Steelers Wrap Up Their Draft Class With Day Three Haul

The Pittsburgh Steelers tripled their draft class on day three of the 2014 NFL Draft, selecting six players in the final four rounds to go along with ILB Ryan Shazier, DE Stephon Tuitt, and RB Dri Archer taken in the first three rounds.

On day three, the team started out by filling holes with prospects of value with upside. In round four, they were fortunate enough to see wide receiver Martavis Bryant still on the board, and they did not hesitate to draft him.

Bryant was reportedly one of the three players that the Steelers were considering with their third-round compensatory selection, the others being Donte Moncrief, who went off the board, and, of course, Archer.

To come away with two of the three picks that you valued at 97 is obviously a win. And adding a talented 6’4” receiver, as raw as he might be, adds another dimension to Ben Roethlisberger’s offense, one that has been lacking since Plaxico Burress left in free agency in 2005.

While the front office and coaching staff disagreed with the suggestion, many outside the organization believed that cornerback was the Steelers’ biggest need entering the draft, and round five was at long last the spot at which the position was addressed, with the selection of Shaquille Richardson.

By no means the perfect prospect, Richardson possesses both good height for the position and quality athleticism. He can cover in press and has modest ball skills. While he favors the outside, he can also play inside. The Steelers haven’t always had success with fifth-round cornerbacks, but Richardson has the potential to stick around, especially given the depth issues projected at the position in 2015.

Though not necessarily a need, the Steelers didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to add a versatile offensive lineman, drafting Wesley Johnson in the fifth round to give Mike Munchak his first fresh prospect.

Though primarily a tackle in college, he has also started at guard and center. He will push some of the veteran reserves on the roster, particularly Guy Whimper, and produce some healthy competition in camp.

On to the sixth round, the Steelers found that they could only fight their nature for so long, drafting another linebacker in Jordan Zumwalt. It seemed he was the highest remaining player on their board by a good while at that point, and they couldn’t pass it up, despite the fact that the inside linebacker position already includes Lawrence Timmons, Sean Spence, Vince Williams, and Shazier.

Their compensatory pick in the sixth round can be summed up with two phrases uttered in the post-draft press conference: “a size prospect” and “an obstruction”. Those words certainly accurately portray Daniel McCullers, or “Ton DMC”, a 6’7”, 350+ lbs. nose tackle, who will most certainly be a project.

Like Al Woods last season, Cam Thomas will likely be asked to fulfill the primary responsibilities of the backup nose tackle in 2014, though I anticipate that McCullers should replace Hebron Fangupo as the big body in the pipeline. Because if there’s one thing he is, it’s a big, big body.

The Steelers used their final pick to address the tight end position with Rob Blanchflower, an intriguing prospect that should have a good chance of competing in training camp. Since2008, the seventh round has been the team’s target to find developmental tight ends.

Blanchflower is the third in that line, which also includes David Paulson and David Johnson. Blanchflower could be the best of the three.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Birdman

    Really happy with this draft. I give it an A.

    Brrrrr

  • Matthew Suloman

    I agree

  • Steel LJ

    I love it… Never thought CB was a big need but next year it’s a must have need front 7 should be good for awhile I hope

  • steeltown

    Blanchflower will be better than DJ or Paulson

  • Rubem Dornas

    I hope so. Neither DJ or Paulson have convinced me.

  • John Fraraccio

    I think the “sneaky good” label placed on the first two draft days applies just as well today. Can’t shake the feeling ##4 on down are projects and that’s precisely what the management wants. Johnson and Blanchflower especially get my attention; if they get good they can be REAL good. Hat’s off to all. Now let’s get to work.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Here’s the thing…

    We had so many holes that, no matter how the draft fell, there were going to be 2 or 3 positions that were not addressed adequately. We had to pick our poison. And that poison turned out to be CB, OLB, and TE. We will have to wait until next year to solve those problems.

    The good news is we completely rebuilt our DL for many years to come.
    Heyward and Tuitt as starting DE’s with Arnfelt as Williams as back ups. (A+)
    McClendon as starting NT with McCullers as back up and future starter? (B+)
    And Cam Thomas to serve as swing man until our young guys are ready. (B)

    The other good news is that we are now stacked at ILB. Not only are they young and fast, they will be able to make even more plays behind our upgraded DL.
    Timmons and Shazier as starting ILB’s with Williams and Spence behind. (A+)

    And the last good news is that our young WR/weapons have as much speed/quickness as any team in the league. Look at our 40 times:
    Brown (4.57) Wheaton (4.45) Bryant (4.42) Archer (4.26)
    And all of them are quick in short areas as well (even Bryant for his size).

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Having said that…

    I’m not impressed with the Richardson, Zumwalt, Blanchflower picks.

    We should’ve traded all of them to move up and grab one good CB.

  • Paddy

    I think they did well, got maximum value.

  • Jacob Dixon

    Pass rush was a more important worry than corner

  • steeltown

    A.Brown runs 4.47 all day and Wheaton has been clocked unofficially in the high 4.37-4.39 range, we’re lucky he didn’t run that at the combine or he would’ve been drafted way earlier.

  • steeltown

    As much as I wanted Desir or Aikens, I like the Richardson pick regardless. My mid-late Rd guys were Desir, Aikens, Cockrell and Richardson and to be honest I really like the Zumwalt and BFlower picks. I think Zumwalt is a special player and BFlower is the type of TE that I like, aggressive run blocker first and foremost and then also an accomplished receiver. Hopefully we can put to rest the Paulson experiment

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Brilliant draft! My buddy and I have already worked out a great trade. He’s a Fins fan and we figured we can trade an ILB for 1 of their OLB’s. Both teams are stacked at those respective positions. Call the GM’s.

    I just thought of something: After Munchack gets these guys going we will have tons of great O linemen, so we should be able to trade for 1 of their many CB’s, as they have a good young crop.

  • dave

    Exactly- I agree 100% – you can’t fix everything in one draft. Sure, I wish they had gotten more help at CB, but I like going best available instead of need.
    They really solidified the defensive front 7 with Shazier and Tuitt- (and maybe McCullers if he pans out, Zumwalt maybe another solid backup), they added some offensive weapons with Archer and Bryant, maybe they get lucky and Shaq Richardson develops into a solid CB.
    Added a lot of speed overall.

  • Cody Younkin

    Love what we got out of the draft.
    An ILB that can has the speed to take away mismatches
    DE that can take over for the next 10 years
    A true OW/Returner/COP back
    Tall WR that gives our red zone offense another dimension
    5 position depth guy on the OLine
    Mammoth NT prospect
    Solid depth/project TE
    A Hard Hitting depth LB that can contribute on special teams
    A CB with potential, that can fit our zone scheme.

    I know that no shutdown corner was found but these are the building blocks of a younger, faster, better defense. and to fortify an offense that began to click in the back half of the season.

    Also wanted to congratulate my old high school brothers Shaq and Jordan for getting drafted to the Steelers!!! God has blessed you both, and congrats on your achievements!!!

  • Rosco

    Didnt David Johnson sign elsewhere?Chargers I believe..?

  • shawn

    i agree with u on those picks … we should have traded up and got some better talent ..

  • shawn

    Is that really Brown’s 40 time ???? That is so not indicative of his speed … he is very quick ..wow thats surprising … but just like Archer … there is no way he is a 4.26 player on the field … he is solid 4.1

    40 times in underwear sometimes can be worthless

  • stellarsfan

    I agree. He had injury issues that limited his production last season but if he is past it, he has potential. The little tape I’ve seen on blanchflower is actually pretty impressive. Plus, come on, what a fantastic last name.

  • ApexSteel

    I agree with ya playboy.

  • Ike Evans

    Why critique something you can’t possibly know….how do you know they didn’t try to trade? You don’t…..I don’t like the richardson and zumwalt picks either tho but I would have argued about taking other guys

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That’s a good point. I didn’t want to post “rumored” times, but Brown and Wheaton appear to run much faster than their pro day times.

    In a 4 WR spread (Brown, Wheaton, Bryant, Archer) there is no team in the league who can run with those guys.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Here are three thoughts that will help ease the blow…

    1) When you are strong and fast up the middle (DL, ILB) it forces defenses to throw/run outside. That is a huge benefit to our CB’s. Less found to cover and they can use the sideline. We can get by with lesser corners for one more year.

    2) We need a 1st or 2nd round type talent at CB. A guy who can come in and start right away and dominate for years to come. Once we selected Shazier and Tuitt the “great” CBs were gone. It was only “good” ones left. Next year we will draft a “great” CB.

    3) There are still free agent options and trade options and roster cut options in our future. Just not right now today.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Is will johnson still on the team

  • steeltown

    Yep, we carried 4TEs and WJ (as the Fullback) last season because Miller and Spaeths rehab/injuries. With those two healthy again, I think we’ll carry 3TEs and WJ and hopefully BFlower is the 3rd TE behind Miller and Spaeth. I think he provides much more upside that Paulson and Palmer