Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Recap/Grade – 2018
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Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Picks (2018)
Key Positional Needs Entering Draft
- Offensive Line
The Pittsburgh Steelers playoff loss to the Jaguars exposed the team’s need for more help on the second and third level of their defense. The loss of Ryan Shazier loomed big as the Steelers missed the leader in the middle of their defense. Fast forward to the 2018 NFL Draft and all the talk was selecting a middle linebacker or a versatile safety to pair with Sean Davis. The Steelers stuck with their game plan selecting Terrell Edmunds, an athletic safety that closes quickly to ball carriers and is at his best near the line of scrimmage. The value may not have been the best as he was projected to be a day 2 prospect but he fills a need for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the 2nd and 3rd round, the Steelers drafted the productive Oklahoma State duo James Washington and Mason Rudolph. Washington replaces Martavis Bryant who was traded to the Oakland Raiders, while Rudolph will be groomed to be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. “Chuks” Okorafor is a raw offensive tackle that gives the Steelers more depth along the offensive line. Marcus Allen and Jaylen Samuels are two prospects I liked coming into the draft. Although Allen was one of my most underrated safeties in the draft class, the pick was puzzling as the Steelers already drafted a safety in the first round and had more pressing needs. Samuels is a Swiss Army knife that may eventually earn a role in passing situations.
Honestly, I am not in love with any one pick in this draft class, but my favorite pick was the selection of James Washington. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense lives for the big play as they like to wear you down with Le’Veon Bell and then hit you over the top with a plethora of weapons. Washington was one of the most productive big play receivers in college last year averaging 20.9 yards per catch as he utilizes his strong hands and concentration deep down the field. This is a perfect landing spot for Washington playing alongside the best wideout doing it Antonio Brown and last year’s rookie standout JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Fantasy Football Implications
We all know Le’Veon does Le’Veon and AB does AB but they’re other players to target in your fantasy drafts. Smith-Schuster is a riser that has the potential to flirt with WR2 numbers while Washington is a sleeper that can have an instant impact in the Steelers high flying offense. The aging Roethlisberger is also a guy you should target in the mid-rounds of your draft as you can expect around 4,200 yards and 30 touchdowns.