NFL Draft 2017: Did the Pittsburgh Steelers do better than their AFC North rivals?
AFC North rivalries tend to get projected into the offseason.
And NFL draft success tends to get projected long before it can actually be determined. Depending on who you ask, the Pittsburgh Steelers either won the division in terms of drafting, finished dead last or were the drafting equivalent of competing for a Wild Card spot.
Below, we show you these sort-of standings and break down where national experts thought the Steelers struggled and succeeded relative to their divisional rivals.
Pete Prisco does not consider James Conner a reach thinks JuJu Smith-Schuster was and finds T.J. Watt a fine pick for Pittsburgh. He just also thinks the Browns nailed the draft, outside of trading down to get Jabril Peppers, and that the legacy of this year’s selections out of Cleveland will largely be determined by DeShone Kizer.
Marlon Humphrey, Prisco writes, didn’t fill the Baltimore Ravens’ needs in the first round, but they could make up for it with Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser and Chris Wormley.
The Bengals didn’t lose points for drafting Joe Mixon, in Prisco’s grading.
SI doesn’t buy Watt as a necessity, understands the Smith-Schuster pick and doubts Josh Hobbs is the answer if Ben Roethlisberger retires anytime soon. He penalized the Steelers for taking a long snapper in the sixth round.
The Browns, Ravens and Bengals get the exact same high mark for getting an absurdly athletic draft class, reloading their defense and reloading their offense, respectively.
The Steelers win in this analysis because Dobbs is considered a viable backup to Roethlisberger, Watt makes sense and Smith-Schuster is a potentially dangerous weapon in Pittsburgh’s offense.
Cincinnati loses out here because Mixon’s relative value didn’t require a second-round pick while doubts about John Ross’ durability drag down their first-round pick’s evaluation. Cleveland gets the equivalent of an incomplete on Kizer and holding of serve on the players they got with their absurdly high number of picks.
Baltimore gets a “B” because, basically, “Go defense.” Defenders tend to look foolproof right after the draft.
Steelers 2017 NFL Draft picks
1st round: No. 30 overall – T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
2nd round: No. 62 overall – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
3rd round: No. 94 overall – Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
No. 105 overall – James Conner, RB, Pitt
4th round: No. 135 overall – Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
5th round: No. 173 overall – Brian Allen, CB, Utah
6th round: No. 213 overall – Colin Holba, LS, Louisville
7th round: No. 248 overall – Keion Adams, OLB, Western Michigan
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