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The Steelers Draft Grade After 2 Days; How Would You Grade Them?

Behind The Steel Curtain

The Steelers Draft Grade After 2 Days; How Would You Grade Them?

After the long wait from the end of the season, we are finally here. Two days into the NFL draft and the Pittsburgh Steelers have three new players going into 2022. There has been a lot of different conversations and feeling on the picks. Here’s where I have them graded, and the draft as a whole graded so far:

First Round: Kenny Pickett QB (Pitt)

This is still the most polarizing and discussed pick still as we sit here today with two more picks already in. With the Steelers on the clock at #20 they had the entire quarterback class on the board in front of them. The sure bet was that they were going to take Liberty prospect Malik Willis, but it wasn’t him. They took Pitt Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett, and left everyone stunned. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have since said they did not believe that Pickett would fall to them, and perhaps that’s why the apparent love affair between Willis and the Steelers was so prominent. However, the Steelers got their hometown prospect, who was clearly their top choice on their big board.

Pickett provides a strong arm, and an accurate one. He has solid mobility and is a sneaky athlete, running a 4.73 40 yard dash. He is coming off the best season of his collegiate career, where he was a finalist for the Heisman, as mentioned before. He finished the season with 4,319 passing yards, 42 touchdowns (an ACC record), and 7 interceptions. He racked up multiple awards, including the Jonny Unitas Golden-Arm as well as being named the ACC Player of the Year.

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Steelers First Round Pick Kenny Pickett (CBS Sports)

Pickett figures to compete right away with free agent signing Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job. Both bring similar skill sets to the table, and the camp battle will write the story for who starts going into 2022, but there’s no doubt the Steelers have serious long term plans for their new first round quarterback. The fact remains though that Pickett benefitted from a very weak quarterback class. With no quarterback being selected until the third round after Pickett, that shows you how much he benefitted from the poor play from others.

Watch Pickett’s introductory press conference here

Draft Grade: C+

Second Round: George Pickens WR (Georgia)

This was a huge grab and in my opinion the best pick of the draft for the Steelers so far. There was an obvious need here. The Steelers saw three wideouts depart from the team in free agency. Pickens fits the mold of what the Steelers love to see in a wideout; size and speed. Pickens stands at 6’3” and ran a 4.47 at the combine. Add a 33 inch vertical to that and you got yourself a prototypical prospect the Steelers will salivate over. We’ve seen it before in players such as Plaxico BurressMartavis Bryant, and current wideout Chase Claypool.

Steelers Second Round Pick George Pickens (DK.com)

Pickens is coming off a college season in which he helped the Georgia Bulldogs win a national championship. He was only able to play in 5 games as he was coming off an ACL injury from the season prior, but had a 52 yard catch in the national championship. He totaled 90 receptions for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns in his collegiate career. He figures to see immediate playing time in a depleted receiver room, and look to be a threat downfield for this years offense.

Draft Grade: A

Third Round: DeMarvin Leal DE (Texas A&M)

The Steelers could have gone a lot of different directions in the third round. The team went with defensive end DeMarvin Leal. This is a nice pick here, as this gives depth and versatility on the defensive line. Stephon Tuitt and Chris Wormley will be free agents after the 2022 season, and Cam Heyward isn’t getting any younger.

Steelers Third Round Pick DeMarvin Leal (The Game Haus)

Leal is coming off the best season of his collegiate career in which he tallied 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. At 6’4” 283, he is a little lighter than one would like to see from an interior lineman, but that can always be worked on. He is a nice scheme fit for the Steelers, and he will figure to become a contributor early on in his career. It’s very likely that Leal will be inserted into the Steelers defensive line rotation from the beginning. The Steelers try to keep their lineman as fresh as possible, but that plan has been foiled in recent years due to injuries.

Draft Grade: B

Overall, it has been a very positive draft for the Steelers thus far. It may not be the flashiest compared to past years, but they are filling needs and adding quality depth. They are on track to follow the business model Colbert discussed earlier in the week, in which he said the goal is always for the first three picks to become starters. The team is business as usual so far, and will look to finish strong tomorrow in rounds 4-7.

Overall Draft Grade Rounds 1-3: B

Lifelong Steeler fan from Long Island, NY . Bleed black and gold. Love sports discussions and giving my opinion, especially when it comes to the Steelers. Follow me on twitter @SeanPMcGeown! Here We Go Steelers!

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