How the Steelers are no closer to winning after the NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7 / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, making now the time for either looking forward to the future or rolling your eyes at it. In what I’m sure many Steelers fans would agree is uncommon fashion, I find myself doing the latter today.

My reason for this is very simple, as it was highlighted on multiple occasions throughout the event: The franchise’s needless prioritization of its offensive line.

Expectedly, said prioritization was noticed early in Round 1, as the first name called to wear the black and yellow was Washington OT Troy Fautanu. With that pick alone, we found the Steelers in rare shape, as they hardly ever spend consecutive first-rounders on one position.

Therefore, that should’ve probably been red flag #1. Was it the end of the world? No. However, what felt pretty close to that was the fact that more just like it trailed closely behind.

When their second-round pick came along, the Steelers once again turned to the OL, that time drafting West Virginia center Zach Frazier. Luckily, Round 3 saw them come to their senses a tad, as they scooped up Michigan receiver Roman Wilson and NC State linebacker Payton Wilson, but concerns swiftly grew back upon them selecting yet another offensive lineman (South Dakota State guard Mason McCormick) in Round 4.

Beyond that point, they only had a pair of sixth-rounders in their arsenal, and they were ultimately used on Iowa DT Logan Lee and Texas corner Ryan Watts. You read that right: The position that multiple draft experts and myself thought Pittsburgh would/should pursue in the first round, was put off until the 195th pick. Unbelievable.

Steelers draft philosophy was questionable

Now, what does all of this tell us? I, personally, feel like it paints two pictures, neither of which are good. One is that the Steelers are far too engrossed with this idea of sprucing up their OL depth, and for no good reason.

I’m not saying that none of the talents could be of use, as the line did suffer some loss. But, the mere act of selecting three offensive linemen within your first five picks is questionable.

It comes off as the Steelers either playing things safe for a QB room they’re hardly committed to and/or a RB room that shined with what it had up front last year, or thinking that they are in such good shape on paper that they can afford to focus so exclusively on one piece of the team. In other words, their choices appear as if they were made after the entire draft room downed cocktails of fear and delusion. A bit strong for my taste.

My other takeaway comes from the inexcusable neglect of the CB position, as it had lost some firepower too. Providing just one answer for it (so late in the draft, no less) leaves yinzers with a splotchy secondary that it knows all too well. I don’t think I need to explain why that's also a bad look for a team that is not only historically respected due to its eye for young potential but also looking to establish better footing in a brutal AFC.

Next. Full list of Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks from 2024 NFL Draft. Full list of Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks from 2024 NFL Draft. dark

Again, I want to stress that I have no gripe with any of the players selected; if they weren’t outstanding athletes, they wouldn’t even have sniffed a draft board. However, does some of them going to Pittsburgh—especially based on the order they’re doing so—raise eyebrows? Absolutely, and I hope I’m wrong when I say that the Steelers seem no closer to improvement as a result.