The Steelers draft got off to a rough start according to many Steelers fans last Thursday night, with the selection of Ryan Shazier at 15.
I was never a huge fan of Darquenze Dennard in Lebeau’s defense and preferred Kyle Fuller who went off the board one pick prior.
I agreed with many that thought the Steelers should have attempted to trade down and grab Shazier. I’ve since heard however, that Shazier’s agent was on the phone with the Dallas Cowboys when the Steelers were picking him.
I won’t deny that the Steelers are alarmingly thin still at some positions such as cornerback and outside linebacker. Think of it this way though…
Were the Steelers going to build a 2014 Superbowl roster in this draft? Probably not.
Could the Steelers build a championship roster over the next couple? Of course. That’s why you take the best player available… Maybe next year a stud corner is sitting there with good value. Taking the best player available has worked.
While it doesn’t mean much now, the national media has been much more kind to the Steelers’ draft class than the fans from what I’ve seen.
Draft king Mel Kiper graded the Steelers’ draft with an A- while asking “Did they do enough at cornerback? Maybe not, but they got everything else right.”
The draft-centric website Walterfootball.com gave the Steelers an A- for their draft saying “The Steelers had a fantastic draft. Some might think that No. 15 was too early for Ryan Shazier, but I know for a fact that a team picking soon after them was ready to pounce on the speedy Ohio State linebacker.”
Sports Illustrated was slightly more critical handing out a B grade while showing some ignorance on the Steelers’ needs saying “That’s all well and good, except the Steelers barely touched their offensive line (OT Wesley Johnson in Round 5) or secondary (CB Shaq Richardson, also in Round 5).”
NFL.com didn’t hand out grades but put the Steelers in the 2nd tier of team classes. They seemed to like the Steelers’ later picks. “Another really good draft by the Steelers gives them a boost on defense. Bryant is a steal at No. 118, and Richardson has all the physical tools. Getting Johnson at the end of the fifth was a great addition and don’t overlook Zumwalt’s impact despite the late selection. Blanchflower is a really interesting option at tight end and could be a guy that makes the team.”
Obviously these sort of things are often wrong, but the early reviews are positive. I personally was happy to see the Steelers get younger and faster on the defensive side of the ball.