It is now May which means the 2021 NFL Draft has come and gone. For Steelers fans, there are some picks to be very excited about and some picks to be cautious about. I broke down all of the Steelers’ draft picks by round and voiced my opinion about each pick.
Round 1 (24)
Najee Harris – RB
With all the talk leading up to the draft, this pick didn’t come as a shock to me. Harris was easily the best running back in the draft and that was something the Steelers needed. After having one of the worst run games in the league last year and then losing James Connor in free agency, the Steelers needed to do something with the running back position. Harris has the potential to become a superstar in the league and make an impact right away for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Round 2 (55)
Pat Freiermuth – TE
This pick was a bit of a shocker at first considering there were many talented offensive linemen still on the board. However, Freiermuth is a very good tight end. He can be another guy who can catch passes and his size could make him a run blocker. Freiermuth also used to play basketball so he can use those skills to create space and find footing for blocks. He’s a big target downfield with some speed and he will fight for extra yards on the catch. Although he could be a very good tight he would need to become better at blocking at the NFL level. Freiermuth has pro bowl potential but also has the potential to be a noncontributor in the NFL and for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Round 3 (87)
Kendrick Green – G
Finally: The Steelers’ first offensive linemen taken off the board. Kendrick Green is a very underrated lineman who can play guard or center for Pittsburgh, he is said to be a very physical or “nasty” player. He is very quick off the snap and can accelerate through blocks. The Steelers hope to develop him to block for fellow rookie and Steelers first-round pick, Najee Harris. Although Green shows signs of potential there is still a lot he needs to work on to make an impact. His footwork gets brought up a lot for being too straight-legged, and his shorter arms cause him to overextend which allows the defense to get around easier. There are aspects of the game he needs to work on but he has the mindset of a Pittsburgh Steeler and could very well be another great offensive lineman for Pittsburgh in the future.
Round 4 (128)
Dan Moore Jr – OT
After the Kendrick Green pick in round 3 came another nasty offensive lineman in round 4 by the name of Dan Moore Jr. Moore is an offensive tackle who was a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top OL after the season. Moore is just under 6’6” and ` weighs about 310 lbs and has lots of athletic ability to handle the position. At Texas A&M Moore was a very good run blocker and even said he’d get “excited” when his coach would call a run play. Now Moore along with Green will hopefully block for Najee Harris in the future. One weakness for Moore is he oftentimes doesn’t fully finish his blocks and lacks aggression sometimes. He’s a big athletic guy but he’s full of raw potential. Hopefully, he can develop and become a piece of the Steelers O-Line for the future.
Round 4 (140)
Buddy Johnson – ILB
Out with the Bud, in with the Buddy. The Steelers linebacker corp took a big hit when they lost Bud Dupree to the Titans in free agency. Although Dupree mostly played on the edge, Buddy Johnson is more of an ILB. Johnson is a blue-collar player who does the dirty work to help the defense. He is very durable and has a tough mentality who also has feel for OLB as well as ILB. He was seen as a team leader last year on the Texas A&M defense. One thing he needs to work on is his coverage. Johnson sometimes looks lost in coverage and with play recognition.
Round 5 (156)
Isaiahh Loudermilk – DT
The Steelers made a very questionable move trading a 2022 4th round pick for the pick to draft Isaiahh Loudermilk. Steelers drafted Loudermilk because of his size and the hole in the position. He is a big guy standing at 6’7” and 274 lbs which is a little light for the position but easy to build up. His height makes him very good at batting down balls over the middle despite his shorter arms, and his long frame makes it easier to drive off of his legs with more power. Loudermilk, like Buddy Johnson, is another guy who can do the dirty work for the defense.
Round 6 (216)
Quincy Roche – DE
Quincy Roche is a guy who could’ve been off the board very much sooner than round 6. Seeing his name there in round 6 was a nice surprise for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His slim upper body makes it awkward for linemen to block him on the edge. This could be good to get QB hits on their blindside, as Roche also likes to force and recover fumbles. He’s not very explosive but that could easily change and be one of the strong points of his game. If the Quincy Roche pick works out this could be one of the steals of the draft.
Round 7 (245)
Tre Norwood – CB
With the Steelers’ first selection of the final round, they selected Tre Norwood out of Oklahoma. Norwood, although a CB in college, would probably be more of a safety in the NFL if he were to make the roster. His lack of athleticism and speed will make it hard for him to cover NFL wide receivers. He could also use some more work with tackling as he is very inconsistent and doesn’t often finish his tackles. Don’t be shocked if Norwood isn’t even on the final roster for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Round 7 (254)
Pressley Harvin III – P
There’s been a lot of mixed reactions about this pick but I like it a lot. Although current Steelers punter Jordan Berry has been with the team since 2015, he’s never really been an amazing punter. Harvin weighs in at 260 lbs and was the highest-ranked punter in this draft as he won the Ray Guy Award for college football’s best punter. On top of that Harvin has a very good throwing arm and that is important because HC Mike Tomlin likes to run a fake now and then. He also has some speed to make downfield tackles on returns. He has power, he can hit the coffin corners, he has an arm, he has speed, why not take a chance late in the 7th round on a position that could use an upgrade?
In the end, it is still only May and we really won’t have an idea of how good these players will be until at least the end of the next year. For now, we can look forward to seeing these rookies show their talents in the NFL and hopefully one day lead the Steelers to ring number seven.