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:
|62||WR||JuJu Smith-Schuster||Southern California|
|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.