Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Draft Review

1st/30 TJ Watt, OLB

Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 252 School: Wisconsin

The Steelers are still running out James Harrison at age 38 so the selection of a rush outside linebacker in the first round was not surprising at all. TJ Watt had been rumored to the Steelers for quite some time leading up to the draft and rightfully so. Watt is an excellent athlete with a non-stop motor that will endear him to Pittsburgh fans. While he is still a bit raw Watt’s upside is tremendous.


2nd/62 Ju-Ju Smith-Shuster, WR

Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 215 School: USC

Wide receiver was a sneaky need for the Steelers with Martavis Bryant unable to stay on the field and Sammie Coates failing to develop as they hoped. In steps Smith-Shuster who should give Antonio Brown a true running mate at the receiver position. The former USC Trojan reminds some of former Steeler Hines Ward, a possession threat who also excels as a blocker.


3rd/94 Cameron Sutton, CB

Ht.: 5’11 Wt.: 188 School: Tennessee

Despite drafting Artie Burns in the first last season the Steelers still had a need at the corner back position entering the draft. Cameron Sutton would have been draft much earlier had it not been for injury issues that cost him much of his last season at Tennessee. Sutton is a versatile ball hawk with experience lining up outside and in the slot. As an added bonus Sutton is an accomplished punt returner.


3rd/105 James Connor, RB

Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 233 School: Pittsburgh

Finding a suitable backup for LeVeon Bell was a top priority for the Steelers and they did not have to go far from home grabbing University of Pittsburgh running back James Connor. His battle with cancer is well known maybe not as well-known was Connor’s success on the field. A versatile back, Connor is a proven work horse and will be an immediate contributor spelling Bell.


4th/135 Joshua Dobbs, QB

Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 216 School: Tennessee

Picked at the same spot as Dak Prescott last year, Joshua Dobbs appears to be the heir apparent to Big Ben. Dobbs is a smart experienced quarterback with all the physical tools needed. Dobbs will be given the luxury of sitting and learning behind Ben instead of being throw in right away which will be to his benefit as he will need to refine his game quite a bit before being ready to takeover.


5th/ 173 Brian Allen, CB

Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 215 School: Utah

The Steelers double dip at corner with Brian Allen out of Utah. A former wide receiver Allen has excellent ball skills and has the physicality and size (6’3’’) to play press man for the Steelers. Joining a crowded group of corners in Pittsburgh Allen will have to show up on special teams which he should thanks to his hustle and skill set.


6th/213 Colin Holba, LS

Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 248 School: Louisville

In an odd turn of events long snapper Colin Holba was the first player selected from Louisville. This pick was a bit of a head scratcher. Long snappers can usually be found as undrafted free agents and the Steelers could have helped themselves by drafting some depth along the defensive line or by grabbing a tight end.


7th/248 Keion Adams, OLB

Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 247 School: Western Michigan

The Steelers spent their final pick on another pass rusher in Keion Adams. Adams’ name had been mentioned as a later round developmental pick thanks to his raw athleticism. He could become a serviceable rotational rusher and special teamer with some development.


Best Pick

Watt (first round)


Upside Pick

Adams (seventh round)


Overall Thoughts

The Steelers got good value with their first four picks and all should have a chance to contribute right away. Allen and Dobbs are long term developmental picks that could pay off in a season or two while the selection of a long snapper seems like a wasted opportunity to add some more depth.

Grade: B+

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