Going into the draft there was a clear concern with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary. Last year they were the 30th ranked pass defense and in this draft the Steelers’ front office did what was needed and used their two top picks to address this problem.
Summary of the draft:
As of right now, the Steelers’ draft looks like a major success. In the first round, the Steelers selected Artie Burns out of Miami. He is a freak athlete at cornerback and could someday become a dominant pass defender. At 6’0 193 pounds, Burns has great size at cornerback. He also ran a solid 4.5 forty time that will help him defend the quicker receivers like AJ Green.
In the second round, the Steelers drafted Sean Davis out of Maryland. Davis is a physical safety who will certainly fit in with the Steelers’ style of hard-nosed defense. He is listed at 6’1 201 pounds. He ran a 4.55 forty yard dash and could be a starter immediately this season.
In the third and fourth rounds, the team addressed their offensive and defensive lines. This is always a great strategy, because the game is won at the front lines. With the 89th overall pick the Steelers selected defensive tackle Javon Hargrave out of South Carolina State. Hargrave is a bit of a risk considering the level of competition he played throughout his career, but he could be a steal for the franchise. With the 123rd overall pick, the Steelers went with a player from a more familiar team, LSU. They took Jerald Hawkins, an offensive tackle who was only a junior, but felt he was ready for the NFL. He’s got great size at 6’6, but will need to be coached up a bit.
What caught my eye?
The pick that really caught my eye in this draft was the selection of DeMarcus Ayers. In his last year with Houston he was a play making machine. I believe this was because he was finally put in an offense that let him spread his legs. Before his senior season, Houston decided to hire offensive genius Tom Herman as the new head coach. Under his coaching, Ayers went for 1222 yards on 98 catches and had 7 total touchdowns. I truly believe Ayers is another version of Antonio Brown. Obviously he has to improve a ton, but he is another explosive runner who can separate from his defender with ease.
The Pittsburgh Steelers accomplished what they needed to do. They brought in big time talent for their weak secondary and also added some other solid pieces. I would have liked to see the Steelers trade up for a corner like Vernon Hargreaves, who can step right in and be a top corner. Instead, the Steelers sat back and took Artie Burns who should still fit in nicely.