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Trust the Process: The 2018 Steelers Draft Review

Discussion in 'The Bill Nunn Draft Room' started by AskQuestionsLater, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016
    * Whew....

    Hey Steelers Nation;


    Hello everyone! AskQuestionsLater here again, back again and bringing you my personal review of the 2018 Draft Class by the Black 'n' Gold. Given the level of uncertainty and unusual board structure of this years draft, to say this was the weirdest year evaluating prospects for many would be an understatement. For the team I follow in the Steelers, picking this late usually is never an issue but in a year with so much unusual circumstance, nothing was left to chance. As the cliche goes:

    "Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst."

    Such was the case for me after seeing so many good prospects fall into places I did not even think of. Derwin James to San Diego I did not see coming. Vita Vea to Tampa Bay the same. Perhaps the biggest one was Tremaine Edmunds going to Buffalo. On the flip side, a player like Baker Mayfield being drafted number one overall is fine but having a loose cannon as the face of the franchise did not work out so well. Whatever plans "Gang Green" has for Darnold I hope are good as he has insufficient support. Denzel Ward might as well have been a way of saying "A.B. Proof" as much as possible but Bradley Chubb would have been a far better option. After seeing, in my tenure of watching the NFL Draft, the weirdest of First Rounds play out, in came pick number 28. I was so excited the likes of Jusitn Reid and Jessie Bates III were available and was sure either or would have been picked. Instead;

    "With the 28th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select;

    Terrell Edmunds, Safety from Virgina Tech University."

    Initially speaking, I was a bit suprised. Not shocked but surprised. Now I did have him as a possible wild card option but only in the second round assuming RaShaad Evans fell that far, which he did not. A mutli role safety? In todays NFL, you can never have enough of those. Just as the Minnesota Vikings who boast arguably the best safety tandem in the league; Seattle a close second nowadays. However, after thinking back to what Kevin Colbert stated on March 1st about the linebacking prospects before the NFL Reigonal Combine, I realized something; something that I should have realized during the Pre-Draft Visits and Pro Days. The "Mack" position in the Steelers scheme needs to do everything. I literally mean;


    This is what Colbert was indirectly stating about the linebacking class. In fact, the only linebacker who could have been capable of doing that was Roquan Smith; a top 10 talent. Every one else was insufficient. So, what did Colbert and Tomlin do? Draft an alternative but with far greater degrees of athletic capabilities. Terrell Edmunds is one freakish player even by both safety and hybrid standards. Heck, both Derwin James and Terrell Edmunds have both played five positions for their respective teams of Virgina Tech and Florida State respectively. The difference between the two was consistency; Derwin was more consistent than Terrell. However, while Derwin was the more consistent player, Terrell is the superior athlete; Terrell placing in the 97th percentile while James placed 86th. Given Tomlin's track record of atheltes, Terrell fits the bill. His character and leadership skills are also major needs for this team; communication skills a bonus given the theme of the offseason thus far.

    In short for Terrell, I really like this pick. He has the versatility to be lined up anywhere with the range and explosive capabilities to match. Sure, he is very young and still needs to train his instincts but his athleticism, football IQ and leadership are way too difficult to ignore.

    Heading into pick number 60 on Day two, Pittsburgh elected to trade Martavis Bryant earlier in the Day One process for pick number 79 in Round Three. This would have far greater implications down the road. However, before we continue onwards towards said path, let us discuss the plan to replace Martavis Bryant. Given the fact that Bryant was subsequently traded a day before, the need for a deep threat Wide Receiver became that much more obvious for the fanbase in Round Two. Not just any deep threat though but one that would not be so easy to bring down. James is not only fast but built like a running back; very strong after the catch as well. His strong hands and strong body allow him to be very difficult and could potentially open up than just him being more than a deep ball threat. Someone like Anthony Miller would have nice to have or even D.J. Chark but Washington is still no consalidation prize; winner of the Fred Biletnikoff award. He also has the benefit of teaming up with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Addition by subtraction; Pittsburgh ships off Martavis to acquire draft capital while still obtaining a deep threat with the pedigree to match.

    Considering we have two third round options, I think it is best to get the worst of the two out of the way but provide context for the pick as well. Both Gilbert and Villanueva are still under contract but both are getting up there in age; Gilbert's ongoing injury history being equally detrimental notwithstanding. That being said, Jerald Hawkins was already the swing tackle... or is he? Given the fact that Jerald, whom I was very high on, has not showcased much in his limited time to garner the trust of either Colbert or Tomlin, Chukwuma Okorafor had to be picked due to such circumstances; Chris Hubbard departing from Pittsburgh also being a major factor. Sure, Chukwuma still has some ways to go technquie wise but he is already there from the NFL's athletic point of view as he does possess quality starter traits. Mike Munchak has been able to turn around the likes of B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler and even Alejandro Villanueva himself, Chukwuma appears to not only be the swing tackle of today but possible starting tackle, left or right, of the future.

    Speaking of the future, that brings me to the first of the two Round Three picks; trading up with Seattle to acquire him no less. Big Ben has brought us some wonderful and abysmal moments during his "Springtime of Youth". However, Spring can only last so long as we now approach the Winter aspects of his career. Given the fact our time with Big Ben is short, let us celebrate and chreish the remaining time he has left with us but also look towards a new form of Spring. That "Spring" is in the form of Mason Rudolph; a Big XII Quarterback who showcases traits that the last one selected in PIttsburgh did not in Landry Jones. Mason not only has the quality NFL arm talent a team looks for but also the character traits and most importantly, the leadership needed to galvanize a team even when all hope seems lost. Much like the number one pick in Bayker Mayfield, the big moments do not faze him as he was called upon to come up in big games at Oklahoma State University. His time is not here yet but, even for a little, seeing him play in the preseason is going to be fun to watch. Best of all, he will have his old college teammate in James Washington along for the ride. Pondering about this shortly after the selection yesterday and realizing that Antonio Brown will be the big 3-0 in July, should both Brown and Ben elect to hang them up sooner than later, they have worthy heirs to pass their teachings to and the Steelers will remain a competitive team. So remember everyone, remember this about Okorafor, Rudolph and Washington;


    Heading into the Fifth Round with two picks yet again, the Steelers needed more Safety depth. They received another late round steal in Marcus Allen; yet another hybrid player who can fill a void while be servicable as another linebacker should he need to be. Yes, he is limited laterally and range based on his role as a overall safety but as a box safety/linebacking role, he can maximize his potential there; Tight Ends, Running Backs on quick out routes or acting as a Quarterback Spy being one of his many uses. Some fans believe a linebacker would have been much better but again, the Mack position requires a player to do many different things other than just merely have speed; none of the Fifth Round options being able to assist this to begin with. Marcus Allen adds not only depth but another option for Pittsburgh to run the dime defense more consistently; Tom Bradley obtaining more gold in his treasure chest no less.

    For the second of the two picks, Jaylen Samuels seems to be somewhat of an indirect precursor towards life without Le'Veon Bell. As I still do see James Conner succeeding Bell when that time comes, until that time comes, Bell is still the guy. When that time comes though, Samuels will likely be with Conner to feature a Running Back by commitee approach; Conner exclusively for running and pass protection while Samuels can be a receiving based option. Now, that being said, he could still see the field as beating out the likes of Steven Ridley or Fitzgerald Toussiant should not be too much of an issue. Jaylen is essentially a Half-Back but can create big plays depending on where he is lined up. He has the speed to be a receiver yet the power to be a running back. He can block as a fullback but we already have a rock solid one in Roosevelt Nix so no need there. As I see it, both Allen and Samuels are much like Washington, Rudolph and Okorafor but a lesser extent as both will be depth players or, in Samuels case, likely in a commitee.

    For the final selection, much like in 2016, this one was my personal favorite of the draft. Loved this pick a lot more than even nabbing Mason Rudolph.

    *** General TheSteelersFans reaction ***




    Now I know, I know. An interior defensive lineman should not be something that many should be excited over. Within the same vein, some of those very same people also have clamoured for a throwback Nose Tackle and one that would actually function more effectively than the "Shade Tree" on the team. That answer comes in the form of Joshua Frazier; a player whom I believe has his best football ahead of him as a Nose Tackle. Being on the Alabama defensive line generally equates to two possibilities;

    1.) Feast upon the weak


    2.) Be feasted among your own

    Sadly, for the first three years, Frazier did not have a choice. It was not until his Senior Season that he showcased glimpses of his talent and potential; a key reason why Alabama won against the likes of Georgia in the BCS Title game. Considering he really does not have as much wear and tear as his teammates Da'ron Payne and De'Shawn Hand, Fraizer will likely not be better than either but just may yield as big an impact as both in his limitied role. Having 35 inch vines on an nearly 80 inch wingspan as a Nose Tackle is something not many interior offensive lineman expect. Add his natural strength and he really is not being moved from his spot on running plays as he has the natural leverage and strength to stay put. Granted, he will be only limited and does need some more techniques to round out his game but I believe Frazier will be generating a bigger impact than most will give him credit for when he beats out Daniel McCullers.

    All in all, I not only liked the Steelers draft haul but liked the fact that Karl Dunbar, Tom Bradley and Randy Fitchtner all received plenty of new tools to create a better foundation for the Black 'n' Gold. Now that the materials and tools are in hand, it is time for Pittsburgh's newest architects to get to work and construct a wonderful structure that will be just as durable and yield the same level of longevity as the previous one.

    Once again everyone, thank you for reading and I hoped you enjoyed! This is the first of two parts I have for today. Part two will be coming up in a bit but my stomach is in dire need of some nourishment. Please feel free to let me know what your thought were on the draft as it really does help me out! :)

    Until later everyone, please take care and I will be seeing you again soon!

    • Like Like x 1
  2. Blitz

    Blitz Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2016
    Honestly this is the point of veiw I needed to take. I am more optimistic about this draft than the day of. I am still very much in the "show me" mindset but who is not? At least, with some time to mull over the picks and with some quality "glass half full" analysis by yourself, the picks make some sense to me.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. TheMatrixHasYou

    TheMatrixHasYou Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2018
    If you define your mack linebacker so critically then only top 10 guys are going to fit and we don't pick in the top 10. Also, that makes no sense because the guys we have filling the mack role aren't really great athletes, Williams and Matakevich are very slow, Bostic might have some speed but nothing like Shazier. They passed on a lot of 4.60 ILB's.

    If the idea is to use S Terrell Edmunds as a linebacker, fine, I don't have a problem with it but they could have traded down and still gotten him. Everyone knows that except the Steelers.

    WR Washington I'm fine with, he's a good player and fills a need and he was worth that pick.

    QB Mason Rudolph was not on my radar until he slid to the 3rd round and then I was yelling at the television set to get him. We'll see what happens but he was a value pick.

    As for Okorafor, well, he has size and length, but really bad tape and that's not good.

    S Marcus Allen is a tough one, some people love him and some hate him. I think he was good value where we got him though.

    RB/WR Jaylen Samuels was another surprise. Seems to have played more WR than RB in college so he could actually be our 4th WR.

    DT Joshua Frazier has horrible stats but it's a 7th so I can't really complain too much, but his stats are bad, I mean, really bad. My pregnant grandma can probably make 15 tackles in a year.
  4. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016


    Intriguing criticisms. I will do my best for each one.

    1.) The "Mack" position is not critical here. The issue for Kevin Colbert was attempting to replace Ryan Shazier with a linebacker who has "Mack" capabilities. Roquan Smith was the only one who could and Pittsburgh is not going to mortgage the future for one player regardless of need.

    That being said, simply having Terrell Edmunds as a mere "Mack" does not constitute why he is a First Round Pick. Terrell is a First Round Pick because he and Derwin James are the only two safeties who have been showcased to play five different positions. Tomlin and Butler both have far more in store than one believes.

    2.) Okorafor, Allen and Samuels are not just solid depth options but pieces to the puzzle; Okorafor especially. Unlike Jerald Hawkins coming out, when Okorafor flashes on tape, he is a very good starting tackle. His issues lie in consistency. Mike Munchak is there to assist him with that; a non issue as a result as I see it. In addition, with Marcus Gilbert being unavailalbe more often than he should, it is likely that Okorafor could see time in his rookie season as he is set to compete against Hawkins for the swing tackle role.

    3.) As comical as you may find your statement upon Joshua Frazier, bear in mind that Nose Tackles are not what they once were. Within that same token, Nose Tackles of Frazier's leverage, power, length, age and upside are gems. Given the fact that, heading into the draft that the Steelers wanted to "toughen up" on the Run Defense, Joshua Frazier is a very good place to start as it does all start up front. As I said, Alabama is notorious for having essentially a pipeline that leads to another pipeline of NFL worthy talent along their defensive line. Joshua Frazier would have started for any other team but the likes of 'bama. Joshua received his chance in his final season and, to me, I see a player who is an immovable object at the point of attack and can maintain the point of attack as well; both key points of emphasis after Jacksonville steam-rolled us in the playoffs.

    Considering this draft was meant to assist us to compete now and lay the groundwork for the future, I would state Colbert has pulled off yet another impressive haul of talented players.

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