National Media Grade, React to Steelers 2020 Draft Class

Media outlets through the country grade and react to the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2020 draft haul.
Author:
Publish date:

It's always easier after the fact, isn't it? To put virtual pen to paper and react to decisions that are heavily debated with a ticking clock on their final outcome. The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the national media has begun to assess each team's draft haul.

With just six picks total and no first-round pick, the Steelers draft is indeed a difficult one to measure. Chase Claypool was certainly a surprise pick, while Pittsburgh added depth throughout the roster for the rest of the draft. 

Some analysts were quick to point out the value of Pittsburgh's second fourth-round pick, offensive guard Kevin Dotson.  

Others were praising Pittsburgh's third-round selection, Charlotte's Alex Highsmith.

With teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys receiving high praise for the draft efforts, where do the Steelers rank in all the madness? 

What the national media is saying (and grading) about Pittsburgh's draft:

ESPN's Mel Kiper

Draft Grade: B-

What they said: "I would have loved to have seen Pittsburgh take Jalen Hurts to sit behind the 38-year-old Roethlisberger and take over in a couple of years, but it went the opposite route of the Packers and drafted a wide receiver to help Big Ben and the offense... Outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (102) is a great fit as an outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 defense, and they even took two Maryland guys in running back Anthony McFarland Jr. (124) and safety Antoine Brooks Jr. (198). McFarland has some durability issues but stellar straight-line speed, and he'll fit a need if he can stay on the field. All in all, Fitzpatrick saves this class from a C."

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco

Draft Grade: B-

What they said: "Fourth-round guard Kevin Dotson will become a good player. He is a tough, physical guard who can maul people at the point of attack. I didn't love the pick of Chase Claypool in the second round. It's hard to argue with their receiver picks based on recent history, but this isn't one I love. They traded away their first-round pick to land safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, which was a good move. I didn't love the Claypool pick, but I did like Dotson and third-round linebacker Alex Highsmith."

NFL.com's Chad Reuter

Draft Grade: A- 

What they said: "Last year's trade with Miami for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was worth the first-round pick it cost. And I liked the decisions to add Claypool at receiver and Highsmith as depth at edge rusher with their second- and third-round picks, respectively. That's a solid couple of days for GM Kevin Colbert. Colbert went with another mid-round back in McFarland after using similar picks on James Conner (No. 105 overall, 2017), Jaylen Samuels (No. 165, 2018), and Benny Snell (No. 122, 2019) the past three seasons... Dotson gives the team depth for now, and could develop into a future starter at guard down the line. The team needed a nose tackle and Davis fits that bill well."

FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere

Draft Grade: D

What they said: "If you’ve followed my draft coverage, you’d know that Claypool isn’t someone I liked, especially knowing he would go inside the top three rounds. Highsmith in the third round was a reach, as there were some good edge rushers on the board at that time. McFarland should be a fun player to watch in Pittsburgh, but his selection also makes the draft pick they used on Jaylen Samuels to seem useless. There’s not a signature player from this draft that I can see being an impact player for them, though Dotson could be a piece on their offensive line."

Pro Football Focus

Draft Grade: B-

What they said: "There was a lot of discussion of the Steelers going running back with their Round 2 selection, but they made the right call here by going with a player who can win downfield instead... Highsmith was listed in the PFF Draft Guide as lead draft analyst Mike Renner’s sleeper in this edge class, and the back end of Round 3 is about where he was slated to come off the board... Dotson has the strength to stick at guard in the NFL, but pass protection will be a concern from the jump. He's a late-rounder you hope can make considerable strides with NFL coaching."

Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm

Draft Grade: B-

What they said: "Factor in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade, plus the move up to land Devin Bush a year ago, and this draft class already has paid big dividends. Landing an athletic playmaker and special-teams demon in Claypool was a smart first pick, and Highsmith is a fascinating project. This class isn’t sexy but we’re fans of most of what Kevin Colbert and crew accomplished."

Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit

Draft Grade: C

What they said: "Pittsburgh’s first-round pick is already a success considering it was dealt last year for Pro Bowl free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. That takes a bit of the sting out of the possibility that no one from this draft class will make major contributions in 2020. The guy with the best chance to prove this wrong is Chase Claypool... As for top defensive pick Alex Highsmith, with T.J. Watt aboard and Bud Dupree a somewhat surprising franchise tag recipient, it’s clear the Steelers are drafting for depth at outside linebacker, both now and for the future."

Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom

Draft Grade: D-

What they said: "If you understood what Pittsburgh was doing, fill me in."

Other Steelers Draft Grades

Bleacher Report: C

USA Today: B+

Fox: B

Sporting News: B