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Marino | Pittsburgh Steelers draft class reaction

APR 27 2017 NFL Draft
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Marino | Pittsburgh Steelers draft class reaction

Over the course of May, both Kyle Crabbs and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:

Selection Position Player School
30 EDGE TJ Watt Wisconsin
62 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Southern California
94 CB Cameron Sutton Tennessee
105 RB James Conner Pittsburgh
135 QB Josh Dobbs Tennessee
173 CB Brian Allen Utah
213 LS Colin Holba Louisville
248 EDGE Keion Adams Western Michigan

Best Value:  EDGE TJ Watt, Wisconsin

A converted tight end, T.J. Watt has transitioned seamlessly to outside linebacker. While he needs to add bulk and power to his lower half, his hand technique and feel for defending the run is outstanding. His motor is among the best I have seen and he is relentless working to the football.

As a pass rusher, Watt wins with aggression and hand technique. He can work angles, attack gaps, and utilize his length to get to the quarterback. His hands are violent and he knows how to use them to play through blocks, locate the football, and finish. Watt should be an early starter.

Worst Value:  QB Josh Dobbs, Tennessee

The obvious choice is the long snapper drafted at 213 but I do not evaluate snappers so Dobbs was the biggest negative deviation from my board.

Dobbs offers developmental upside, as he has baseline ability to facilitate the offense mixed with tremendous skills on the hoof.

The Volunteers’ system has done little to prepare Dobbs for the next level, as most of his throws were schemed or predetermined with basic concepts attached to the routes. He was not asked to work progressions or react to the looks the defense was presenting to him.

Dobbs needs to improve the consistency of his mechanics, specifically in the lower half, where the platforms he builds lack rhythm and consistency. If that can be fixed, then his accuracy concerns should also improve. Dobbs has a lot of work ahead of him, but he offers a playmaking skill set if everything comes together.

Could Surprise:  WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

JuJu Smith-Schuster profiles as a secondary receiver who can win in a possession manner. Smith-Schuster runs physical routes and regularly breaks through contact in the contact window. He wins at the catch point by out-muscling opponents and is able to climb the ladder for the ball with good concentration.

His NFL upside would be far greater if he demonstrated more burst out of his breaks and had the play speed to create separation. The physicality with which he wins at the catch point and aggressively attacks the football makes him a potential number two receiver.

RELATED: Crabbs | Pittsburgh Steelers draft class reaction

RELATED: Crabbs | TJ Watt is a first round pass rushing prospect

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Joe Marino

Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. A member of the FWAA, Marino writes about the NFL, College Football and NFL Draft for FanRag Sports.

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