Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Steelers' Draft Class of 2017

I can't believe that I am going to write a post about the Steelers Draft of 2017.  It seems to fly in the face of all my rantings about the over-hyping that the NFL Draft always receives, but what the hell, here I go (or should I say, "Here we go.."?).  This will not be one of those "How did they do in the Draft?" pieces with letter grades and all that garbage.  I am not qualified to evaluate players in such a manner, but  these are just some quick impressions of my own, and I add the disclaimer that it needs to be pointed out that none of the players drafted by the Steelers  (or any other team for that matter) over the last three days, have played a down in the NFL, and until they do, nothing that they have done up until now means diddly.  If you don't believe me, does the name Limas Sweed ring a bell for you?

Okay, here goes.

The Steelers story that overshadowed all others over the last three days was the selection of RB James Conner of Pitt in the third round.  I do not believe that sentiment played any part in this selection by the Steelers, and that they believe that he can give them what they truly need: quality depth at the position behind LeVeon Bell.   That said, this has to be one of the greatest "Feel-Good" stories in the recent history of Pittsburgh sports, and I can't remember any Steelers draft  pick ever that I want to see make it big with the team than James Conner.

For more on Conner, as if regular readers need such background, check this out from The Grandstander archives:

If familial DNA means anything, you have to love the selection of OLB T.J. Watt of Wisconsin as the team's #1 pick.  If he is as good as older brother J.J., then the Steelers have struck gold, and even if he possesses just a large fraction of J.J.'s talent, it will be a good pick.  What with the flameout that was Jarvis Jones, and with James Harrison approaching Social Security age, the need at the position is certainly there.  Let's hope it works out.

The Steelers selected a quarterback in the fourth round, Josh Dobbs of Tennessee.  It's always fun when they pick a QB.  Can't wait for the "they gotta put Dobbs in there" calls to The Fan when Ben has his first two interception game.  The kid has a degree in aerospace engineering from UT - he actually IS a rocket scientist! - so grasping Todd Hailey's playbook shouldn't be an issue.

The wonderfully named JuJu Smith-Schuster, a WR from USC, was the second round pick.  His selection set off a wonderful peeing contest on Twitter between current wideouts Sammie Coates and Martavis Bryant.  When last seen, Coates was dropping a pass on the first offensive series of the AFC Championship game against the Patriots that could have gone for a TD, and at the very least would have been a long gain for the Steelers.  It may not have changed the eventual outcome of the game, but it sort of set the tone for what was to follow that day.  When Bryant was last seen, well, it's hard to remember that far back, since Bryant spent the 2016 season on what the paper today called his "annual suspension" for the use of banned substances.

In other words, Coates and Bryant should keep their mouths shut, don't you think?

By contrast, Ben Roethlisberger sent a warm welcoming Tweet to Dobbs.  Of course, Dobbs is unlikely to supplant Ben at his position, whereas JuJu has a job for the taking if he can produce as is hoped.

They also drafted two corner backs, another linebacker, and, in a move sure to generate lots of pre-season buzz, a long snapper!

Let's hope all of these guys make it big for the Steelers.  After all, we've all been waiting too long for that seventh Lombardi Trophy to arrive at Heinz Field. 


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