2017 Offseason Questions: What One Rookie Would You Give Steelers To Help In 2017?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Which any one player in the upcoming draft would most be of benefit to the Steelers in 2017?

Be forewarned, we’re about to get into major hypothetical territory.

Not that that is anything uncommon in the football community in the down time between the Super Bowl and the draft. Mock drafts mark the lay of the land up and down the coast and everywhere in between, and all of them are inevitably wrong. The day somebody actually gets it right is probably the day the sun annihilates the planet several billion years from now.

But anyway, on to the topic. The Steelers may be picking 30th in this draft, and they may ostensibly hold to the best player available philosophy, but in this scenario, there are two ground rules: any draft-eligible player is fair game, and it must be a player who will make an immediate impact.

A hot topic for a couple of years now—really, at least half a decade if we want to get technical—has been the Steelers’ ‘championship window’ and how soon it might be closing. What with a certain quarterback more openly discussing life after football this offseason, the window seems to be far closer to the sill than it ever has before.

So with that in mind, we are either entering a phase in which the Steelers are more heavily weighing the abilities of players to contribute right away, either based on their personal level of readiness or on the availability of playing time based on the makeup of the roster—or the past few drafts have simply been one big coincidence.

Now that the stage has been set, it’s time to answer the question. If you could add any player coming out in this draft with the objective of helping the Steelers win the Super Bowl during the 2017 season, what would your selection be? Feel free to offer multiple names if you don’t feel like saying Myles Garrett.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Bruce

    I don’t think just 1 player could make the Steelers instant champions, but if talking pure fantasy Myles Garrett would be an immediate upgrade at pass rush, with that said – we still need someone to shut down the slot or tightend position. maybe a Jamal Adams type player!

  • falconsaftey43

    Myles Garrett is the obvious answer. Best player in the draft and biggest need on the team. If you want to go a different route, Lattimore could lock down one side of the field (although he’s had nagging injuries). Adams and Foster are also tremendous players that’d make a huge difference.

  • Jaybird

    I think Garrett is the choice most would take , myself included. But how about trading him for multiple picks . Then we get a couple of highly rated DB’ s and still get a decent edge rusher. This is a great draft to have extra draft picks.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Reddick or shaheen. Both would instantly upgrade their position big time.

  • Steve Johnson

    The Steelers two biggest needs of course is on Defense, Pass Rush & Secondary. Myles Garrett, Obi Melofonwu or Marlon Humphrey. For years now that team has had issues covering TE’s in the middle of the field. Since they are picking at #30, if Obi M. or a top rated CB/DB like Humphrey is sitting there, I think that would be the best pick to help them get back to the playoffs and put them over the edge. Could Kevin King fall to # 30?

  • Michael James

    Let’s not overthink this, Garrett is obviously the best bet right now.

  • RickM

    Garrett makes the most sense talent-wise. Based on his interviews he may want the sun, moon and stars in his second contract. But with the Ben window closing as you pojnt out, I think you ignore that possibility and pick him.

    If it’s non-Garrett, I go Barnett with Lattimore a close second. I like the way Barnett dominated at Tennessee despite all the attention paid to him.

  • Andrew

    In all seriousness, If Obi is there he should be the pick. We can get a quality OLB in the second. Obi tested well and has decent stats to back him up. He is a better Byron Jones in that sense. He can be all over the field his rookie year, and can grow into a starting roll. Unless a different top talent falls, he is my guy.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Budda Baker will make an impact as a slot corner day one. He’s a sound tackler, he blows up plays, and he’s great in coverage! Idk man!

  • capehouse

    Surprised no one said OJ Howard yet. Ben would lol.

  • Randy

    Budda Baker play nickel and centerfield

  • falconsaftey43

    Bet you didnt know Steelers gave up the 6th fewest yards to WRs and 2nd fewest TDs.

    However they gave up the 11th most yards and TDs to TEs and 4th most receiving yards and TDs to RBs. That points to needing better LB and S play, not CBs. Give me Jamal Adams.

  • Aj Gentile

    Garrett for the push rush. But I would go with Adams for covering tight ends.

  • Ed Smith

    👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I’m with you!! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  • Matt Correll

    Clearly Garrett would meet a huge need, and is the best in the class, so I’ll echo everyone else in saying he would make a big impact. I do think that a true play maker and inspirational leader is missing on this defense. In the past we have had guys like Joey Porter who was both, or a guy like Troy who led by example, and at his best could take control of a game with his athleticism and instincts. I have heard some scouts compare Jamal Adams to Troy in terms of his play making ability, and he apparently is a great vocal leader as well. I think he could help give this defense an identity, make big plays, and fill some obvious needs as well.

  • Ed Smith

    Too smal. What’s he like 5’9″-10″? Up against 6’6″-7″ TE (insert Gronk here), no way.
    Obi! 6’3″ and can track with tall TE’s

  • Applebite

    Long, lean and mean. Can whoop you on the left, on the right, up the middle and in front of yo’ momma on Sundays too. Plays 0, 1, 2, 3, and 5, and jokingly thinks he can play safety too. And would serve well to give Tuitt and Heyward some rest here and there, for the perfect rotation.

    But it ain’t Myles Garrett, I’m talking about here.

    For as freakish of a player Myles is, he’s not doing it like Malik McDowell, who brings a bucket full of whoop ass for whomever has the ball in their hands.

    Michigan St lined him up like an OLB one time, and the burst he showed off the ball for a man his size was nothing short of amazing. Some thinks he’s a DT, but in the league, hes’ a DE. Be it 4-3 or 3-4, it won’t matter with McDowell. He gives you options on defense that few others will, because of his size, speed and power, plus violence. You looking for a return to the Steel Curtain? You need the One Man Sparta 300.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Bill Bellicheck

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Size doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t tackle or can’t cover. When will you ever learn? You see how Earl Thomas broke Gronk’s back? I’m just saying.

  • Weaser3655

    Jamel Adams, Obi, or Baker. Id like all of ump

  • Shane Mitchell

    Was Troy too small? Budda is the same size.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    That’s Bell-i-cheat

  • Jason Vancil

    I will go a different direction. OJ Howard. 17 points won’t beat the Pats. Defense still needs multiple players. Add an Offensive piece, a complete TE, to Bryant, Brown and Bell. Ben would have no excuses for not scoring 30+ points per game.

  • H.K. northern cali

    Bama TE.

  • Ed Smith

    Buddha is NO Troy…

  • Ed Smith

    Except that Alex K’s profile of Obi indicates he can do both. 5 inches taller in this league makes a ton of difference.

  • Shane Mitchell

    For immediate impact we have to look at the roster, specifically who is coming off the field to get this player on the field and it needs to be at a position where there isnt a big learning curve or a player that has a very high football IQ and instincts for the game. . If we say any edge rusher, well we are taking James Harrison off the field to get a rookie edge rusher on the field, at best that is a wash and likely not a big impact, I can count on one hand the rookie edge rushers that have come into the league and had a major impact year one in the NFL. Even if we could have Myles Garrett as a rookie is he going to be better than James right away, unlikely. IMO.

    So, I am looking at a position that doesnt have a steep learning curve but was a weakness last year, WR. Put a guy like John Ross in the slot and it forces defenses to make an adjustment to their entire defensive game plan defending the Steelers offense. He impacts the game just stepping on the field day 1 as a rookie, I would like to improve the tackling in the secondary but It would still take any player a while before the game slowed down for them on defense to do that.

    So, I am going with the WR and kick returner John Ross for the most immediate and greatest impact on the game day 1.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I know he can, but it’s​ not going to mean Budda is any less of a player! Baker makes plays and he will make an instant impact on defense in the slot, day one!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    He ain’t Troy but his tape looks similar to the way Troy played.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not really, those extra 5 inches are meaningless when he out of position, I will take the guy with the better instincts for the game that will be in position to make more plays over a guy that is taller and faster, for immediate impact.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Didnt say he was Troy said he was the same size, plenty of big fast guys in the league that dont make plays, instincts is what get you in position to do that, Budda is a better football player than Obi

  • Shane Mitchell

    Agreed, havent seen another safety on film that reminds me of Troy as much in years.

  • Applebite

    …he can’t hold Dan Rooney.

  • Luke

    Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams. I think they are 1A,1B as far as being the best play makers on defense in this years draft.

  • Jim Foles

    Could be why the Steelers like Jabrill Peppers.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Malik Hooker

  • Jim Foles

    Hopefully he plays hard all year when the team is 0-5 to start the season.

  • LucasY59

    I like how you are thinking there, Garrett is obvious, but would also be expensive (the #1 rookie contract is big even if it is structured, and keeping him after that will cost a lot as well) getting some more early picks would be great in this yrs draft, but I guess that eliminates the 1 rookie ?…

  • LucasY59

    I want both

  • LucasY59

    Troy was not the same size, almost a 30lb difference, I will agree that Budda can play despite being small, but if Trot was undersized, then Budda is REALLY undersized, still for a slot/deep safety he is a REALLY good player

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh, wow…. A chance to get any one of my draft crushes on the field for Pittsburgh this season?! That would certainly be pretty dreamy. I see the question was set up in a certain way so that one has to think about what position they play, what they would be able to contribute this year, and without much regard for the future after this season. One guy, one shot, to help take us all the way.

    So I guess that kinda comes down to asking: what is our biggest position of need? And will filling that need with any one player, be better than grabbing a weapon that may play elsewhere, but could have a greater impact?

    Maybe it is easier to start backwards and say – what AREN’T our positions of need? I think we can all agree that it isn’t QB. Or the Offensive Line. Or the Defensive Line. And let’s give Fullback its due and say not it. As much as another WR or TE could make a difference, let’s at least agree for now, that it isn’t our biggest need. Same with ILB. And I’d say, same with Safety. So of course that leaves us with RB, OLB, and CB. We happen to have one of the best RB’s starting, so that drops. Is Bud Dupree and James Harrison, a better two-some at their position than Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell (Gay Slot)? I think that is the question to determine, need.

    I went back and forth on this, but when I think about this upcoming year ONLY… I think I still would trust the production from Dupree and Deebo, over Burns and Cockrell. So that would lead one to conclude that CB is the biggest need still.

    HOWEVER, both Burns and Cockrell are sure candidates for playing most of the snaps at their respective spots. I don’t think the same can be said for Harrison. The wild card being the Slot CB position. Gay? Golson? Sensabaugh? Someone else? No one knows. But would one Slot CB be the difference in us making the Super Bowl or not? Likely not. So as much as that spot might just be THE single greatest position of need, I don’t think the available candidates are gonna make the ultimate difference.

    So all that leads us to this: Would drafting Corey Davis, OJ Howard, Christian McCaffrey, or a Slot CB – provide the biggest over-the-hump difference? I don’t think so. Would replacing Ross Cockrell with a Rookie to start opposite Burns, do it? Maybe. Maybe not. Would replacing Deebo with a stud OLB be the difference? Well… actually… I think maybe, YES.

    Best we can hope for, is Deebo to have yet another year, beating down Father Time. But if you watched, we wore the guy down last year, as much as you CAN wear Deebo down. Although I think he has a fine season if we need it this year, I still wonder if it will be ENOUGH. The idea that would could add a player like Myles Garrett… who can play all over. Who can rush the passer. Who can play on his feet. And who can rotate in the majority of the snaps OVER Deebo, so we can keep him as fresh as possible, sounds like the ticket. The thought of having BOTH Dupree and Garrett, wreaking havoc, is EXACTLY what we need. Because again, it serves the purpose of also keeping James fresh.

    Sure, all of that JUST to get to the answer of Myles Garrett. But really, Garrett is that good. And he immediately solves our pass-rushing woes. He’s a beast, who doesn’t have to put his hand down, which for us is obviously huge. He’s big, strong, athletic, smart, versatile, and fits our needs. And not that it necessarily means everything, but he’s the highest rated player in this draft by almost every single persons’ pre-draft metrics. Site after site after site, has him as the best. There are plenty of years where I don’t agree with the pundits on the talent of the top player that they rank. But the only thing that is going to stop Garrett from succeeding, is The Factory of Sadness. And even that, might not be enough to hold him back. We shall see.

  • Darth Blount 47

    *waves magic wand*

    “And both you shall have…”

  • Darth Blount 47

    Lots of bad press starting to build about this guy. You a Spartan fan? Can you provide a bit of objective analysis if you can? I almost didn’t put him in the 1st round in the Friday 5 Questions this week because of that negative press. But ultimately, I think he still goes 1st round on talent and position scarcity.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Kinda surprised you didn’t say Jordan Willis. 🙂

  • Jaybird

    Well we ain’t getting Garrett or the 32 picks that the Browns seem have every year. Let’s hope we make the most of the ones we do have.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not sure I agree that Harrison was worn down last year, he played his best football once they quit with the Jarvis Jones starting nonsense and played him full time, over that stretch he out performed not only Bud Dupree (our own version of Myles Garrett) but our entire OLB core combined statistically. He was the best defensive player on our team and top ten in the NFL at OLB statistically the last 5 games of the year. As much as I like Jordan Willis, I know that he nor any other OLB in this draft is coming into the NFL and going to out perform James Harrison, if he plays like he did at the end of last season. For what it is worth PFF had James Harrison graded as the 67th best player in the NFL last season, if he is producing what do we care how old he is?

    Vonn Miller is the only OLB that has come into the NFL and put up double digit sacks as a rookie in the past decade that I can recall. As much as I like Myles Garrett I dont think he is Vonn Miller, there were games I watched where Garrett had very little impact, their biggest game of the season comes to mind where he was out played by my boy Jordan Willis in the Texas Bowl, Garrett’s complete stat line was 1 tackle, 0 hurries, 0 sacks.

    If we took old man Harrison and played him at the collegiate level last year what do you think he would have done going against college tackles? I would love to see something like this, I would bet he would have been the best defensive player in college football and probably have over 20 sacks for the season, James Harrison wins the Heisman trophy as the best player in college football at age 38, lol, what do you think about that scenario?

  • Shane Mitchell

    Troy was 206lbs when he was drafted, Budda is 195lbs , about 10 lbs difference not 30lbs.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’m not talking mid-season/end, I’m talking playoffs/end.

    Watch him again for instance at the end of the Chiefs playoff game, I think it was. Gasping for air on the sidelines for minutes. If I recall, he couldn’t gather himself to get back on the field for a series. Matt even wrote an article afterwards saying he was “gassed.”

    Now yes, that was because he was running up and down the field. And yes, Deebo is borderline super-human, so EVERYONE deserves a freakin’ break now and then, even a Terminator, lol. But Father Time IS undefeated. And with each passing year, if we’re dealing in probability, probability says that this happens more and more to the once mighty (still damn mighty) Silverback.

    I think a direct correlation can be made that James played his best football of the year late, BECAUSE he didn’t have to play fully the first half. He was fresh. Fresh like a 38 year old (very soon to be 39) needs to be.

    I could cherry pick plenty of games for plenty of guys and then exclaim, “See! Look how they aren’t as good as people think!” But if you don’t think Myles Garrett is a beast, I don’t know what you are watching/looking at. Like you, I love me some Jordan Willis. But if I get my singular choice of anybody to come play OLB for this team, it’s Myles Garrett. Hands down. Easy choice. Lot’s of people think that Garrett started to ease down on the gas, since his team wasn’t a championship contender, and he knew he was looking at potentially costing himself the number 1 overall pick in the dream of the NFL. Now we’ll never know if that is true or not. But if it is, sure it is debatable the merits of such a decision.

    Asking me would I like to see James Harrison go out and dominate some 19 year old Tackles, is like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course I would! I’d buy tickets to that show! But I also know that there are plenty of Tackles at the NCAA level that would pancake Deebo to the ground. And at the very least, be able to contain him. Maybe not any 19 year olds… but certainly there are some Junior/Seniors who could hold their own.

    Though it would be awesome if Deebo had some eligibility and went and won a freakin Heisman. 😉

  • Applebite

    Not a follower of Spartan football, but have studied up on McDowell. I can’t find anything concerning about him on the field. Off the field, I’m still looking.

    I heard and read where he supposedly has no motor or he’s not consistent in getting after it. I didn’t see any of that. McDowell played his tail off for the Spartans, only to be worn out towards the end of games. That’s where the criticism comes from.

    His critics expected him to be balls to the wall the entire game/ season without any help on defense. Even after some of them pointed out just how bad the Spartans defense was, sans McDowell, they still expected him to be hell on wheels the entire game. But by the end, he was tanked, and his teammates knew it. His coaches knew it. And if we’re being honest, nobody can expect one guy to carry an entire defense on his own for a full game, for the entire season.

    It didn’t take too long after their 4th-5th game, OLs realized, if they could just take care of McDowell, they could move the ball up field and score. From what I’ve seen, just my opinion, he was the Spartans defense. He kept them in games they should have been blown out of by the first half. If Malik had gotten injured along the way, State’s season would have been a dumpster fire.

    Things he need to work on….he could add a spin move to his rip moves. He tends to over penetrate sometimes. But to me, that’s nit picking, because the job of a DL is to penetrate the backfield.

    Things I like….He’ll rip and slip past OLs with ease. You watch his film, OLs can’t block him without help. He doesn’t give ground very often, if at all. And contrary to the Critics belief, he does chase after the ball.

    To me, hes’ the 3rd best DL in this draft, behind Garrett and Johnathan Allen. He was literally the only consistent defender State had this past season. I’d bang the table for him.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not saying Garrett isnt good just dont think he is an immediate impact player to the extent that he out performs James Harrison next season game 1, dont think anyone does that at OLB short of the second coming of Vonn Miller. We need to win games to make the playoffs and home field advantage would be nice also, sure he gets better as the year goes on but we are talking immediate help game 1, are we a better team opening day playing Harrison half the snaps I have my doubts about that, and why I went with the WR, he steps on the field day 1 the team is immediately improved, he is replacing Eli Rogers not our best defensive player. I dont buy into the need for Harrison to only play 50% of the snaps, I would rather he just retire if thats the plan again next season with a rookie. 75% of snaps to keep him fresh I can understand 50-50 I have trouble seeing it as a big improvement. Bud Dupree said the defense was much improved after the Steelers abandoned the OLB rotations, dont think he was talking about just his side. If I could get Garrett or Jordan Willis on the field rushing the passer without taking Harrison off the field than I might buy into the thought that the defense would be much improved day 1.

  • LucasY59

    I saw somewhere that he was barely 180lbs, but Iooking at the combine he is 195, so you are right he is only 10lbs different, but I doubt Baker will get above 200 so he is still small for a safety

  • LucasY59

    there is a small chance they could get Obi in the 1st and Budda in the 2nd (some teams will knock him for his size …but there might be a team that takes him before the Steelers 1st pick)

  • Jim Foles

    yep that is the correct spelling.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I do agree that’s possible. First we have to see if even Obi makes it to us. There are a handful of teams right before us that could definitely use Obi.