Imagine if every player in the NFL immediately became a free agent, and a re-draft was conducted to determine who plays where. That’s exactly what ESPN has done with their latest piece.
ESPN had their 32 NFL Nation reporters re-draft four foundational pieces for their respective teams out of a pool of every NFL player.
Each fake general manager had to pick a quarterback, a defender, and a non-quarterback offensive player. The fourth selection could be used on anyone.
In addition, salary caps were irrelevant, the other 20 starters were assumed to be league average and GMs were asked to draft with the intent of winning a Super Bowl within five years. The order of the 2020 NFL Draft was used in a snake format, all teams had their original picks.
The Steelers were in an unenviable position at No. 18 with 13 quarterbacks already off the board. Still with options running low at the position, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor selected new Carolina Panthers signal caller Teddy Bridgewater for the Steelers.
“At No. 18, I felt like I was in no-man’s land,” Pryor wrote. “The top-tier QBs were off the board, and the some of the best skill players were also gone. I decided to go with Bridgewater because he has shown the potential to jump into the next tier of QBs, and I think a couple of years in New Orleans have made him even better.”
With the Steelers second round pick, Pryor selected a familiar face in safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, securing a defensive cornerstone for the rebuild.
“Then I focused on getting a game-changing defensive player,” Pryor said. “A young Swiss Army knife talent like Fitzpatrick more than fits the bill.”
The Steelers closed out their re-draft by selecting Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (No. 82) and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (No. 111). Providing Bridgewater with protection and big target in the passing game.
It is hard to disagree with the Fitzpatrick, Schwartz and Metcalf picks, but the Bridgewater pick appears to be a reach. Christian McCaffrey, Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield were all younger options still on the board.
The first actual Steelers player to go off the board was outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who went 42nd-overall to the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick was taken five picks later.
Just two other Steelers players were selected, both in the third round. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was taken at No. 73 by the Jaguars, while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went at No. 91 to Seattle.
It was no surprise at all who went first-overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, current Super Bowl MVP and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Who was Mr. Irrelevant? Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett, who also hypothetically became a Bengal.