At 6’3” and weighing in at 215 pounds Allen represents the larger cornerback that the Steelers used to seek for their defense.
However, Brian Allen is a converted wide out who only has two years under his belt at corner, and one year as a starter. That college track record mirrors that of 1st round pick T.J. Watt, but unlike Watt, Allen’s combine times however were a little wanting.
Steelers 5th round pick Brian Allen intercepts a pass for Utah. Photo Credit: via USA Today’s SteelersWire.com
Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake didn’t address Allen’s measurable but did suggest “I think with some more games under his belt, he probably would’ve been drafted a lot higher.”
If that sounds familiar, it should. After the Steelers drafted Shamarko Thomas in 2013 and Senquez Golson in 2015 Carnell Lake suggested that had both men been two inches taller they’d have been 1st round picks.
Welcome to 2017 ladies and gentleman, where even 6th round picks have their own highlight reels prepared for them.
Raise your hand if you felt that, given Ben Roethlisberger’s sentiments towards retirement, you felt that ALL of the Steelers 2017 draft capital should be devoted giving ben the weapons and players need to bring home one last Lombardi before Big Ben begins his “Life’s Work.” (Mine is STILL raised.)
If you’re hand has been raised, then you’ve likely got a lot of company in Steelers Nation.
But you know what? All of us should have known this was coming back in January. Why argue that? Look no further than to the words of Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II who declared, “We haven’t drafted a quarterback for several years now, so we’re probably due to look at the position.”
While the Steelers President didn’t quite commit to anything, there’s also not a lot of ambiguity in Art II’s words.
As Observer-Reporter scribe Dale Lolley put those words into context for his readers, offering, “The Steelers will likely take a shot at a quarterback in the middle rounds of this year’s draft, much like they did with Jones a few years ago.”
Which is exactly what happened.
Let’s be clear, given the Steelers needs at inside linebacker and tight end, Steel Curtain Rising isn’t on board with using a 4th round pick on a quarterback.
But, as we’ve admitted more than once in recent days, there’s a reason why Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are drafting players, and yours truly is blogging. After the Steelers disastrous 2008 NFL Draft, the one player that this site took issue with was the pick of Dennis Dixon.
And while it’s true that Dennis Dixon never developed into the replacement quarterback for Charlie Batch, he did compile a 2-1 record as a starter, which isn’t bad for a 5th round pick.
Reviewing the Steelers Pick of Josh Dobbs on Its Merits
Necessary or not, Josh Dobbs is now a Pittsburgh Steeler. Dobbs brings the Steelers a 22-13 record, and combines strong arm strength with excellent mobility and an ability to throw well under pressure. While at Tennessee, Dobbs also earned a degree in Astrospace Engineering, which is not something you see every day in the NFL.
As Dobbs highlight reel reveals, excellent football players can indeed by smart:
When asked why he’s subjecting his body (and potentially his mind) to the rigors of playing football, Dobbs offered this:
I love the game of football. I have loved it since I played it when I was five. My mom signed me up at five years old, when we were running around in helmets bigger than your body. Football is all I know. Going to college, I could have played football or baseball, but I chose football because that was the sport I couldn’t see myself not playing. I love the game. I give it all, every time I step onto the field. It’s great to have a backup plan for 15 years down the road when I can’t play football. But until that day, I am giving it all to the sport I love.
When ask for his take on the Steelers 2017 fourth round selection Neal Coolong, Founder of NFL Wire Network which is part of USA Today Digital Properties, provided this evaluation:
Joshua Dobbs is a nice prospect. I see more in him than I did or do Landry Jones. Brings a nice athletic element. Forces competition for Landry Jones’s job next year, the final year of his contract, and they’d have him cheap for two years after that. While I can’t say overall I’m thrilled with the position they selected, I don’t mind Dobbs in the fourth.
So be it. Like it or not, the Steelers made Joshua Dobbs their 4th round pick. As noted a year ago when evaluating Kevin Colbert’s history with 4th round draft picks, the 4th round represents the balance point of the draft.
The close of day two of the 2017 NFL Draft saw the Steelers draft James Conner running back from Pitt with their third round compensatory selection.
Fans will remember that the Steelers made a similar move with their 3rd round compensatory selection in the 2014 NFL Draft when they took Dri Archer.
Dir Archer turned out to be a veritable head case, but the Steelers can rest assured that James Conner won’t follow in his footsteps. It remains to be seen if Conner can deliver in the NFL, but the man’s character and work ethic are above reproach, as he bounced back from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015 to lead the Pitt Panthers rushing for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016.
Steelers 3rd round draft pick James Conner rushed for 3,733 yards and 52 TD’s at Pitt. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire, USA Today
Steelers running backs coach James Saxon insisted that Conner wasn’t a sentimental or character pick and James Connor’s highlight reel from Pitt backs him up:
Hearing his name called by the Pittsburgh Steelers is a dream come true for Connor, who in addition to being a standout for Pitt, is an Erie native who played at McDowell High School.
James Connor will provide an immediate boost to a running back depth chart that has struggled to keep two starting caliber running backs healthy since the 2011 season. Le’Veon Bell will remain the uncontested starter, but after Bell the Steelers only have Fitzgerald Toussaint and Knile Davis behind him, a duo whose collective yards-per-carry average is 3.15.
James Conner described getting drafted by his hometown team as:
It’s a dream come true. I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the opportunity after everything I’ve been through. I know a lot of teams were scared, but they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and they are going to get a great person and a great football player, and I’ll give it my all for them.
The Steelers were expected to go for a running back early in the 2017 NFL Draft and Conner’s third round selection all but confirms what has been obvious for a while, DeAngelo Williams is not in Pittsburgh’s plans for 2017.
By drafting James Conner on the third round the Steelers revived what had once been a robust franchise tradition: Giving Pitt Panthers the possibility to play in the NFL.
The Steelers have drafted over 46 players from the University of Pittsburgh, but have not taken a Panther in the NFL Draft since choosing Hank Poteat in the 2000 NFL Draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Cam Sutton in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, adding the cornerback from Tennessee to a secondary desperate need of depth at corner.
Cornerback has been at the top of the Steelers Draft Needs Matrix seemingly every season since the Steelers loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Slow development and salary cap miscalculations (see letting Keenan Lewis walk in favor of counting on Cortez Allen) attempts to get by with waiver wire pickups (see Antwon Blake), late draft picks (see Trent Hawthorne) and just plain bad luck (Senquez Golson) have created this seemingly chronic need at cornerback.
According to Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake, Cam Sutton brings Pittsburgh:
Cameron is a press corner and plays close to the line of scrimmage but can also play off. He does a good job of mirroring the receiver. He stays close, and that shows in his productivity as a corner for Tennessee over the years in his career. He has led his team and is the all-time leader in passes defensed for Tennessee. He knows how to cover, he stays close, and that is something that we’ve been looking for in the draft. In the third round, he was available and that’s why we took him.
Cam Sutton stands at 5-11 1/4, weighs 188 pounds, but has short 30-inch arms and a 4.52 40 time, which explains why he stayed on the bard so long. At the NFL Combine he only benched only 11 times but did post Combine workouts saw him post decent numbers in the vertical jump (34), broad jump (10-0) and 3-cone (6.81). His shuttle time of 4.23 is acceptable.
Here is what his highlight tape tells us:
As you can see, he also has experience returning punts, so perhaps the Steelers can finally send someone other than Antonio Brown out there.
Cam Sutton brings the Steelers a wealth of experience, having started for four straight seasons for the Tennessee Volunteers, playing as their team captain during his senior year. Leadership is another asset which he can potentially bring to the Steelers secondary, as indicated by his response to the question of whether he sees himself as a coach on the field:
Most definitely. I was voted captain my senior year, but that leadership role is something I embraced over time in my four years in college. Usually when I first start off in a new area or team, I kind of want to sit back and observe the guys that are around me and kind of get a feel for the personalities. But I am a guy that seeks out those guys, and I have a different way of talking to people. Not every player you’re able to talk to the same way. I’m able to decipher those guys. Some you can harp on, some you have to pull to the side. I’m able to do that. Whatever gets the guys going the right direction helps us all be successful.
By picking Cam Sutton in the third round the Steelers have set themselves up for a traning camp competition at cornerback. Artie Burn and Ross Cockrell will open camp as starters, with William Gay probably penciled in as their slot corner, assuming the Steelers do not move Gay to safety.
Sutton will have a shot to compete with Senquez Golson and Coty Sensabaugh for right to challenge Gay for the nickleback position.
Day two of the 2017 NFL Draft saw the Steelers draft JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round, and Pittsburgh’s pick of the USC wide receiver helps prove that reality does really unfold at its own pace in the draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a cornerback (or a safety) and figured to get one after several prime candidates were left on the board following their pick of TJ Watt in the 1st round. However, no less than one dozen defensive backs were taken, or just under half of the 2nd round selections to that point, before the Steelers turn to pick at the 30th slot.
Steelers 2nd round draft pick Juju Smith-Schuster in action for USC. Photo Credit: AP, via PennLive.com
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley explained the Pittsburgh’s pick of Smith-Schuster in the following terms:
He is a good-sized receiver. He was very productive out there at USC. He is a really do-it-all guy. He can play inside, outside. If you had to say what he excelled at, I’d say his ability to catch the ball in combative situations, 50/50 balls as we call them, and he usually comes down with them. He’s a really exciting guy and we are excited to get him here to work on.
As Steel City Insider’sJim Wexell detailed, as soon as reporters started asking Todd Haley if the Steelers picking JuJu Smith-Schuster amounted to an insurance policy on Bryant and Coates, Haley refuted the question, and then the Steelers PR team promptly terminated the interview….
Looking at his highlight reel, there’s reason to conclude that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert did draft on his own merits:
Highlight reels can be deceiving, but JuJu Smith-Schuster stands at 6-1 1/2, weighs in at 215-pounder and brings the Steelers 4.54 speed after catching 70 passes for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the USC Trojans.
Following the pick, Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates exchanged pleasantries on Twitter as to whose roster spot the Steelers may have jeopardized by the exchange. Mike Tomlin’s response was clear:
Clearly the Steelers can carry Brown, Bryant, Coates, Smith-Schuster or their roster, with room for 1 or 2 more wide outs, but it is also safe to say that every Steelers wide receiver not named “Brown” should be looking over his shoulder.
Competition brings out the best in athletes, so with that we say “Welcome to Steelers Nation” to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
While it took an inordinate amount of time, especially for those of us who live 1 hour ahead of Eastern time, but Pittsburgh got its man in the 2017 NFL Draft as the 30th pick saw the Steelers draft T.J. Watt, Outside Linebacker out of Wisconsin.
T.J. Watt is of course the younger brother of the Houston Texan’s JJ Watt.
Mike Tomlin, with T.J. Watt and Art Rooney II
When asked about coming to Pittsburgh Watt offered this:
The Steelers are a hardworking organization that does it the right way. They have a great bond within the locker room and with the coaches as well. I am really looking forward to it. It’s a great fit for me. It will be a great transition coming from Wisconsin to here and that is why I am so excited.
Based on TJ Watt’s highlights from his junior year at Wisconsin, the Steelers are excited too.
You can be forgiven if you conclude that T.J. Watt brings an extensive resume to Pittsburgh. He doesn’t. After sitting out his Red Shirt Freshman year at tight end, he moved to defense, and then had difficulty making the transition to defense, only playing 8 games as a sophomore.
However, his junior year was impressive, as he recorded 11 sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, and made 63 tackles with one interception.
However, that experience didn’t deter the Steelers as Mike Tomlin explained:
T.J. is a rock solid young man who has a lot of upside. He doesn’t have a lot of experience at the position, but at the same time we saw some things that were exciting to us. His hand usage in particular for a guy with his short resume at the position was exciting. His production speaks for itself. He’s just a quality guy and a quality pick for us.
Although several names mocked to the Steelers were gone by the time they picked 30th, In picking Watt, the Steelers passed on an number of cornerbacks who will probably no longer be there late in the second round.
Is T.J. Watt the “Unicorn” OLB the Steelers have Been Seeking?
While outside linebacker, or “Edge Rusher” was seen as a major Steelers need heading into the draft, a strong sentiment existed that favored the Steelers drafting secondary first (pun intended), given edge rushers are not as effective against quick release quarterbacks.
This is nothing new.
Prior to the Steelers picking Cameron Heyward with their first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Tim Gleason, aka “Mary Rose” from Behind the Steel Curtain lobbied for the Steelers to take a cornerback, arguing that “Tom Brady will get rid of the ball before Cameron Heyward can even touch him.”
What has changed, however, is that the Steelers play in their base 3-4 defense less and less frequently.
That has led some writers, such as Steel City Insider’sJim Wexell, to suggest that the Steelers abandon their search for a quality 3-4 linebacker, who can rush the passer, set the edge against the run, AND drop into coverage and focus on getting a player who more closely matches a 4-3 defensive end.
However, a few days before the draft, Wexell’s colleague at Steel City Insider, Matt C. Steel rated T.J. Watt as 3rd best overall fit for the Steelers in the draft explaining:
This guy might be the unicorn they’re looking for at outside linebacker. Watt still has the frame to put on another 10-15 pounds, and with only one year of playing defense, his upside is tremendous. The knee injuries prevent me from putting him first on this list, but I’m hearing the Lions, Cowboys, and Packers are all showing heavy interest, so I’d be surprised if he makes it to pick 30.
That’s something I’ve been doing at Wisconin [sic] these past two years and I think that’s why I translate so well to the (Steelers) defense. I’ve shown on film I can play a 3-technique if I really have to. I can set the edge really good, and I can get after the passer. I think that’s ultimately what makes a really good football player and I think having great players around me is what’s going to make us a great team.
And so it is. Four years ago the Steelers went down this route in their first attempt to replace James Harrison when they drafted Jarvisy Jones with the 13th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. As we know, the Jarvis Jones experiment failed miserably.
Jarvis Jones had a great college track record, but poor mesaurables.
In contrast, T.J. Watt seems has measurables but not a lot of college production. So the Steelers are taking the opposite tact in trying to replace a man who is irreplaceable. Let’s hope they have better luck.
Well, well well, the big day is here! Per the clock on Steelers.com in just 10:27: 34 the 2017 NFL Draft will finally kick off (and lucky you, by the time you read this, it will even be closer)!
Since the final gun of Super Bowl LI, Steelers Nation has enjoyed?/experienced?/endured? Hundreds of hours of Mike Maycock and Mel Kipper Jr. clips, read dozens of mock drafts and perhaps even debated “grades” some scribes give to the Steelers performance in so-and-so’s latest mock.
Now all that’s left is, well, to pick the players and then bring them to St. Vincents to separate the Sidney Thornton’s from the Sean Davis‘s.
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert hold their pre-Draft press conference. Photo Credit: Steelers.com
OK, with that bit of cynicism about the excess hype that envelops the NFL Draft out of the way, let’s acknowledge that championships are built and lost on draft day.
And for those of you who’re dying to know this sites prediction for the Steelers first round draft pick, staff writer Tony Defeo is predicting it will be Kevin King, the 6’3″ cornerback out of Washington.
And, as we noted when the Steelers 2016 draft class was complete, Pittsburgh is now at a point where the success or failure on draft day will determine whether Ben Roethlisberger can bring home Lombardi Number Seven.
With the urgent of the 2017 NFL Draft in mind, Steel Curtain Rising has taken stock of the needs presented by each area of the Steelers Depth Chart.
Similar to past years, the Steelers draft needs are very tired, with some fairly high urgency needs to fill up top, very little in the middle, and a lot down at the bottom.
How to distinguish between them? Well, that’s where our Steelers 2017 Draft Needs Matrix comes into play.
Steelers 2017 Draft Needs Matrix
The purpose of the Steelers Draft Needs Matrix is to give a baseline between the Steelers areas of need should two players with the same grade become available at the same time.
How did we arrive at this ranking? Fair question. To be honest, the Steelers needs for an outside linebacker or an “Edge Rusher” should he come in the form of a defensive end and a cornerback are both very high.
But both Burns and Cockrell can be expected to start 16 games; James Harrison can’t.
However, anyone who would insist that Cornerback should take priority over Outside Linebacker or “Edge Rusher” wouldn’t get much of an argument for me, the Steelers need to boost their secondary as the AFC Championship so painfully illustrated.
And if Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II have the feeling that the next Dan Marino has dropped to them at 30, then by all means they should take him. But the reality is that isn’t going to happen, and the Steelers aren’t going to find the next Tom Brady in some later round. Given that, its best to focus on giving Ben the players he needs to win Lombardi Number Seven before he begins his “Life’s Work.”
Up until a few days ago, Steel Curtain Rising would have rated wide receiver as a higher need than running back, but Martavis Bryant‘s reinstatement changes that calculation ever so slightly. The Steelers would still be wise to add another reciever to help take heat off of Antonio Brown, but it would be wiser to invest a pick in ensuring they don’t start another playoff game with Fitzgerald Toussaint as Le’Veon Bell‘s top backup.
As always, let’s close comments about our Steelers 2017 Draft Needs Matrix with a caveat.
This chart is in no way meant to suggest the Steelers should draft for need. Quite the contrary. When you draft for need Troy Edwards (and perhaps Jarvis Jones) happen.
Clearly, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert knew what they were doing.
Let’s hope that three years from now we can say the same thing about the decision the Steelers brain trust makes tonight. Until then let’s celebrate evening that will allow a select few young men to enjoy the movement they’ve dreamed of since they were old enough to hold a nerf football.
The NFL gave the Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 offense a potential octane boost by conditionally reinstating Martavis Bryant who’d sat out the 2016 season serving a suspension for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policies.
While the Steelers January 2016 AFC Divisional Playoff loss to Denver certainly disappointed, Martavis Bryant had been a clear bright spot for Pittsburgh, and Steelers fans were left salivating at the prospect of a Death Star-like offensive attack for 2016.
Unfortunately, rebel spies sabotaged those plans before they even got started through a torrent of injuries and suspensions.
Martavis Bryant’s return can change all of that in a hurry. But this comes with a catch….
Martavis Bryant transforms a simple kill the clock possession pass into an 88 yard touchdown vs. the Cardinals. Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
Martavis Bryant’s Impact IF He Stays Clean
It says here that a healthy Martavis Bryant boosts the Steelers 2017 offense more than Ladarius Green and/or Sammie Coates can. Sammie Coates and Ladarius Green have flashed potential as field flippers – Martavis Bryant is a game flipper.
But of course, for Martavis Bryant must stay clean if he’s to make game-changing plays for the Steelers.
And that of course has been an issue in the past. We now know why Martavis Bryant was drafted in the 4th round and why Mike Tomlin kept him on the bench for the first part of his rookie season. Yet he continued to violate the NFL’s substance abuse policies and sat out the first four weeks of 2015.
After that, Martavis Bryant said all of the right things both publicly and to his teammates, including apparently lying to Ben Roethlisberger about his continued use of marijuana.
Now comes the obligatory acknowledgement about how both social and, in some states at least, legal attitudes towards marijuana are quickly changing. Perhaps in a decade or so images of players taking hits from bongs won’t be seen any differently than pictures of John Stallworth or Dwight White smoking cigarettes were in the 70’s.
Let’s chuck in another obligatory acknowledgement that the NFL is guilty of some real hypocrisy regarding his marijuana polices and its free use of painkillers.
Fair enough. As political discussions are verboten here on Steel Curtain Rising, we’ll leave it to others to debate the pro’s and con’s of de-criminalizing, legalizing and/or normalizing pot usage.
But that discussion is also irrelevant for two reasons:
Agree or disagree with the laws and league rules or not, both still remain in force.
Martavis Bryant clearly has a substance abuse issue with marijuana
If there is a substance your employer has forbidden you to use, whether it is marijuana, celery salt, or Dapper Dan’s pomade, and, knowing you can lose your job if you don’t stop, you use it anyhow, you are an addict.
The interesting thing is that Rebecca made that observation in October 2015, right after Bryant’s first suspension ended. In commenting about Le’Veon Bell’s claim to have given up pot Steel City Insider’sJim Wexell observed:
I believed him then because I’ve detected a change in him.
Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, “What do you know about that subject?” But I sense a crispness (as opposed to a crispiness) in Bell that I hadn’t before, and I remember thinking how dopey he was when I interviewed him at his NFL Combine out of college.
No, this guy is sharp. Martavis Bryant? I don’t know if that guy can ever become sharp, but I hadn’t detected any change in him, at least like I did in Bell.
Breaking the cycle of addition is difficult. If you don’t have experience with it yourself, you’ve certainly crossed paths with someone who struggled to quit smoking or quit drinking or even to give up coffee.
The NFL wouldn’t have reinstated Martavis Bryant had he not show progress in his struggle.
Let’s hope he continues to come out on the winning side for the sake of Martavis Bryant’s physical and mental well-being in and of itself. And by the way, if Martavis Bryant remains physical and mental health remains strong, big things can happen in Pittsburgh in 2017.
Safety is yet another area on the Steelers depth chart where Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have put extended efforts towards renewing. For eight years, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark held down the Steelers two starting safety roles giving Pittsburgh one of the NFL’s best tandems.
A groin injury, and a lack of familiarity with Polamalu’s free-wheeling style, limited Mike Mitchell’s effectiveness in 2014, but he came back with a vengeance in 2015, coming down with 3 clutch 4th quarter interceptions while laying in the wood with welcome regularity.
Starting opposite Mike Mitchell is 2016’s 2nd round pick Sean Davis, who came to Pittsburgh from the University of Maryland. On September 12th, playing just a few miles from Byrd Stadium, Sean Davis became the first rookie defensive back to start a season opener since fellow Terrapin Chad Scott had done so in the 1997 opening day thumping the suffered at Three Rivers Stadium by the Steelers at the hands of the Cowboys.
By mid-season Sean Davis was making the kind of plays that made you wonder why he wasn’t a 1st round pick.
On paper, Robert Golden would appear to be the “Next man up” on the Steelers depth chart at safety, as he has the most experience and split time with Sean Davis early in 2016. But by the end of the season, Jordan Dangerfield and found his way into various sub-packages and is even listed by the Steelers as having started 2 games.
Depending on how things play out, a third name could find himself on the Steelers depth chart at safety. William Gay is losing a step at cornerback, but rumor has it the team may consider a move to safety, which would suit his ball hawking abilities.
The Steelers also have Jacob Hagen under contract at safety.
Steelers 2017 Draft Need at Safety
It took time, it took a little trial and error, and it took a little bit of patience, but the Steelers have renewed their depth chart at safety almost completely Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu played their final game together in 2013.
The plan to turn things over to Shamarko Thomas never came to fruition and the Steelers certainly relied longer than they had planned to, but that page is now turned.
Like any NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers need as many good safeties as they can find, but right now the Steelers have two quality starters and two serviceable backups. If William Gay does move to safety, he’ll provide an immediate talent boost to the lower part of the depth chart.
But taking all of the variables into account, the Steelers 2017 draft need at safety must be considered Moderate-Low.
Entering the 2017 NFL Draft, it is no secret the Steelers are looking to add an edge rushing outside linebacker to their team, the only question is how soon will they do it.
James Harrison and Bud Dupree at Steelers OTAs. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports via Stillcurtain
Steelers Depth Chart @ Outside Linebacker Entering the 2017 NFL Draft – the Starter
At this point in his career, the only question about James Harrison is how long he can stay a step ahead of Father Time. James Harrison was supposed to be done in after 2012. He went as far as to retire in 2014, only to be suiting up again less than a month later. That was supposed to be his swan song, but Harrison was back in 2015 and again in 2016.
Behind James Harrison and Bud Dupree the Steelers have Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo who split time in Dupree’s absence as starters in 2016.
When the Steelers signed Arthur Moats in 2014 he looked to be little more than a player the Steelers were taking a flyer on but, by the Steelers count, Moats has started 25 games over the past few years, and recorded 11 and half sacks.
Those clearly aren’t the types of numbers that get you to the Pro Bowl, let alone Canton, but they’re more than respectable given his pedigree.
The Steelers took Anthony Chickillo in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft and Chickillo has already exceeded the expectations for someone picked so late. The Steelers list Chickillo as starting 7 games in 2016 during which he recorded 2.5 sacks, which is more than Jarvis Jones ever accomplished in a single season.
Steelers 2017 Draft Need at Outside Linebacker
The Steelers face two problems at outside linebacker.
Remember that Mike Tomlin explained his decision to start James Harrison by asking, “What are we saving him for?” While the move signaled the Steelers decision to officially call the Jarvis Jones experiment a failure, it also implied that James Harrison needed to be saved.
And he does.
James Harrison has shown that he can continue to play dominating football, but it is also clear that he can’t do it four quarters a game for 16 games. And unfortunately, both Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo play on the opposite side of James Harrison.
So the Steelers need to find and outside linebacker who they can not only bring along for the future, but they also need someone who can play well enough to get significant snaps starting on opening day.
Given that reality, the Steelers 2017 draft need at outside linebacker must be considered High-Moderate.