The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to bounce back into the playoff hunt after not making the postseason for the first time this decade. Fortunately, they have the NFL Draft to make some necessary changes. Let’s take a look and see how the Steelers did this offseason.
Round 1, Pick 10: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. 5’11”, 234 lbs. Bush is ready to start right away at one of the inside linebacker spots in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense. Bush is strong at all three levels at the position since he is able to make tackles, blitz up the middle, and break up passes in coverage.
Round 3, Pick 2, Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo. 5’10”, 183 lbs. Johnson will get some playing time at the slot receiver position in three and four wide receiver sets. He will also compete for the returner position as well. Plus, there was an open roster spot at the wide receiver position.
Round 3, Pick 20: Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State. 6’2″, 192 lbs. Layne is a tall corner that is good in press coverage or zone coverage. Layne will add depth to the secondary, but his value will be in the red zone defending against tall receivers that are trying to score touchdowns.
Round 4, Pick 20: Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky. 5’10”, 224 lbs. Snell is a tough, physical runner that makes the Steelers 3-deep at the running back position. Pittsburgh also had an open roster spot at the running back position.
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Round 5, Pick 3: Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan. 6’8″, 265 lbs. The Steelers took a flyer on Gentry due to his height at tight end. He could be developed into a red zone target.
Round 6, Pick 2: Sutton Smith, DE, Northern Illinois. 6’0″, 233 lbs. Smith really wrecks havoc behind the line of scrimmage from the edge, but he may have to find a new position in the NFL as an outside linebacker. The change in position could take some time.
Round 6, Pick 20: Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama. 6’3″, 306 lbs. Buggs adds depth to the important defensive tackle position in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense.
Round 6, Pick 35: Ulysses Gilbert, LB, Akron. 6’0″, 224 lbs. Gilbert adds depth to the linebacker position.
Round 7, Pick 5: Derwin Gray, T, Maryland. 6’4″, 320 lbs. Gray adds depth at the offensive tackle position.
Grade: I give the Steelers a B+ because they were able to fill positions of need and they were able to draft players that they can develop for the future.