Steelers 2016 Draft Recap

The NFL Draft is complete. The Steelers, recognized as the NFL’s best drafting team since 1996 (according to the Washington Post and ProFootballReference.com), walked away from it drafting seven players and signing ten undrafted players. Here are the players the Steelers acquired over the weekend:

Drafted Players:
Round 1 (25th overall): Artie Burns, CB – Miami
Round 2 (58th overall): Sean Davis, CB/S – Maryland
Round 3 (89th overall): Javon Hargrave, DT – South Carolina St.
Round 4 (123rd overall): Jerald Hawkins, OT – LSU
Round 6 (220th overall): Travis Feeney, OLB – Washington
Round 7 (229th overall): DeMarcus Ayers, WR – Houston
Round 7 (246th overall): Tyler Matakevich, OLB – Temple

Undrafted Players:
Johnny Maxey, DL – Mars Hill
Tyriq McCord, LB – Miami (FL)
Will Monday, P – Duke
Giorgio Newberry, DL – Florida State
Christian Powell, RB – Colorado
David Reeves, TE – Duke
Jay Rome, TE – Georgia
Quinton Schooley, OL – NC State
Canaan Severin, WR – Virginia
Devaunte Sigler, DL – Jacksonville State

The undrafted players will participate in the rookie minicamp this upcoming weekend May 6-8.

The Steelers did not have a 5th round pick because they traded it away when acquiring Brandin Boykin last year to get depth in the secondary. This year, the Steelers addressed their needs in the draft. The team is set at their skill positions, especially on the offensive side of the ball, except for the secondary. Many argue that the Steelers biggest weakness was their secondary, and them ranking 30th against the pass last year helps prove that point. GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin have a specific way of drafting players, usually drafting better overall players on their board than specifically filling their biggest holes by reaching for 2nd-rounders in the 1st round. According to that strategy, it seemed to work out this year for them that they were able get players they wanted in positions they needed the most help in.

My Thoughts:
This was not a draft you’ll look at as a Steelers fan and think it’s sexy. And that’s ok. They addressed the biggest needs on the team. The secondary was the biggest hole, and defensive tackle was second on my list of needs. Artie Burns is a guy with an insane amount of raw talent. He’ll take time to develop. I wouldn’t expect him to start at any point this season. His upside is through the roof. He’s an amazing athlete, but technique is vital to being an NFL corner. I really like the Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave picks. Davis can play either corner or safety (although I see the Steelers using him at safety) and he racked up 318 tackles in his college career. He could make a great tackling tandem with Mike Mitchell at safety. Hargrave is technically sound and very strong. He’s a great pass rushing interior lineman. I could see him becoming the best pick in this draft. Jerald Hawkins gives the Steelers depth at offensive tackle, which they need after Kelvin Beachum left. He’s a prototypical tackle for the Steelers schemes and was part of a pro-style at LSU. Feeney (I see Boy Meets World jokes coming already) could make it as a special teams coverage guy at first, then maybe develop into a depth outside pass rusher. The skills are there, he just needs to develop at the NFL level.  DeMarcus Ayers could be an interesting pick because he’s a guy that could win the kick AND punt return job if he proves himself in camp. Which means, we may not see this from Antonio Brown anymore:

antoniowheee.0

Matakevich is a good value pick as he’s been credited by scouts to have good instincts and football awareness. He will fight for a special team job in camp.
What I like: They took DB’s in the first two rounds, found a DT in the third, and addressed depth throughout the remainder of the draft. I like that they didn’t try to make a splash with a pick, like a  Dri Archer, which made zero sense.
What concerns me: While they drafted positions of need, the players they got could be debated whether they were the best at that position when they drafted them. Burns and Davis are raw talents that are highly athletic and could end up being great players, but they could bust too. Raw talent is hard to hone and train. If the coaches can do it, great. If not, this could be a draft to forget.

Overall Grade: B+


412 Sports is not affiliated with the Pittsburgh Steelers or the National Football League. The views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Pittsburgh Steelers or the National Football League. This site may contain content copyrighted by another person or entity. This site’s author claims no copyright to said content

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