After a very successful first two days of the 2017 NFL draft, the Steelers went into day three looking to finish strong, landing a 6’3″/215lb corner, a feisty outside linebacker, a long snapper, and a rocket scientist, yes, a rocket scientist. Maybe besides being a quarterback, the Steelers for looking for some extra help with their recent transportation issues as well. While it’s impossible to put an accurate grade on any draft for at least three years, on paper at least, the Steelers deserve, at worst, a B+ for their efforts in the war room. Once again they managed to draft size, athleticism, and speed, and should expect a few of these picks to be able to contribute early on.
4th Rd – Josh Dobbs (QB – Tenn)
Of the quarterbacks left on the board when it was their turn to pick in the fourth round, the Steelers were the most sold Josh Dobbs of the Tennessee Vols, and his combination of intelligence, size, and athleticism. The biggest concern with Dobbs is his completion percentage, which he raised this past season to 63%, up from 59% the year prior. While it’s been said he needs to cut down on his interceptions, in two full seasons as a starter, his final two years, he had a solid touchdown to interception ratio of 42:17. Make no mistake, Dobbs wasn’t drafted to be Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement, but what he represents, is an intriguing option if Ben goes out for a few games.
5th Rd – Brian Allen (CB – Utah)
For the last couple of years, the Steelers have made a concerted effort to bring more size to the secondary, adding Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Ross Cockrell, all of whom are at least six feet tall. With the selection of Utah cornerback Brian Allen, the Steelers got even bigger. At 6’3″/215lbs, Allen represents the biggest cornerback that Pittsburgh has drafted since Mel Blount. Allen, who converted from wide receiver, has shown pretty decent coverage skills despite his inexperience, and finished his final collegiate season with four interceptions. With 4.4 speed, and good ball skills, Carnell Lake will have a lot to work with when it comes to Allen. Due to Brian Allen’s inexperience, Lake will basically be starting with a clean slate, as Allen hasn’t played the position long enough to have developed any deeply engrained bad habits.
6th Rd – Colin Holba (LS – Louisville)
Colin Holba didn’t play football during his senior year of high school, and on top of that, he failed in his first attempt to make the Louisville football team as a walk-on. Holba decided to try again as a long snapper, and became one of the most efficient in the country at doing so. As a result of his hard work, he became one of the few long snappers to have ever gotten drafted as a long snapper. For those who scoff at the pick, remember what happened when James Harrison had to long snap? Brought in to give Greg Warren, entering his 13th season, a little competition, Colin Holba has a better than even shot at making the roster if he performs equal to Warren during training camp.
7th Rd – Keion Adams (LB – Western Michigan)
Keion Adams was the Steelers final pick in the draft and could end up being a great value. He attacks the run with a vengeance and usually takes the quickest route to the ball. A perfect fit in a 3-4 defense, the 6’2″/245lbs Adams is very quick, light on his feet. When pass rushing, Keion possesses a wicked interior spin move, but that’s about all he’s got. At least he has James Harrison and Joey Porter around to watch and learn from. Adams had 7.5 sacks last year, and whiffed on quite a few more from taking the long route to the quarterback rather than working his way inside. Even so, on a lot of his whiffs, he still managed to disrupt quite a few plays. If he can clean his technique up and develop a couple of more moves, the Steelers may have found themselves a real 7th round gem in Keion Adams.
It’s hard to believe after all of the waiting and anticipation, that another NFL Draft has come and gone. All that means though, is that OTA’s and training camp is just around the corner, and soon after that, it will be football season once again. With another solid draft under their belts, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have added eight new players that all have the potential to make it through to the regular season. Whether they all make it or not, there should be quite a few interesting camp battles to say the least. For sure though, the best part of camp will be watching James Conner runing wearing the Black ‘n’ Gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers.