The Pittsburgh Steelers had several holes to fill in the 2021 NFL Draft. At the end of the draft, they had nine selections, which is a good quantity considering picking prospect is and will always be an inexact science. The question is does the quality match the quantity?
Only time can tell which prospects were the right decision and which ones were not. In the meantime, let us meet the Steelers’ Draft Class of 2021
Steelers NFL draft picks:
1. Round 1 (Pick 24) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
There are basically two camps when it comes to the Harris selection. One says Pittsburgh made the right decision since he is an elite running back prospect, who will boost their non-existent ground game. The others say that an offensive lineman should have been prioritized since this will also help address the rushing attack. Most of the football world leans towards the latter.
Harris was dominant in his time at Tuscaloosa. He amassed 3,843 rushing yards, 781 receiving yards, and 57 touchdowns in four years. In that time, he had zero fumbles and his ball security is a trait that should translate to the NFL level.
Harris is a do-it-all running back, who can stay on the field for three downs and be a threat each time. His pass protection could use some work, but at 6’2, 232 pounds, he has the size to be an effective one. He is a high-character player and hosted his draft party at the homeless shelter, where he and his family previously stayed at.
2. Round 2 (Pick 55) – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Had North Dakota State’s tackle Dillon Radunz still been available, perhaps the front office would have gone offensive line with the 55th overall pick? Alas, the team added a run blocker to the roster, however, the said player is a tight end.
Freiermuth is widely considered the best tight end in the class after Florida’s Kyle Pitts. He is a big-bodied target and should be a contributor right away.
Freiermuth’s junior season consisted of only four games, but he made the most out of them. In those four games, he had a total of 310 receiving yards and one score. His per-game numbers for this season were better than his sophomore year’s.
Just looking at his college production one would not be very impressed, but his game looks like it will transition well to the NFL. This was the case with San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.
Also, Freiermuth’s nickname is “Baby Gronk” and served as a team captain.
3. Round 3 (Pick 87) – Kendrick Green, C/G, Illinois
It took three rounds for Pittsburgh to address the positional group with the biggest question marks. At 6’2, 315 pounds, Green is built like your typical, offensive interior lineman. He is athletic for his size and will be used to fill the big shoes of longtime center Maurkice Pouncey who recently retired.
His Twitter handle is @The_fridge53, so he might consider choosing something more Steeler-centric.
4. Round 4 (Pick 128) – Dan Moore Jr., OT, Texas A&M
Moore has good size for the position and long arms to keep defenders at bay. He displays solid fundamentals and pass protection skills. He is not very athletic though and may struggle against faster and more agile matchups.
5. Round 4 (Pick 140) – Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M
Steelers double-dip from the Aggies’ well. Johnson should be a good fit in Pitssburgh’s 3-4 scheme. He comes in at just above 6’0 and weighs 229 pounds, but plays bigger than his size suggests.
Johnson will bolster the team’s run defense and was a vocal leader in college.
6. Round 5 (Pick 156) – Isaiahh Loudermilk, EDGE, Wisconsin
It would have been perfect for a guy named Loudermilk, who played for Wisconsin to be selected by the Green Bay Packers and be cheered on by cheeseheads.
Loudermilk plays with a mean streak and has a good first step. He needs to work on his technique and have more functional strength.
At 6’7 and 295 pounds, his best fit may be as a 3-4 end. Due to the depth of the position, it will take a while before he sees playing time.
7. Round 6 (Pick 216) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
When one thinks of recent Hurricane defenders, Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau come to mind, after all, they went in the first round of this year’s draft. However, Roche was productive in his own right.
He spent three years with Temple before transferring to Miami. In 10 games with Miami, he notched 4.5 sacks and 45 total tackles.
Roche will add depth to the pass rush, while also being solid against the run.
8. Round 7 (Pick 245) – Tre Norwood, CB, Oklahoma
Norwood is a good athlete who was used as both a safety and corner in college. He is a ball hawk and diagnoses plays well. His frame is on the leaner side and with the glut of defensive backs, the Steelers have it is hard to picture Norwood seeing the field anytime soon on defense.
9. Round 7 (Pick 254) – Pressley Harvin III, P, Georgia Tech
Punters are people too. Just ask Pat McAfee. Harvin was the recipient of the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the top collegiate punter.
In four years at Georgia Tech, his punts averaged 44.7 yards. He will be competing with incumbent Jordan Berry.