Looking ahead at the 2019 NFL offseason and draft, the
Steelers should be in line to build up their already talented yet inconsistent
team. The needs seem to constantly shift, but with the benching of Artie Burns
at CB and the hit or miss play of the defense, it seems like defense should
again be the focus of the team. That being said, I could see a hole opening up
(explored in this simulation) as OT Marcus Gilbert could be traded this
offseason. Of the entire Oline, he is the most inconstant player (partially due
to injuries), and with Chukes Okafor being taken in the 3rd round,
it seems like a change is forth coming. Looking back, I’m using the Eugene
Monroe trade from a few years ago to come up with the compensation of a 4th
and 5th round pick for Gilbert. That leaves the Steelers with 9
total selections in the draft. Without any further ado, Pittsburgh, you’re on
Round 1: Jachai Polite, 3-4OLB, Florida
the Steelers have a seemingly solid OLB in Watt, and the inconsistent yet ok
starter in Dupree for another year, there isn’t much behind either of them.
Chickallo is a free agent, and unless he is willing to play for the minimum, he
could be shown the door. Considering the rest of the future depth players (Ola
and Adams) have yet to take a regular season snap, a high round pick could
compliment both of the starters while also making Dupree expendable once his
contract expires. Polite seems like a great fit as an OLB. He has plus athleticism
and a wide array of pass rushing moves. His production hasn’t amounted to much
before this season but looks primed to be a first rounder.
2: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
stated earlier, Artie Burn has lost his starting spot, and while he could
return to form next season, a CB needs to be taken earlier. Even with Haden
playing well, he is apt to get injured and has an expensive contract. Murphy is
on the shorter end, but he can cover extremely well. Ideally he can lock one
side of the field down while Haden patrols the other.
3: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
McDonald and James have played well for the Steelers, James seems likely to hit
free agency next year. The price for TE’s is inflated, so he will likely be out
of their price range. Assuming he leaves, the need for a number two TE will be
relatively high. Smith has turned it on recently for Alabama and could play his
way into day two consideration. He is a good receiving threat and would serve
as a nice compliment to McDonald.
4: Khalil Hodge, ILB/OLB, Buffalo
is everything the Steelers look for in an ILB: he has good athleticism, great
size, and is super productive. He can also rush the passer at times. Depth is
sorely needed at ILB, and Hodge should be able to develop into a good
rotational piece for the team.
4: Drew Richmond, OT, Tennessee
Gilbert being traded here, another swing tackle is going to have to be drafted
to provide depth. Richmond looks like a solid backup, who should see some snaps
in a reserve role.
5: Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo
with the top three receivers seemingly set, depth is going to be needed. Johnson
seems like a solid player, a jack of all traits almost.
6: Kingsley Keke, 3-4DE, Texas A&M
Steelers need more depth along the Dline. Alualu is a free agent along with
Walton, leaving the overall depth really thin. Keke should be a solid number
four and eventually work his way up into the defensive rotation.
6: Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
had some hype entering the season, but he again suffered a season ending
injury. That along with durability concerns make him a risk, but the Steelers
wouldn’t have to use him as a feature back. He should be able to provide solid
depth and be a good change of pace back.
7: Olive Sagapolu, NT, Wisconsin
Steelers opt for more Dline depth, this time taking a NT candidate. While
McCullers has played surprisingly well, he faced stiff competition to get
there. The Steelers may also not want to pay him more than the minimum, thus
making a backup NT a larger need.