Amid all the back and forth between teams and players on Day 2, the Pittsburgh Steelers did the most Steelers stuff ever and stayed put and took their guys. In the Draft Preview episode of the Steelers Draft Fix, I locked up that the Steelers would take a wide receiver (WR) in the second round. They did just that, making University of Georgia stud George Pickens their newest addition to the No. 52 pick.
In the 3rd round, Pittsburgh answered a future need in the selection of defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal from Texas A&M with the 84th pick overall. With so many unknowns along the defensive line, the Steelers took on a versatile player to develop for the future.
So which stock goes up and which goes down after these picks? Let’s dive in and take a look.
Stock Up: Whoever the starting quarterback is
What better to help a recovery project in Mitch Trubisky or an unproven rookie caller in Kenny Pickett than a big body physical weapon on the outside? Pickens is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, and has a huge grab radius. Had it not been for an ACL injury early in 2021, Pickens would have been a surefire 1st round pick and a top 5 WR in this class.
Quarterbacks (QBs) must like the idea of adding a contested catch specialist and vertical threat to the roster. He will make every throw easier with his length and sure hands. Pickens’ Steelers selection shows they’re determined to surround whoever starts at QB with as many young talents as possible to help carry the offensive load.
Stock Up: Red Zone Efficiency
Imagine the jumbo skill position package the Steelers can trot into the red zone with 6’3″ Chase Claypool, 6’5″ Pat Freiermuth and the newly acquired Georgia WR. All three are capable blockers in the running game, but also massive human beings who can physically outrun any defense in the passing game. Add to that QB mobility and you have all the potential for a highly effective Red Zone team in 2022.
Out of stock: Carlos and Khalil Davis
The brothers were far from stuck, but with the selection of DeMarvin Leal, you have to think the writing is on the wall so to speak for these two guys. Neither have really shown they can become even solid rotational defenders, and the Steelers appreciate their investments in the Day 2 draft. Leal’s leash will be much longer than the either of the Davis brothers, and his versatility also gives him higher potential for a bigger role early on.
Action TBD: Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu
The looming offseason question regarding the health and status of the two gentlemen listed above comes to the fore after the Steelers Round 3 addition. waiting to see if Leal’s selection was preemptive or preparatory to potential issues with either’s availability.
The other aspect is that the Steelers could just add a future piece to the defensive front, knowing that their current assets there are growing over the years. Cam Heyward is an All-Pro player and also basically a part-time TV analyst at this point. How much longer does he want to lace up the old spikes is also a valid question. In any case, this situation must be closely monitored as training camp and pre-season approach.
Don’t look now, but the Steelers’ roster is starting to take shape, and it’s not looking so bad. In fact, there’s plenty to be excited about. Let’s not forget the black and gold for now. As always, I look forward to hearing your insightful comments below. Don’t forget to stay tuned to BTSC for all the NFL Draft news you want or need regarding your Pittsburgh Steelers.