Monday, May 20, 2024
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Steelers NFL Draft grades 2024: What Pittsburgh didn’t do, and one thing it definitely got right

By all accounts, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ 2024 NFL Draft was a huge success. On offense, Pittsburgh drafted three players who will likely start this season. On defense, the Steelers drafted three promising prospects who are expected to add quality depth while also contributing to their special teams units. 

As great as the Steelers’ draft was, there were a few things they possibly could have done better. Let’s take a look at the biggest thing Pittsburgh did not do during the draft, along with the one thing it definitely got right. 

Before we get started, here’s a refresher of who the Steelers selected in this year’s draft. 

Steelers 2024 NFL Draft class

ROUND PICK PLAYER GRADE

1

20 Troy Fautanu, IOL, Washington B

2

51 Zach Frazier, IOL, West Virginia A-

3

84 Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan B-

3

98 Payton Wilson, LB, N.C. State A-

4

119 Mason McCormick, IOL, South Dakota State A

6

178 Logan Lee, DL, Iowa B-
6 195 Ryan Watts, CB, Texas B+

The biggest thing the Steelers didn’t do 

The Steelers are still in the same position they were a week ago when it comes to wanting to add a veteran, top-flight receiver to their roster. Pittsburgh reportedly tried to trade for Deebo Samuel, but it wasn’t willing to meet San Francisco’s asking price

Pittsburgh didn’t acquire Samuel (or any other veteran wideout) during the draft, but they did select former Michigan wideout Roman Wilson in the third round. Wilson will definitely help, but the Steelers still have some work to do when it comes to rounding out their receiving corps. Fortunately for them, they still have some options. 

Tyler Boyd, the longtime Cincinnati Bengals wideout, is still available. There’s also the chance that the 49ers are still open to possibly trading either Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk. The Broncos may be willing to trade veteran Courtland Sutton for the right price. 

If it was me, I’d pursue Sutton or Boyd. Boyd is a free agent, so they could sign him without having to give up anything. Personally, I’d rather have Sutton, who already has a connection with Russell Wilson dating to their two years together in Denver. Sutton is also coming off a 2023 season that saw him catch 10 touchdowns, whereas Boyd is coming off of one the least productive seasons of his career. 

The one thing the Steelers definitely got right 

During this draft, Omar Khan and Andy Weidl’s philosophy for building the Steelers’ roster was reinforced. The Steelers general managers want to use the draft to strengthen their trenches, specifically the offensive line. Not only did they do so in this year’s draft, they made history as the Steelers used three of their first five picks on offensive linemen for the first time since 1976. 

Pittsburgh kicked things off by drafting Troy Fautano, whom many thought was going to the Seahawks with the 16th overall pick. If getting Fautano wasn’t good enough, the Steelers really struck gold in Round 2 when Zach Frazier, the second-ranked center prospect in the draft, “fell” to them with the 51st pick. Pittsburgh pulled off the O-linemen trifecta two rounds later when they selected guard Mason McCormick. 

Each player has his own unique strengths and skill sets, but one thing binds them together. 

“It’s just their mental makeup, their approach to the game, their love of the game,” said offensive line coach Pat Meyer, via Steel City Insider’s Jim Wexell. “Just their play style in terms of being tenacious and wanting to finish guys.”

As a follow-up, Wexell asked Meyer if each rookie lineman could be classified as an “Asskicker.” 

“I would say yes,” Meyer said. “That’s that common three things these guys have: These guys are tenacious; they play the game the right way and all three of them truly, truly have that love of the game and the passion for the game. They want to get going right away. That’s obviously exciting for me as their position coach.” 

This is surely music to Steelers fans. After three years of mediocre offensive line play, Pittsburgh has gotten back to its roots. Some may call it old school, but the Steelers are out to show that physical, smashmouth football can still win football games in 2024. 

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