The Steelers made seven selections in the 2022 NFL Draft and they have made different impacts on this team thus far.
The 2022 NFL Draft brought a lot of needs and uncertainties for the Steelers. The club was able to address a lot of their issues and make some wise choices, while also getting some major needs crossed off their to-do list. It has not been the pretty painting that many had hoped for, but most of the rookies have shown signs of potential.
Kenny Pickett has not been as NFL-ready as most thought entering the draft
Taking a quarterback in the draft, no matter what round they are taken will always bring constant wondering eyes. Kenny Pickett was deemed the guy and most NFL-ready coming out of college. Thus far, this group of rookie quarterbacks have left a lot more to be desired from their development and production in their young careers.
You can see the short steps being waddled in the right direction with Pickett, but many thought he could do better. He needs to be more consistent and continue to protect the football when he needs to make a throw. The offense is not good around him, so that could also be shoving his grade down.
George Pickens looks like he could be the best player in this class
No one had a better training camp than George Pickens, who was the second-round pick of this draft class. He has been able to keep the long line of successful receiver development alive for the Steelers with his great play. His number has not been able to wow anyone since this offense has not been terrific all year.
This grade is widely affected by the immunity that this offense has displayed against being a well-oiled machine. Pickens was a steal in the second round and should be able to have a successful NFL career. The Steelers just need to target him more and make more plays in the passing game.
DeMarvin Leal has shown signs of potential in his small role on defense
Many complimented the selection of DeMarvin Leal to Pittsburgh at the time. He was high on most boards, but he fell to the third round of the event because of his development which still needed to be completed. He has shown glimpses of the player that he could turn into, and the Steelers will try their best to get him there.
Missed time is always tough to see for rookies and that is something that has affected Leal. He has been on injured reserve with the team for a while now and he will try to come back stronger than ever. He will still need to progress as a player, but he could become a dominant lineman when it is all said and done.
Calvin Austin III got hurt and derailed his rookie season with the Steelers
Welcome back to the walking wounded segment of the article as Calvin Austin III could not take a snap for the black and gold. He got hurt right before the first pre-season game and worked to try and come back around the halfway mark of the schedule. The fourth-round pick of this draft class could never overcome his injury and he had to get surgery to fix the issue.
This pick was also a good value when Austin was taken by Pittsburgh. He is a fast and shifty guy, but the injury will have some remembering Senquez Golson and the number of injuries that cost him his career in the NFL. This should have a different outcome as the team will have a reset rookie year from this player that will hopefully be much healthier next time around.
Connor Heyward has proven the doubters wrong ever since he got drafted
Getting late in the draft is when the black and gold decided to make one of their superstars happy by drafting his younger brother. Connor Heyward is the younger brother of Cam Heyward, and the Steelers love NFL bloodlines. The pick was highly scrutinized at the time, but Heyward has been able to quiet the haters.
Other than the giant play that he made against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the season, Heyward has not accomplished a ton on offense. It seems like his role is starting to expand on offense as the season rolls along. His main role as a rookie has been on special teams, which he has done well at.
Mark Robinson has not been given many opportunities to this point
When you get to the seventh round of the draft, you are normally looking for specific things out of that rookie. Mark Robinson was labeled as raw coming out of Ole Miss, but that is just another way of saying that he needs development at the next level. This rookie was able to win a roster spot out of camp and finally get a helmet once injuries popped up.
Nothing special about this player and he has not been given too many opportunities during his rookie season yet. There are three starters in front of him and he might not see much action, especially on defense throughout this year. The Steelers hope that they have a second version of Vince Williams, but I would not get my hopes up.
Chris Oladokun was a wasted draft pick that never had a shot here
Head scratching was a nice way of putting this pick when the black and gold decided to make it. Chris Oladokun made no sense for Pittsburgh after they draft Pickett in the first round. The only thought was that Mason Rudolph was going to be traded to open the door for the third quarterback competition, but that never happened.
Kevin Colbert used his final draft choice of his career on a glorified camp arm that got nearly zero reps. This mishandling of this pick was nearly embarrassing as it could have been used on another position of need to provide some competition. Many will argue that it’s just a seventh-round pick, but it could have been used for a better purpose than on a rookie that never had a shot at making the team.
The Steelers draft class has seen some bright spots to this point in the 2022 season. There could have been better options available but the team went with these players that still have time to improve their games.