Okay, I know that you all have been waiting for this, so here is my post-draft analysis on how the Steelers fared in the just completed 2018 Draft:
No one - not Mike Tomlin, not Kevin Colbert, not any ex-jock talking head at ESPN, no talk-jock on 93.7 The Fan, and certainly not me - will be able to answer that question until, say, midway through the 2020 season. So enough with the analysis.
However, here are some thoughts....
- Despite how all the Mel Kipers and Peter Kings of the world said that the Steelers absolutely, positively HAD to draft an inside linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier, the Steelers ended up drafting two safeties, a wide receiver, a tight end, an offensive tackle, a defensive tackle, and a quarterback (more on him in a moment). No linebacker, which is why the "experts" are telling us how the Steelers "blew it". Don't know about you, but I'm putting my money on Tomlin and Colbert before I put it on Mel Kiper Jr.
- This will the Draft class forever identified, for better or worse, as the "Terrell Edmunds Draft".
- You certainly like Edmunds', a safety, credentials. And his size and speed. Let's hope he can deliver the goods for the Steelers.
- The Steelers also took another safety, Marcus Allen of Penn State, in a later round. Does this mean a lack of faith in third year safety Sean Davis? Or will either Edmunds or Allen become more of a quasi-linebacker in the Steelers defense?
- Any draft class is always made all the more intriguing when a quarterback is selected, which the Steelers did when they picked Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State in the third round.
- If you follow Pitt football, you certainly know about Rudolph, who positively torched Pitt in each of the last two seasons, both lopsided wins for the Cowboys. Hey, I am no expert when it comes to evaluating pro football talent, but I know what I saw in those two games Rudolph played against Pitt, and he was devastating. Does this translate into a successful NFL career? Who knows, but I like the pick. It seems that in Rudolph, the Steelers are looking at the guy to groom to be Ben Roethlisberger's replacement two or three years down the pike.
- One round earlier, the Steelers also selected Rudolph's battery mate at OK State, WR James Washington, who also tortured Pitt in the last two seasons. Washington looks to be first in line to replace Martavis Bryant, the talented but knuckle-headed receiver whom they traded to Oakland on Thursday.
- When the draft was completed, the Steelers announced the signing of a bunch of undrafted free agents. Only one of these names was familiar to me, and it was an intriguing one: Quadree Henderson, WR, University of Pittsburgh. He will no doubt be deep on the depth chart when the Steelers convene in Latrobe in July, but Henderson gave the Panthers many, many electrifying moments as both a receiver and, primarily, as a kick returner over the past three seasons. How he might fair as a return man for the Steelers might give you a reason to watch the exhibition games come August.
So, let's hope that this draft yields more Antonio Browns and David DeCastros than it does Jarvis Joneses and Huey Richardsons. No one will know until they get them out on the practice fields.
Oh, and how can we leave this topic without highlighting the Feel Good Moment of the Draft for Steelers fans - Ryan Shazier walking on stage to announce the Steelers first selection.