There’s always so much to talk about at the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the black and gold inquiries are definitely evolving, especially this week as the guesswork goes on with little action more than anything. It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be a-ha’s timeless No. 1 hit from 1985, “Take On Me”.
Here is an example of this great single …
So needless to say
I am trifles
I’ll stumble away
Learning slowly that life is okay
Repeat after me
It’s no better to be on the safe side
Accept me (accept me)
Accept me (accept me)
I will be gone
In a day or two
Oh the things that you say
Is it live or
Just to play away my worries
You are all I need to remember
You are afraid
I’ll come for you anyway
You can ponder the meaning or wonder if they are really related here. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to hear great 80s techno pop from Norway. But there is certainly much to be wondered at. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant questions in advance. Take a look at some bold statements about this and more as we call them fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time can tell.
The Steelers will likely trade in for Justin Fields in the first round
It was reported this week that the Steelers are very interested in Justin Fields. The interest would have to be so great that Kevin Colbert and Company would have to be interested in the possibility of exchanging the draft for the quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Now it is not out of the question that Black and Gold will trade current and future picks in order to slide up and take a player they covet very much. It didn’t happen until 2019, when franchisees traded 19 a second and 20 a third to select Devin Bush Jr. However, Bush was chosen to meet an immediate need and because he could get started right away. The quarterback position in 2021 is not as urgent as other positions like center and rewind. I see Fields as the fourth best quarterback in the draft class, and I can’t see the Steelers shedding valuable draft capital to renew with Ben Roethlisberger. But with Matt Canada’s offense, Justin could be the ideal quarterback of the future and the Steelers could start the future now instead of giving No. 7 the help he needs now.
It’s okay to take a rewind on the first round
Before, the first round of the entry draft was littered with top-notch running backs. But that has changed quite a bit in the new millennium. In the last ten drafts, only six rushers have made it into the top ten, and only 12 were selected in the first round. Last year, LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Hellaire barely made it on day one when he was tipped off by Kansas City in the final first-round pick. In the second round of last year’s draft, Johnathan Taylor (35) was the standout D’Andre Swift (35) 41), Cam Akers (52) and JK Dobbins (55) went between 32 and 55. The earliest case that the Steelers in Choosing a back last decade was in 2013 when they snapped Le’Veon Bell in the second round with the 48th vote overall. Even if there is a value in the third and fourth round with runners like Trey Sermon, Kenneth Gainwell, Rhamondre Stevenson and Chubba Hubbard (to name a few) … the trio of Travis Etienne, Najee Harris and Javonte Williams seems ready to start its week one and could be a game breaker. They could all potentially be won in the second round, but they are very unlikely to persist if the Steelers make the next pick at 55. The needs in the middle and the offensive tackles are great, I know that. But it all depends on how badly the Steelers want those named positions. You could still get a very good OT in round 2 and could very well get a blockbuster center in round 3. But the front office has to find out which of these guys they want the most and they don’t care which round they pick him up. regardless of whether it is no longer a typical position in round 1.
Cornerback is now high on the priority list
I’ve read many posts on live chat and in comments where the author expressed how dismayed they would be if the Steelers defended themselves with their top picks. I understand how urgent the need for offensive players is in this draft. I just went over the top in the previous listing. Joe Haden won’t be around for long though as this is the final season of his contract and Steven Nelson is gone. That leaves Cameron Sutton, James Pierre and Justin Layne. Sutton has the most experience with the trio but still hasn’t amassed much time due to the presence of Hayden and Nelson. I know the Steelers have the stigma of not drawing the corner position well, but we’re forgetting about some decent selections like William Gay, Keenan Lewis, and Sutton. If the Steelers were to draw in the top 10 year after year, they would be better able to draw in that particular position. But I also know that I find it difficult to discuss this point with a lot of people. However, if the right player is available, the Steelers front office will have to keep trying.
The back trade is fine, but ideally not from the first round
I’m definitely on Team Trade Back, but as deep as this draft is in places … the Steelers don’t want to fall too far behind. The main reason for this is because the fifth year option that comes with a first round selection is so critical. In addition, the Steelers don’t want to forego a possible immediate starter and franchise player. Of course you could get into the second or another round. But if the Steelers could make another choice in the second round (which is hard to come by) or a third (more realistic) choice, they could certainly achieve many of their goals in the 2021 draft. What I would really like to see is a selection for the fifth round. Since they lost one in the Chris Wormley trade last year (they finished sixth in the same trade, however), they will be left without a selection for a long time on day three. I’m still into trading, but only if it’s done strategically. The Tampa Bay deal that could use a rewind could give the Steelers the # 32 and # 64 that go with their 55th place.
Character problems aren’t that big of a deal when it comes to designing perspectives
Jeff Hartman mentioned this on The Steelers Preview the other day, and I got a chance to really think about it. Character problems are actually a huge deal when a player is selected in a round. Even those with great talent suffer from their suspensions in the field. Josh Gordon wasn’t the same when he finally got back, and neither was Martavis Bryant really. Bryant was a first-round talent that fell to the Steelers in the fourth round. I don’t think they would make that choice again if they knew what would lead to his trade. Sure, problems can also find a player with no problems. Randy Gregory and Shane Ray come to mind as guys who dropped out due to problems off the field and never lived up to their talent. Now there are many you could bring up despite red flags that were blooming. But the bottom line remains that file errors can become headaches that franchisees cannot fix.
Check Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics and their status. Head into this week’s game and hear more about the player below.