5 Smoldering Questions: Draft Day Edition

steelers_draft_needsby Hombre de Acero

The 2016 NFL Draft is here and the Steelers are poised to make their pick at slot number 25. There will be a lot of sound and fury to pass before Roger Goodell names the Steelers pick, and in the meantime, this corner of Steelers Nation must wrestle with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers draft.

1. The Pittsburgh Steelers top draft needs this year are cornerback, safety and defensive tackle/nose tackle. It’s the Steelers turn to pick. They have a player at each position with an equal grade. Which position gets the pick?

2. If outwards signs are anything to go by, and they may not be, the Steelers don’t seem particularly concerned about their running back depth chart going into the draft. But given that the Steelers have now started into three straight post-season contests having to start their 4th string running back, do you agree with their outward sentiments?

Questions 3 and 4 come with required reading, be forewarned.

3. Last spring, Jim Reineking of NFL.com rated the five worst  NFL draft classes of the last 25 years. In these drafts, you can see how the Steelers did drafting from the worst drafts here. Given that the drafts span the Cowher-Donahoe, Cowher-Colbert, and Tomlin-Colbert eras, what does the Steelers performance in these supposedly “bad drafts” say to you?

4. Not surprisingly, Reineking also ranked the best draft classes of the last 25 years. The Steelers’ performance in these drafts is interesting, but they arguably did better in the previous groups. How do you explain the difference?

5. One of the more interesting questions for the Steelers heading into the 2016 NFL draft is how the team will address or not address the outside linebacker position. Have you seen enough from Jarvis Jones or do you think that outside linebacker should be a priority?

That’s it. Don’t forget to show your work…


  • 1) Corner, but with safety a very close second IFF you can find a safety who could also play CB. The weakness on the outside is so glaring, and it’s time to stop hoping guys who haven’t been able to prove themselves will do so. Well, maybe we should keep hoping, but not bank on it. Safety is the most glaring need.

    2) There are 32 teams out there. The Steelers were damn lucky to have D-Will as a backup to Bell. And two guys behind them who were more that serviceable. If you lose your one and two, there’s not much you can do. I wouldn’t draft an RB until the late rounds, if then.

    3) Those “bad” years were also generally poor years for the Steelers as well. It’s like when you go to the grocery store and you want to buy some tomatoes, but they’re all bruised and mushy. You pass on them, unless you’re making sauce. But even then, it’s not gonna be great sauce for your Sunday Gravy.

    4) Those were great drafts, but the Steelers didn’t exactly grab and Hall of Famers. What this tells me is that the Steelers, a successful team that predictably picks in the second half of the first round, does well year after year by picking good players or getting solid UDFA’s (e.g. Deebo) and having a deeper roster than some of those teams that draft HOFers early but fade later in the season when injuries set in. The fact that the Steelers went as far as they did last year with all the injuries they had is proof of what Homer is telling you.

    5. I’ve seen enough of Jarvis Jones to know that he’s okay and OLB is not as big a priority as other positions. If there’s a chance to get some amazing game changer, go get him. Otherwise, balance BPA and need. And remember, WE NEED ANOTHER PONY THIS YEAR!!!!!


  • Homer, thanks for your response. Agreed on the Steelers addressing the situation with safety/corner.

    Regarding he “Worst Drafts” of the last 25 years, you and I see it quite differently.

    The Steelers did quite well. In 1992 they got Leon Searcy, Levon Kirkland, Joel Steed, and Darren Perry — those are 4 starters and 3 Pro Bowl caliber players. In 2013 (WAY TOO EARLY TO CLASSIFY that as a “worst draft” the Steelers got Le’Veon Bell, Vince Williams, and Markus Wheaton in addition to Jones. In 1999, the Steelers got Joey Porter and Aaron Smith as well as Amos Z. 2002 gave the Steelers Kendall Simmons, Chris Hope, Larry Foote, Antwaan Randle El, Verron Hayes, and Brett Kesiel. I’d argue that the picks made in 2009 were also pretty good, even if the Steelers didn’t benefit from them.

    My conclusion with these drafts is that the Steelers have a good scouting organization. They’re able to do well during bad years because of that, whereas in better years the playing field is more even.


  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    Argh! I didn’t notice this article till today.

    1) answering now isn’t fair because it is a day late.
    2) A late round RB isn’t a bad answer. failing that keep an eye on who gets cut.
    3) I don’t know
    4) I don’t know
    5) There may be things happening with the Steelers core defensive scheme. I suspect they draft a linebacker but not till the later rounds. The same for TE.


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