The Pittsburgh Steelers draft was solid once again in 2021. They plugged some major holes at running back, tight end, and center with their first three picks. There is a problem brewing here however. What makes this franchise so good, may be also it’s undoing. The lack of turnover with the coaching staff and front office has created the kind of stability that helps them continue to be competitive year after year. The flip side to this is it has also has created a lack of new ideas, and an inability to adapt with the times. This franchise is in danger of falling behind the league, and nowhere is that more evident than in the draft.
Exhibit A… Running back in the first round:
It has pretty much become a forgone conclusion that drafting a back in the first round is terrible value. The position has become too risky due to injuries, along with being among the most replaceable as well. Look no further than the 2020 draft for evidence. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Clyde Edwards Elaine in the first round. The Ravens selected JK Dobbins almost twenty picks later, and you could argue they got the better back. How much better will Najee Harris be then say Trey Sermon, or Chubba Hubbard who were drafted much later?
Kevin Colbert passed on some talented offensive lineman and corners to select a position most teams now feel is among the least valuable. Ten years ago picking Najee Harris at 24 would have been considered a home run. In 2021, not so much.
Trading up for linebackers and lineman, but not quarterback?:
While most of the league focuses on trading up to get quarterbacks in recent drafts, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem more interested in using moving up as a way to improve their defense. Kevin Colbert made a major move to get Devin Bush in the 2019 draft. Pittsburgh moved from 20 to 10 for yet another position that has fallen out of favor in the NFL recently. Fast forward to 2021, and this franchise paid no attention to the fact a talented quarterback like Justin Fields was falling into basically that same range. Fields fell all the way to eleven before Chicago made the move to get him.
And don’t even get us started on the Isaiahh Loudermilk trade. Kevin Colbert traded a future fourth round pick to acquire a defensive lineman with one of the worst athletic profiles of any drafted player. https://www.mockdraftable.com/player/isaiahh-loudermilk
That is half of the first and fourth round picks it took for the Bears to get Fields. Unless the Steelers know something the rest of the world doesn’t, this may be the worst trade in Kevin Colbert’s career by far.
Kyle Trask and Mason Rudolph:
Speaking of quarterbacks, there were several reports that the Steelers had a keen interest in Florida’s Kyle Trask. A tall, un-athletic quarterback with a suspect arm. Sound familiar? Well it should because it is basically Mason Rudolph reincarnated. Immobile quarterbacks are actively avoided nowadays, while it seems to be a preference for this franchise. How this team evaluates the quarterback position is a major concern going forward.
We have suggested that it is time to move on from Ben Roethlisberger for years now. Five reasons why extending Ben Roethlisberger is a huge mistake for the Steelers
That old saying “be careful what you wish for” may come into play here. This team needs to take a more modern look at the present day quarterback situation in this league. The days of strictly pocket passers as quarterbacks are long gone in this league.
Steelers draft – Same as always:
The Steelers draft philosophy hasn’t changed in over twenty years. We are not suggesting a complete change in what has been a very successful way of thinking. A more modern approach would benefit this team going forward, particularly at the quarterback position. The style of NFL football has changed dramatically in recent years. If this franchise does not adapt, they risk falling hopelessly behind the rest of the league.