2021 NFL Draft
NFL Analysts Dole Out Mostly C’s for Steelers 2021 Draft Class
The moment the Steelers took a running back in the 1st round, they were doomed to poor grades from most of the NFL’s draft analysts.
Fortunately, draft grades are mostly meaningless and have very little correlation to future performance–unsurprising considering how hard football is to predict.
On the other hand, it’s a great way to stir up debate.
Here’s some select grades for this year’s Steelers draft class from across the media landscape.
Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A
Gerry’s take is unsurprisingly old school. The Steelers got the player they wanted in Najee Harris, the best running back in the draft, and so the team should be commended for it. He likes their approach to getting players to fill the holes in their lineup, so he also awarded high grades for the Pat Freiermuth selection and the Pressley Harvin III pick in the 7th, analytics gurus be damned.
Finally, someone outside of Pittsburgh who loves the Steelers draft (although to be fair, he seemed to love almost everyone’s). Reuter isn’t afraid of picking a running back in the first round and had positive things to say about Dan Moore Jr., Buddy Johnson and Quincy Roche as well.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: B+
Iyer didn’t mind the running back in the first round pick and praised the team for going after skill positions of need. Overall he had the Steelers draft class ranked 20th out of the 32 teams.
Kaboly was okay with Harris given the circumstances, but didn’t like Freiermuth pick (which seems to be par for the course). On the plus side, Kendrick Green, Moore and everyone’s new favorite punter, Pressley. None of the defensive draft picks moved the needle at all.
Nick Farabaugh, Pro Football Network: B-
Yes, our own Nick Farabaugh (writing for the Pro Football Network) gave the Steelers a B- after quote “a topsy-turvy” draft. The Loudermilk selection, which they got by trading a 4th round pick in next year’s draft was questionable at best. Like many pundits, Farabaugh wished the Steelers had addressed offensive line before round 3. “Should the Steelers have addressed the offensive line earlier? I believe so, but there’s no question they made this roster better, so it is hard to be too upset.”
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. brought the hammer down on the Steelers for drafting a running back in the first round and a not great blocking tight end in the second. His C+ grade was the lowest in the entire NFL.
Drafting a running back in the first round tops PFF’s do not do list. Freiermuth was their 55th rated player and was taken by the Steelers at No. 55. They were, however, big fans of Kendrick Green in the third round.
Yahoo Sports: C+
They loved the punter pick, anyway. Taking Freiermuth over an offensive lineman? Not so much.
Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated: C+
Orr wanted the Steelers to draft more help on the offensive line.
Count Mr. Prisco as another analyst who is decidedly against taking running backs in the first round. He slaps the Steelers with a C grade, but offers up praise for their selection of Green in the 3rd round.
USA Today: C
Less of a problem with the Harris pick than with waiting too long to address the offensive line.
Et, tu, The Ringer? “Pittsburgh’s decision to take a running back and tight end with its top two picks seems less than ideal as a long-term strategy for a roster that has several pressing needs.”
Walter Football: D+
The lowest of all national outlets, Walter Football hated that the Steelers ignored the offensive line saying that the offense is “is a fancy car with no engine”. While he was somewhat positive about the later defensive picks, it was not enough. Better than the F grades for the Packers, Seahawks and Texans, however.