3 pitfalls Steelers must avoid to cement a successful 2023 draft
By Eric Hassel
Steelers must avoid reaching for player to fill a position of need
Since Mike Tomlin took over the reins in 2007 as our Head Coach, I think it's fair to say that some drafts were great, meaning we drafted players who were positive contributors and who played with us beyond their rookie contract, some drafts were good, meaning we drafted players who were, for the most part, positive contributors, but who maybe only played out their rookie contracts, and some drafts were not so good, meaning we drafted players who either did not make the "53" and/or who did not play beyond their rookie contracts and who did not have their fifth-year options picked up.
Obviously, the draft is not solely Tomlin's responsibility as our former General Manager Kevin Colbert was heavily involved during his tenure. In some drafts, it just seemed like we reached for a player simply because we had a need to fill. That approach generally spells doom. The most recent example is Terrell Edmunds.
No disrespect intended toward Edmunds, but, for me, he was a reach in the first round. There's no question that we needed a safety and were probably intent on drafting a safety regardless. I believe Edmunds would have lasted until at least the third or fourth round, so why did we take him in the first round? I think the answer is that we were desperate for a safety and thought that if we did not take him in the first round, he would not be there in the later rounds.
To be fair to Edmunds, he was reliable, sturdy, and certainly improved over his tenure with the Steelers but, frankly, just did not make enough 'splash' plays to be offered a long-term second contract. Also to be fair to Edmunds, had he been drafted in the third or fourth round, I would not even bring this up. Let's take a look at the most important pitfall to avoid.