In today’s PFF Forecast podcast, George Chahrouri and Eric Eager re-drafted the first 20 picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, and their selections reflect how well the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted that year. Never mind the fact that the team’s 2017 draft was recently rated among the top 3 in the NFL. In their exercise, the Steelers had two players selected among the top 15, this in spite of the fact that in the real 2017 draft Pittsburgh’s first two selections were #30 and #62 overall.
T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster
The first Steelers player that Chahrouri and Eager selected was OLB T.J. Watt, who the Steelers took near the end of the first round in 2017. The duo’s discussion makes clear that Watt was under consideration as early as the fourth pick in their draft, and was also a good candidate for the Cleveland Browns at #12, yet he lasted until #13—picked on behalf of the Arizona Cardinals.
Then wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was selected for the Indianapolis Colts just two picks later.
Both players have excelled for the Steelers, especially Watt, who finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season and was recently identified by CBS Sports HQ as the best edge rusher in the NFL. Watt also makes up half of one of the top 5 pass rushing duos in the league.
As if that weren’t enough, in 2017 Pittsburgh also got James Conner in the third round, currently the team’s RB1, as well as depth cornerback Cameron Sutton, also in round three.
And while fourth-rounder Josh Dobbs is no longer with the team, he did yield a fifth-round draft pick in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Finally, it’s clear that the general manager Kevin Colbert & Co. really liked the talent available in 2017, because the team has since added a number of players who were originally drafted by other teams.
Consider: The Steelers recently made a trade with the Baltimore Ravens for DE Chris Wormley, who was drafted out of Michigan in the third round, #74 overall. The Steelers have also added WR Ryan Switzer, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round, #133 overall. See also: Zach ‘Challah Back Guy’ Banner, who was originally picked by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round, #137 overall, and came to Pittsburgh via the Cleveland Browns.
In case you’re wondering about the first 15 picks in the Pro Football Focus re-draft, here they are:
PFF’s Top 15 for 2017 (plus actual round, overall)
1. QB Patrick Mahomes (round 1, pick 10)
2. QB Deshaun Watson (round 1, pick 12)
3. TE George Kittle (round 5, pick 146)
4. WR Chris Godwin (round 3, pick 84)
5. S Jamal Adams (round 1, pick 6)
6. CB Marlon Humphrey (round 1, pick 16)
7. WR Kenny Golladay (round 3, pick 96)
8. CB Marshawn Lattimore (round 1, pick 11)
9. OT Ryan Ramczyk (round 1, pick 32)
10. DE Myles Garrett (round 1, pick 1)
11. CB Tre’Davius White (round 1, pick 27)
12. DB Desmond King (round 5, pick 151)
13. OLB T.J. Watt (round 1, pick 30)
14. SS Eddie Jackson (round 4, pick 112)
15. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (round 2, pick 62)
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