Trends Steelers should expect with Andy Weidl in charge of the draft board

Steelers, Jordan Davis
Steelers, Jordan Davis / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Weidl can have Steelers pay for undrafted talent

One of the biggest changes I saw with draft classes under Weidl actually occurred after the draft. A large pool of players goes undrafted every year, and teams get a certain amount of money that they can use as signing bonuses to entice these undrafted players to their team. Some teams have begun guaranteeing some of the base salaries of these players to further entice them.

The Steelers are not one of these teams, as their recent undrafted rookie classes haven’t even used the allotted signing bonus money. This, in turn, has yielded mediocre classes that haven’t been able to add talent to this roster after the draft wraps up. It’s a huge issue, as Pittsburgh is missing out on a huge opportunity.

Weidl turned the Eagles into one of the more aggressive spenders after the draft, as was apparent in 2021 and 2022. 2021 saw them land backup tight end Jack Stoll, whom they guaranteed a portion of his salary to bring him aboard. 2022 was even more aggressive, as they handed deals like this to multiple different prospects.

This worked well though, as the Eagles found four undrafted free agents that all contributed in 2022. The best of this turned out to be Reed Blankenship, as he played in ten games with four starts and developed into a core player for that defense.

The Steelers archaic ways of enticing undrafted free agents needed to change, and that will hopefully happen with Weidl. Sure, a lot of those guarantees end up as cap charges for cut players, but the overall impact is small. In return, you get a far better chance of building out the roster after the draft wraps up.