Corliss Waitman – Yes, oddly enough, a reserve punter may effect the Draft. Pressley Harvin III had a rocky first year with the team. He struggled with punt placement and was 31st among starting punters with a downright stinky 42.8 yard average.

It may be a good idea for the Steelers to add a reserve who could take over should Harvin not be able to self correct. I’m not saying the Steelers need to use a draft pick but undrafted free agents are still part of the Draft process.

Effect on the Draft: The Steelers should try hard to sign one of the following, Jordan Stout, Ryan Stonehouse, Michael Turk or Jake Camada if they go undrafted.

Players Who Were Cut

Offensive Tackle – Zach Banner – I don’t know what Tomlin and Co. ever saw in Banner. His college video wasn’t very good and it was clear he couldn’t handle speed rushers.

Effect on the Draft: None. Joe Haeg signed with the Steelers in 2021 on a two year contract. He is a serviceable, veteran, swing offensive lineman and eliminates the need for a late round tackle.

Inside Linebacker – Joe Schobert – I think everybody was very hopeful Schobert would become a fixture on defense. That didn’t happen.

Effect on the Draft: None. The signing of Myles Jack offsets this cut.