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NFL Draft

Can the Steelers Find an Impact Player at #49?

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The Steelers first round pick in 2020 is Minkah Fitzpatrick. Kevin Colbert has made that line of thinking canon with his recent remarks on the matter.

So where does that leave the team as they head into the 2020 NFL Draft?

Round number two, pick number 49; that’s when the Steelers will get to work trying to acquire an impact player for this season and beyond.

NFL front offices are, for the most part, excellent at evaluating and identifying talent coming out of college. By the time the Steelers draft, roughly half of the NFL franchises will get not one, but two cracks at finding “their” player. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin in the meantime will just have to wait to see which remaining players on the board fulfill their team’s needs.

So, what kind of player will be available when Colbert and company finally make their selection? Pro Football Reference keeps track of each pick’s value as it relates to trading and impact. The first pick in any draft is worth 3000. The final pick of the first round is worth 590. For the Steelers at #49, the pick is worth 410.

Yes, there will be good players available, but they’re going to have to have the magic touch if they want someone who can step in in year one.

Here are the last 10 years of draft picks from #44-#54, a +/- spread of five from the Steelers’ first pick.

PickTeamNamePositionAgeDraft YearAll-ProPro BowlStarterCareer AVGames
44GNBElgton JenkinsC232019001716
45NWEJoejuan WilliamsCB21201900019
46CLEGreedy WilliamsCB212019001412
47SEAMarquise BlairS222019000214
48NORErik McCoyC222019001716
49INDBen BanoguLB232019000116
50MINIrv Smith Jr.TE212019000316
51TENA.J. BrownWR2220190011016
52CINDrew SampleTE23201900009
53PHIMiles SandersRB222019001916
54HOULonnie JohnsonCB222019000314
44SFODante PettisWR222018000423
45GNBJosh JacksonCB222018001530
46KANBreeland SpeaksDE222018000316
47ARIChristian KirkWR2120180011125
48LACUchenna NwosuOLB212018000632
49PHIDallas GoedertTE232018002831
50DALConnor WilliamsT212018002924
51CHIAnthony MillerWR232018000931
52INDKemoko TurayOLB232018000318
53TAMM.J. StewartCB222018000321
54CINJessie BatesS2120180021132
44LARGerald EverettTE232017000945
45CHIAdam ShaheenTE222017000227
46INDQuincy WilsonCB212017000529
47BALTyus BowserOLB222017000647
48CINJoe MixonRB2120170022444
49WASRyan AndersonOLB232017000543
50TAMJustin EvansS222017002724
51DENDeMarcus WalkerDE222017000423
52CLEDeShone KizerQB212017001618
53DETTeez TaborCB212017000322
54MIARaekwon McMillanLB2120170021129
44OAKJihad WardDE222016001941
45TENDerrick HenryRB2220160122762
46DETA'Shawn RobinsonDT2120160012058
47NORMichael ThomasWR2320162345463
48GNBJason SpriggsT222016000836
49SEAJarran ReedDT2320160032256
50HOUNick MartinG2320160032046
51NYJChristian HackenbergQB212016000
52ATLDeion JonesOLB2120160132753
53WASSu'a CravensOLB212016000316
54MINMackensie AlexanderCB222016000755
44NORHau'oli KikahaOLB232015001527
45MINEric KendricksILB2320151154274
46SFOJaquiski TarttS2320150021659
47PHIEric RoweCB2220150011053
48SDGDenzel PerrymanILB2220150042156
49KANMitch MorseG2320150042865
50BUFRonald DarbyCB2120150042057
51CLENate OrchardDE2220150011043
52MIAJordan PhillipsNT2220150032176
53CINJake FisherT222015000648
54DETAmeer AbdullahRB2220150021258
44BUFCyrus KouandjioT212014000730
45SEAPaul RichardsonWR2220140011464
46PITStephon TuittDE2120140043076
47WASTrent MurphyLB2320140042976
48BALTimmy JerniganDT2120140042571
49NYJJace AmaroTE222014000417
50SDGJeremiah AttaochuLB2120140011261
51CHIEgo FergusonDT222014000220
52ARITroy NiklasTE212014001141
53GNBDavante AdamsWR2120140364186
54TENBishop SankeyRB212014001629
44CARKawann ShortDT2420130244096
45ARIKevin MinterLB2220130022591
46BUFKiko AlonsoLB2320130043286
47DALGavin EscobarTE222013000264
48PITLe'Veon BellRB2120132355977
49NYGJohnathan HankinsDT2120130063998
50CHIJonathan BosticLB2220130052586
51WASDavid AmersonDB2120130042174
52NWEJamie CollinsLB2320130165596
53CINMargus HuntDE2620130011791
54MIAJamar TaylorDB2220130021590
44KANJeff AllenT2220120042584
45CHIAlshon JefferyWR22201201749102
46PHIMychal KendricksLB21201200738103
47SEABobby WagnerLB22201256895119
48NWETavon WilsonDB22201200318110
49SDGKendall ReyesDT2220120032276
50STLIsaiah PeadRB222012000130
51GNBJerel WorthyDT222012000440
52TENZach BrownLB22201201540100
53CINDevon StillDT232012000333
54DETRyan BroylesWR242012000321
44DETTitus YoungWR222011002826
45DENRahim MooreDB2120110032064
46DENOrlando FranklinT2320110064090
47STLLance KendricksTE23201100716137
48OAKStefen WisniewskiC22201100641134
49INDBen IjalanaT222011001734
50SDGMarcus GilchristDB22201100632126
51TAMDa'Quan BowersDE212011000753
52NYGMarvin AustinDT222011000226
53CHIStephen PaeaDT2320110032283
54PHIJaiquawn JarrettDB212011000547
44OAKLamarr HoustonDE23201000432100
45DENZane BeadlesG23201001751137
46NYGLinval JosephDT21201002962141
47ARIDaryl WashingtonLB2320100143659
48CARJimmy ClausenQB222010001322
49SFOTaylor MaysDB222010000980
50KANJavier ArenasDB222010001869
51MINToby GerhartRB2320100001682
52PITJason WorildsDE2220100012173
53NWEJermaine CunninghamLB222010001838
54CINCarlos DunlapDE21201002761148

Let’s take a closer look at the players who standout from each year.

2019 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Two skill position guys, Miles Sanders and A.J. Brown and two centers are the clear choices from this grouping. Brown had over 1,000 yards of receiving and Sanders was a threat on the ground (800+ yards) and through the air (50 catches). Other than that, not much there.

Best player taken after pick #54: D.K. Metcalf, Seattle (Rd. 2, Pick 64)

2018 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

2018 was not a great draft for value in this range of picks. Only Dallas Goedert, Connor Williams and Jessie Bates were able to start for their teams both seasons.

Best player taken after pick #54: Orlando Brown, Baltimore (Rd. 3, Pick 83)

2017 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Another bad year for the mid to late 2nd rounders. Joe Mixon and Raekwon McMillan have been the only impact players.

Best player taken after pick #54: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (Rd. 3, Pick 67)

2016 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

The 2016 NFL Draft class was home to the only 2nd round pick in the last ten years to never see the field, Christian Hackenberg. But 2016 also had Michael Thomas, who’s developed into one of the best receivers in the league and Derrick Henry, who finally showed what he can do this past season. Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones also made a Pro Bowl from this group. Center Nick Martin stepped in from day one and been a reliable starter and Jarran Jones has had limited success with the Seahawks.

Best player taken after pick #54: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (Rd. 5, Pick 165)

2015 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Eric Kendricks come on down, you’re the only star player from the 2015 group! The Minnesota linebacker has one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro team to his name. Center Mitch Morse has been a solid player since being drafted and has started every game since being drafted for the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. LA Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman has started a majority of his games since being drafted.

Best player taken after pick #54: Joe Thunney, New England (Rd. 3, Pick 78)

2014 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Steeler Stephon Tuitt is one of two standouts from this grouping along with Green Bay wideout Davante Adams. Timmy Jernigan and Trent Murphy have also had success as well.

Best player taken after pick #54: Telvin Smith, Jacksonville (Rd. 5, Pick 144)

2013 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

A former Steeler you may recognize, Le’Veon Bell joins Jamie Collins in being two highly talented, All-Pro caliber players from 2013’s grouping. A fair amount of other names on the list have had success including Kiko Alonso, Johnathan Hankins, and Kawann Short. Another former Steeler, Jon Bostic has had three consecutive years starting and had one of his best year as a pro in 2019 with the Redskins.

Best player taken after pick #54: David Bakhtiari, Green Bay (Rd. 4, Pick 109)

2012 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Bobby Wagner is the stud selection for this group with 5 All-Pro selections, he’s almost guaranteed a future bust in Canton. Alshon Jeffery, Mychal Kendricks and Zach Brown have also had lots of NFL success.

Best player taken after pick #54: Russell Wilson, Seattle (Rd. 3, Pick 75)

2011 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

New Steeler Stefen Wisniewski leads this list, although none from this group has ever made a Pro Bowl.

Best player taken after pick #54: Richard Sherman, Seattle (Rd. 5, Pick 154)

2010 NFL Draft Class #44-#54

Only two players from 2010 are still in the league, Linval Joseph and Carlos Dunlop. Both have had very good careers with each making the Pro Bowl twice.

Best player taken after pick #54: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (Rd. 6, Pick 195)

NFL Draft

Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks

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Instead of trading for a proven running back like Leonard Fournette, the Steelers simply drafted a rookie with their 4th round pick. That rookie is Anthony McFarland out of the University of Maryland. To fully explain what McFarland brings to the table, Mike Asti was joined by Adam Zielonka, who is a sports reporter for the Washington Times. Zielonka also touched Antoine Brooks, the other Maryland product drafted by the Steelers.

Click here to also watch Mike and others discuss if the Steelers should have instead traded for Leonard Fournette on Pittsburgh Sports Live.

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2020 NFL Draft

Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft

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Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is offering an explanation as to why he wanted three rounds added to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Speaking with NBC Sport’s Mike Florio on the PFT PM podcast Tuesday, Colbert took the opportunity to clarify his suggestion.

“The reasoning was, part of it was selfish,” Colbert said. “You wanted to have a safety net because we’re dealing with less information, and the more picks you have, maybe you’ll have a little bit of a safety net again.”

With the league’s self-implemented travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs were unable to conduct their normal scouting activities prior to the Draft. This included Pro Days, private workouts and in-person interviews.

Less opportunities to watch and speak with prospects results in a larger margin for error.

Colbert went on to say that it also would have benefited some of the fringe prospects in the Draft that never had the chance to showcase themselves at a Pro Day or other setting.

“The other thing was it would give the marginal player that didn’t get his opportunity to go to a Pro Day and to perform. Maybe there will be more players drafted and then those players will then again have the chance they might not get.”

Now without rookie minicamps, the challenges are mounting for clubs and NFL hopefuls.

“Every year a team might stumble upon a tryout player,” Colbert said. “Maybe if we ever get on the field, we can think of a way to help those because there’s a big group of players that aren’t getting opportunities because of the situation.”

Colbert reminded Florio that the Steelers discovered Devlin “Duck” Hodges as a tryout in camp last year.

It is unclear when teams will be allowed to return to the practice field for their offseason programs, with clubs currently conducting theirs entirely from home.

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2020 NFL Draft

Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show

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It was eat, sleep, draft coverage, repeat for Mike Asti and the Steelers Now crew this past week. And now that the draft is over, Mike Asti evaluates each pick and gives his thoughts on some moves he says the Steelers should have made.

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