The Steelers won the AFC North for the second straight year in 2017, but failed to reach the conference championship game for a second time in as many years as they were bounced from the playoffs at home in the divisional round.
Pittsburgh went 13-3 in 2017 and missed out on the top seed in the AFC due to a tiebreaker with the Patriots. Despite having one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, the Steelers will go into 2018 with a new offense coordinator after parting ways with Todd Haley once his contract expired at the end of last season.
Running back Le'Veon Bell was placed on the franchise tag for the second straight season; elsewhere, Martavis Bryant caused headlines all throughout the season, but the Steelers quieted that noise by shipping the wideout to Oakland on draft day in exchange for a third round pick.
Here's the full list of picks the Steelers hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 28 (No. 28 overall)
Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
Pittsburgh’s biggest need was inside linebacker, but four were already off the board when the Steelers’ pick arose. Instead they went safety, a position more teams are employing instead of linebacker. Expect this defense to be a dime, not nickel, unit in passing situations, which means Edmunds, Sean Davis and free agent pickup Morgan Burnett all on the field with just one linebacker. The Steelers did this a few years ago when their depth at linebacker was lacking. As far as what Edmunds means long-term, that remains to be seen. Burnett is not yet 30 and is on a financially friendly three-year deal. Davis, whose rookie deal expires after 2019, has not developed as much as hoped, but the coaching staff believes he can become a big-time centerfielder. He’ll likely be playing that spot now that Mike Mitchell is gone.
Scouting Report: The older brother of stud linebacker prospect Tremaine Edmunds, Terrell isn’t the kind of physical specimen his brother is, but he’s a size/speed prospect with good upside in this DB class. He has the loose hips and quick feet to move down and match up man-to-man with tight ends and big slot receivers, and is an aggressive (if inconsistent) tackler when filling in against the run. He’s raw, too often failing to locate the ball in coverage and running himself out of plays when coming downhill, but he clearly has the athletic traits to become a versatile and valuable starter if coached up.
Round 2, Pick 28 (No. 60 overall): James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Andy Benoit's grade: C+
Washington has to be better than Martavis Bryant for this pick to fully pan out. Off the field, that’s easy. On the field, it’s hard. Washington is a vertical receiver, which the Steelers covet opposite Antonio Brown and dynamic possession man JuJu Smith-Schuster. With Darrius Heyward-Bey (another speedster) and Justin Hunter on the roster, Washington doesn’t necessarily have to contribute right away, though as a second-rounder on a Super Bowl-ready team, you hope he can.
Round 3, Pick 12 (No. 76 overall) [via Seattle]: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Andy Benoit's grade: C
If the Steelers really thought Rudolph were a likely replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, they would have drafted him with their late first-round pick—or at least their late second-rounder. Instead, they see Rudolph as a POTENTIAL replacement, meaning they’ve gambled a third-round pick to maybe catch lightning in a bottle. And that might be all this is—a gamble—since last year’s fourth-round selection of Joshua Dobbs, theoretically, took care of the long-term backup QB situation. Then again, Dobbs may have to fight for a roster spot now, considering Landry Jones (in a contract year) gives the Steelers an immediate backup, and Rudolph now gives them four QBs.
Round 3, Pick 28 (No. 92 overall): ChuksOkorafor, OT, Western Michigan
Andy Benoit's grade: B
It’s surprising the Steelers haven’t taken a swing or two for a true inside linebacker, which was their only obvious need entering this draft. But that’s not to say this is a bad pick—Okorafor brings depth to offensive tackle, which the Steelers have found valuable in recent years, playing Chris Hubbard as a sixth offensive lineman and using him as a fill-in when Marcus Gilbert has been out.
Round 5, Pick 11 (No. 148 overall): Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
Round 5, Pick 28 (No. 165 overall): Jaylen Samuels, RB, North Carolina State
Round 7, Pick 28 (No. 246 overall): Joshua Frazier, DL, Alabama