Grading all 7 picks Steelers made in the 2024 NFL Draft

Way-too-early grades for all seven selections Pittsburgh made in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Payton Wilson, NC State
Payton Wilson, NC State / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, the Pittsburgh Steelers fleeced their competitors in the NFL Draft. In Omar Khan and Andy Weidl's first offseason running the front office in 2023, they loaded up on talented players like Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton, Darnell Washington, Nick Herbig, and Cory Trice.

Now they showed their drafting skills were not just a fluke. Pittsburgh found talented players on all three days of the draft who were not expected to be available, and they pulled the trigger.

While we still need to wait and see how things will play out, this draft class is remarkable on paper. Based on draft value against the consensus board, positional value, and positional need, here are my way-too-early grades for all seven selections of the Steelers' 2024 draft class.

Washington. Troy Fautanu. Troy Fautanu. A-. Offensive Tackle

Round 1 (pick 20): Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

This pick took me by surprise -- largely because I did not expect Troy Fautanu to be on the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers made their selection in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. According to Marcus Mosher's Draft Expert consensus board, Fautanu was the 10th-best player in the draft with an average rank of 12.4 among experts.

Considering Fautanu comes at a premium position (offensive tackle), it's hard to believe that he slipped as far as he did in the draft. Mike Tomlin later admitted that they were planning to go with Duke C Graham Barton or Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton, but that was before they knew Fautanu would be available to them.

This pick checks all of the boxes for Pittsburgh. They took an athletic player at great value who happened to align with a huge positional need. I'm giving the Steelers an 'A-' for this selection. I had a few players higher on my board (like Quinyon Mitchell), but Fautanu checks all of the boxes in the first round.

Center. West Virginia. Zach Frazier. Zach Frazier. B+

Round 2 (pick 51): Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia

Steelers fans were head over heels with the selection of Zach Frazier in the second round. Leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, there was buzz that Frazier could land in the back half of the first round. After diving into his tape, I couldn't get behind him in Round 1, but I was a fan of this pick in the middle of the second round.

After Jackson Powers-Johnson was snatched up by the Raiders, Frazier was the last remaining of the 'Big 3' centers from this class. Fortunately, he was on the board at pick 51, and Pittsburgh rushed to turn in their card for the West Virginia product.

Frazier only has average play strength and athletic traits, but he is technically refined with solid tape. I'm giving this pick a 'B+. There were a handful of players on the board I liked better, but Frazier fills a huge positional need and projects as a Day 1 starting center in the NFL.

Roman Wilson. A. Wide Receiver. Michigan. Roman Wilson

Round 3 (pick 84): Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

I was elated to see that Roman Wilson was still on the board at pick 84 in the third round of the draft. I watched a lot of tape on Wilson during the pre-draft process and ended up giving him a second-round grade.

With a run on wide receivers early in the draft, I thought his chances of sliding to the third round were slim. This was an easy selection for the Steelers. They found the receiver help they needed at a discount price. Roman Wilson can handle slot duties as a rookie and has the upside to develop into a WR2 in Pittsburgh.

Linebacker. NC State. Payton Wilson. Payton Wilson. A+

Round 3 (pick 98): Payton Wilson, LB, NC State

I'm glad the Steelers wasted no time turning in their card for Payton Wilson. Though Wilson has a scary medical history that includes two ACL tears and a shoulder injury, the talent was far too good to pass up at this stage of the draft.

With their compensatory pick in the third round, the Steelers got arguably the best linebacker in the class. Wilson has 4.43 speed at nearly 6'4'' with outstanding coverage chops and playmaking ability. This was arguably the best value pick of Day 2. If he stays healthy, he has the upside to be one of the better linebackers in the NFL.

This was the sweet spot where the reward greatly outweighed the risk. I'm giving this selection a perfect 'A+' for the Steelers at pick 98.

Offensive Guard. South Dakota State. Mason McCormick. Mason McCormick. C+

Round 4 (pick 119): Mason McCormick, OG, South Dakota State

Mason McCormick was a very intriguing guard prospect whom I studied in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. I'm always a sucker for small-school players who test as phenomenal athletes and have good size. McCormick checked those boxes.

Ideally, this is the type of player I would have loved to grab in Round 5, but the Steelers didn't have a fifth-rounder this year. This selection was still on value for where I had him on my draft board, but the Steelers already have guards Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, and Nate Herbig under contract.

I knocked Pittsburgh a bit for the redundancy here -- even though I'm not opposed to planning for the future. There were players I liked better at this point in the draft, but I understand where the front office was coming from.

Logan Lee. C. Defensive Line. Iowa. Logan Lee

Round 6 (pick 178): Logan Lee, DL, Iowa

The Pittsburgh Steelers have experimented with defensive linemen like this in the past, and it has not worked out in their favor. Logan Lee is tall (6'5 3/8'') but thin (281 pounds) with short arms (32 1/4''). His frame is remarkably similar to Isaiahh Loudermilk coming out of Wisconsin in 2021.

While I don't mind taking a flier on a late-round interior defender with athletic traits, many draft experts had a priority free agent grade on Lee, and he finished as the 248th-ranked player on the consensus board from NFL Mock Draft Database.

Lee has some traits to work with, but he didn't earn much production in college. He will need to add mass to his frame if he wants to find a home on the Steelers roster in 2024.

Cornerback. Texas. Ryan Watts. Ryan Watts. C+

Round 6 (pick 195): Ryan Watts, S, Texas

Similar to Lee, Ryan Watts was the 235th-ranked player on the consensus board during the draft. Watts was a former four-star recruit who began his college career at Ohio State before transferring to Texas.

Watts has a jaw-dropping frame for an NFL cornerback. At 6'2 7/8'' and 208 pounds with 34 1/2'' arms, Watts is taller, heavier, and longer than Joey Porter Jr. Unfortunately, his tape needs a lot of work and he has never graded out well in college.

Watts is a better run defender than cover corner, but he could find a home on special teams early in his career if he can stick around on the roster.