2017 Pittsburgh Steelers’ Draft & OTA Review

No position needed an upgrade more than edge rusher on the Steelers’ draft priority board. James Harrison gathered in five sacks last season which led the team. But age and time catches up to all great players and no one fights leaving the game more than Harrison. One thing he can do before he retires is mentor potentially the next great Steeler pressure player, TJ Watt. Watt has been getting work with the starters in OTAs. One thing that has impressed the Steelers and the veteran players alike are his ball skills. The former tight end plays the ball well like a receiver. When dropping into coverage, he drives hard on the ball. The intense former Badger also got into his first camp scuffle. Watt had his huge strong hands on display after he gets off the line to defeat blockers oneon- one. As a rookie, he has a veteran’s approach to learning and his student of the game focus has impressed the Steeler community. He will start out the season rotating with Harrison at right outside linebacker. JuJu Smith-Schuster joins a room full of accomplished receivers. Has demonstrated with his work ethic that he will compete for the number two receiver position behind Antonio Brown if Martavis Bryant stubs his toe again. Once the mandatory mini-camp started and all the veterans elevated the practice tempo, speed and on-the-field intelligence, Smith-Schuster was not out of place. Cameron Sutton has impressed during OTAs with the way he plays the ball in the air. He can stick his foot in the ground, drive, and come down with the ball. He has been getting his hands on a lot of passes this spring. The Steelers love his ability to play outside, inside, and return punts and kickoffs. In the Steelers’ mind, Sutton may be the ideal slot corner because of his short area quickness. James Conner has been on the sidelines for OTAs with a hamstring issue. The Steelers hoped that Conner would be able to spell Le’Veon Bell in order to save the NFL’s most complete back for a playoff run. Joshua Dobbs is competing with Landry Jones for the number two quarterback job on the Steelers. Reports have it that Dobbs will get every chance to unseat Jones. He needs to work on his consistency and his ability to throw through tight windows. Dobbs is a good athlete who has the ability to keep his feet alive in the pocket and as a scrambler. Brian Allen is a huge corner who the Steelers want to develop for the future. The 6031, 215 pound corner runs the forty in 4.43 seconds. He was a former receiver and has good hands to pluck the ball. He is also big enough to match up on the tight ends that Pittsburgh sees in its division as well as Rob Gronkowski in New England. Colin Holba is the starting long snapper after veteran Greg Warren was released. Warren snapped for 12 seasons for the Steelers but failed his physical. Keion Adams was drafted as a developmental outside linebacker after playing with his hand in the dirt for four years. Last fall Adams had 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. His first three years he was a rotational defensive end. Plays with a lot of energy and must develop more pass rush moves and play on special teams to earn a roster spot. GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE.

FREE AGENCY: The Steelers re-signed quarterback Landry Jones and tight end David Johnson. New additions are Tyson Alualu (DE), Coty Sensabaugh (CB), Justin Hunter (WR), and Knile Davis (RB).


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