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Steelers select Tre Norwood with 7th round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 5:31pm
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Oklahoma DB Tre Norwood with their 7th round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 7 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Oklahoma CB Tre Norwood, with their seventh round pick in the draft.

Steelers take Tre Norwood, CB/S, out of Oklahoma

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Norwood as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Despite his size and ball production at the end of the year, there is too much tape (including the Senior Bowl) that put his struggles on display as it pertains to fluidity and stickiness in coverage. He lacks recovery speed and open-field athleticism to deal with NFL man coverage, but his 2020 experience at safety could open the door for a position change at the next level. He wasn’t asked to do much more than basic two-deep drops, but he clearly has the coverage experience to adapt to more than that. However, he will have to become both tougher and more consistent as a tackle finisher in order to make that switch a full-time job opportunity.

Strengths

  • Possesses NFL size and frame.
  • Has safety and cornerback experience in background.
  • Decent ball skills with soft hands.
  • Finished with five interceptions over last six games.
  • Took interception back for a touchdown against Florida QB Kyle Trask in Cotton Bowl.
  • Can take on more expanded role as safety.
  • Good downhill speed to run the alley.
  • Recognition of run-play development and where it is headed.
  • Offers kick and punt coverage experience.

Weaknesses

  • Missed 2019 with knee injury.
  • Had issues staying in phase with routes at Senior Bowl.
  • Hiccup in his transitions from press.
  • Once he gets behind, he stays behind.
  • Unable to find acceleration to recover and challenge the route.
  • Below-average pattern reader.
  • Lacks functional agility to recover through coverage missteps.
  • Fails to come to balance in downhill run support.
  • Grab-and-drag tackler.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: Punter, among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

For more on this pick, check out the breaking news podcast below:

Steelers select DE Quincy Roche with 6th round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 4:22pm
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Miami DE Quincy Roche with their 6th round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 6 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Miami DE Quincy Roche, with their sixth round pick in the draft.

Steelers taking Quincy Roche, OLB, Miami.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Roche as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Roche has packed the stat sheets for the better part of four years, but he’s very average athletically and doesn’t have the mass to consistently hold up at the point of attack. He’s tight in his lower half, which limits his ability to corner sharply when attacking the pocket. However, he’s limber in his upper body, which creates opportunities to slide off of blocks and make plays at awkward angles. His production should matter, but the athletic profile might push him down the board.

Strengths

  • Durable, reliable and productive.
  • Posted 39.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks over three years at Temple.
  • Assails the pocket with controlled anger.
  • Subtle hands have some effectiveness in discarding punch.
  • Rip-and-run opens the corner for him.
  • Stays low in edge-to-edge counters, improving success rate.
  • Consistently forced and recovered fumbles.
  • Will work to slide off blocks and find ball-carriers.
  • Strength in upper body to battle tight ends at point of attack.

Weaknesses

  • Thin through his lower body.
  • Tight hips, tight ankles.
  • Not very explosive in race to the top of the rush.
  • Unable to really sink and bend the edge.
  • Looked ineffective and dull against Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw.
  • Body control sabotages balance at times.
  • Below-average reactive athleticism.
  • Not as fluid in movements as desired for 3-4 linebacker.
  • No access to tight turns or sudden change of direction.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: Cornerback, among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

For more information on this pick, check out the breaking news podcast below:

Watch the Steelers welcome Isaiahh Loudermilk, and his first press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 4:03pm
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Check out the first look at the Steelers’ 5th round pick Isaiahh Loudermilk as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

The Pittsburgh Steelers made their first trade of the 2021 NFL Draft when they traded with the Miami Dolphins to get a pick in the 5th round. With the pick they selected Isaiahh Loudermilk from Wisconsin. After the pick was made, Steelers fans were excited to welcome the newest member of the organization. Some of the organizational excitement was caught on tape, and is worth sharing.

Check out Loudermilk saying hello to the Steelers’ fan base!

Excited you're coming to Pittsburgh, @iloudermilk111! pic.twitter.com/W73NSVMXzP

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here is Loudermilk’s first time meeting, and speaking with, the Pittsburgh Media:

#LIVE: Round 5 Pick Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC https://t.co/4DbuUqOJJM

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here are some quotes from the coaching staff with the pick of Isiahh Loudermilk:

'I know traditionally it’s a great defense. I still have so many emotions going on. It’s a team a grew up watching a little bit when I first started watching football, so I am excited to have this opportunity.' - @iloudermilk111

More: https://t.co/i5l6kgcaXJ pic.twitter.com/SL4pwvks3k

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) May 1, 2021

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Knee jerk reactions after the Steelers trade into the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 2:06pm
Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One BTSC writer shares his initial and real time unadulterated reactions to the Steelers trading into the fifth round of the NFL draft.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game. It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during the last few rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Or so I thought...

  • I have to say it one last time... Cleveland sucks.
  • We have a long time to wait for the next pick.
  • NO WE DON’T!
  • The Steelers trade up with the Dolphins and are on the clock at 156 in Round 5.
  • Wow. A defensive end. Isaiahh Loudermilk from Wisconsin. Edge rusher or defensive tackle?
  • Since he’s 6’7” and 297 lbs I’m 99.99% sure that’s defensive line and not outside linebacker.
  • Really? Did they need a defensive lineman bad enough to move up? It also looks like some expected him to go undrafted.
  • I don’t mind picking up the extra pick this year, especially with two comp picks scheduled to come next year. But was this player at this position the place to go?
  • The Steelers still have three picks left as they gave up next year’s fourth-round pick.
  • Well, with the extra pick I’m going to roll with this now and come back for the last three selections. At least I get to comment about the host city again.

There you have it, my knee jerks. I’m going to think about this one and see how how I feel about it, and then on to rounds six and seven.

Watch the Steelers welcome Dan Moore and Buddy Johnson, and their first press conferences

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 2:00pm
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Check out the first look at two Texas A&M players in the 4th round as members of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

The Pittsburgh Steelers got two new players in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected two players from Texas A&M. Offensive tackle Dan Moore and linebacker Buddy Johnson. After the picks were made, Steelers fans were excited to welcome the newest members of the organization. Some of the organizational excitement was caught on tape, and is worth sharing.

Check out “Big” Dan Moore saying hello to the Steelers’ fan base!

Let's get it! @bigg_dan65 pic.twitter.com/KjVQ4T0Fhc

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here is Moore’s first time meeting, and speaking with, the Pittsburgh Media:

#LIVE: Round 4 Pick Analysis & Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL https://t.co/09cOneefc9

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Also, pretty cool to see General Manager Kevin Colbert introduce Moore as the team’s first 4th round pick, but also giving a shout out to the many members of the Steelers who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer in Canton, OH.

GM Kevin Colbert announces our selection of @bigg_dan65 in honor of the five #Steelers being inducted into the @ProFootballHOF this year.

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC pic.twitter.com/MpmWA8Z3IL

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here is Johnson’s first time meeting, and talking with, the Pittsburgh media:

#LIVE: Round 4 Pick Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL https://t.co/8ViQD19HbX

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Here is ILB coach Jerry Olsavsky talking about Johnson and answering questions from the media:

#LIVE: Round 4 Pick Press Conference

: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC; Draft-A-Thon on @NFL https://t.co/lZaUAFozye

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Steelers select Isaiahh Loudermilk with 5th round pick after trade

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 1:37pm
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Wisconsin DL Isaiahh Loudermilk with their 5th round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers traded up to select Wisconsin DL Isaiahh Loudermilk, with a 5th round pick in the draft.

Loudermilk was a DE in Wisconsin's 3-4 base defense. I would guess he stays at DE with the Steelers and they ask him to put on some weight.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Loudermilk as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Positives: Aggressive two-gap defensive end with growth potential. Fires off the snap with an explosive first step, works his hands throughout the action, and redirects to ball handlers. Focused on by opponents, plays aggressive football, and works hard. Relentless and displays a good head for the ball.

Negatives: Does not consistently play with proper pad level and gets out-positioned from the action. Consistently tied up by a single opponent. Not much of a pass rusher.

Analysis: Loudermilk is a hard-working defender with size, growth potential, and a good degree of athleticism. He must improve his strength at the point but comes with an upside.

Isaiahh Loudermilk Player Profile

Loudermilk heads to the 2021 NFL Draft with an incredible athletic heritage. The Kansas native excelled in multiple sports at West Elk High School. He earned first-team All-State honors in basketball, while he won a conference title in the shot put. Additionally, Loudermilk was an accomplished baseball player, but it was on the football field where the man amongst boys truly excelled.

He was a three-time All-District and All-Area honoree. However, it was his senior season that really stood out. Loudermilk logged an impressive 97 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions while also snagging 5 touchdowns. He earned first-team All-State honors while West Elk went 10-1 and earned their first-ever playoff win.

Even before his standout senior season, the gargantuan athlete was garnering attention. A three-star recruit as per 247 Sports, he had received offers from Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Oregon, and Wisconsin prior to the season. Midway through the year, he paid a visit to Madison. And despite making multiple visits elsewhere, in early January, he committed to play for Wisconsin.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: Outside linebacker, cornerback, among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

2021 NFL Draft: Day 3 Steelers news, updates and open thread, Part 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 1:35pm
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Be sure to stay in tune with the Steelers for Day 3 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft is HERE!! No more mock drafts. No more breakdowns. No more educated guesses. No more scenarios.

No, it is time to sit back and see who the Steelers select in Rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7 as the Pittsburgh Steelers have five picks throughout the day.

If you need information on the upcoming event, here is some solid stuff for you below:

2021 NFL Draft Schedule TV: ABC, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes Online: Fubo (Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire draft), Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Hulu with live TV
ESPN app or ESPN+: Click HERE to watch LIVE! Radio (Nationally): SiriusXM, Westwood One, ESPN Radio
Radio (Locally): Steelers Nation Radio— Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com or on the Steelers Official Mobile App. Saturday May 1, 2021

12 PM EST Rounds 4 through 7 (picks 106- 259)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing a live broadcast on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel following each pick. With the Steelers scheduled to have two picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, the YouTube shows will run through the second selection in those rounds. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcast. Just like the first two days, there will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Steelers draft picks in each round:

Here are the selections the Steelers are scheduled to make in the 2021 draft:

Round 1

Pick 24

Round 2

Pick 55

Round 3

Pick 87

Round 4

Pick 128

Pick 140

Round 5

None

Round 6

Pick 216

Round 7

Pick 245

Pick 254

The Pittsburgh Steelers trade up to the 156 pick in the 2021 NFL with the Dolphins

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 1:27pm
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the second time in three years, the Steelers have moved up in the NFL draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the move in the 2021 NFL draft! Rather than stand pat in the fourth round, the Steelers have moved up to pick 156 and are currently on the clock for their selection.

The Pittsburgh Steelers last moved up in the NFL draft in 2019 when they traded the 20th overall pick to the Denver Broncos to move up 10 spots to draft Devin Bush and land their first top 10 pick since 2000. The Steelers also sent their 2019 second-round pick and their 2020 third-round pick to Denver in order to complete the trade.

To move up in 2021, the Steelers have surrendered their 2022 4th round pick.

The Steelers selection is now only moments away! Stay tuned to BTSC for continued coverage and an immediate breakdown of the selection…

And the pick is:

Knee jerk reactions after both of the Steelers’ 4th round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 12:59pm
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One BTSC writer shares his initial and real time unadulterated reactions to the fourth round of the NFL draft.

Knee-jerk Reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game. It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later. So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during the NFL Draft.

  • I feel like it must be said again... Cleveland sucks
  • It feels like the next pick should be defense, but it really doesn’t have to be
  • Michael Carter goes at the top of Round 4. Some had him as a “fall back” running back for the Steelers if they didn't get there guy. But they did.
  • I’d love to meet the people who name their son Amon-Ra with the last name including “Saint”.
  • Rams draft Bobby Brown III. It’s their prerogative. And then NFL Network takes my joke after I type it. Is it a new addition or a New Edition?
  • Getting close to 128. Love how fast things go on Saturday.
  • With picks only 12 selections apart, the Steelers could get two guys they like at 128 by the time they get to 140.
  • On the clock!
  • Steelers select an offensive tackle. Dan Moore Jr. from Texas A&M.
  • Long arms. Not many long-armed tackles this year.
  • He’s a project. So was Kevin Dotson. He’s in a good spot where he shouldn’t be asked to start right away.
  • On to then next pick!
  • Odds say it has to be defense next. But this hasn’t been a “by the numbers” draft for the Steelers
  • On the clock again!
  • Finally a player on defense. The Steelers go Texas A&M again.
  • Buddy Johnson, run-stopping linebacker.
  • A lot of places had him going undrafted but the Steelers take him over other options at the position.
  • This is the day the unexpected happens.
  • Now we get a long break until Round 6. See you all again in a couple of hours!

There you have it, my knee jerks. I’m going to sleep on these and see how how I feel about them in the morning, and then on to rounds six and seven.

Steelers select LB Buddy Johnson with second 4th round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 12:58pm
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Texas A&M LB Buddy Johnson with their second 4th round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Texas A&M linebacker Buddy Johnson, with their second pick in the draft.

Once again, the Steelers waste no time getting their pick in. They take Buddy Johnson, ILB, Texas A&M.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Buddy Johnson as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Blue-collar inside linebacker with good size and a forceful demeanor to stake his claim inside the box. Johnson developed into a highly respected team leader during his time with the Aggies. In just his second year at inside linebacker, Johnson showed great improvement in pursuit leverage and recognition of blocking schemes, but is still learning to recognize the best pathways to the football. He meets power with power when taking on blockers and does a nice job of playing off and finding his way toward the runner. There is still room for improvement as a move tackler in the open field and he’s currently a coverage liability in the passing game. Johnson has the makeup of a two-down inside linebacker with special teams value.

Strengths

  • Team leader through actions and words.
  • Good size, definition and aggression.
  • Durable and tough with experience inside and outside.
  • Took big leap forward with feel for inside linebacker position in 2020.
  • Careful not to overshoot running back’s entry point.
  • Works hard to recover from missteps to get back into the play.
  • Does dirty work to help defense thrive.
  • Physical striker and wrap-up finisher.
  • Attacks the block with aggressive punch.
  • Plays with alpha demeanor to control the action inside.

Weaknesses

  • Needs to get deeper downhill to short-circuit pulling guards.
  • Allowed Alabama’s Landon Dickerson time to climb up and block him.
  • Needs to slip blocks occasionally rather than always going to battle.
  • Hip tightness hinders open-field coverage agility.
  • Looked lost with coverage responsibilities at times.
  • Needs to stay light on his feet as open-field tackler.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: Outside linebacker, cornerback among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

For more information about this pick, be sure to check out the breaking news podcast below:

Steelers select OT Dan Moore with 4th round pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 12:24pm
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Texas A&M center Dan Moore their 4th round pick in the 2021 draft.

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Texas A&M offensive tackle Dan Moore, with their first 4th Round pick in the draft.

Steelers 4th-round pick (128) -- OT Dan Moore, Texas A&M

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 1, 2021

For those who may not know much about Dan Moore as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

Three-year starter at left tackle against challenging SEC competition across from him. Moore held his own for an offensive line that was a finalist for the Joe Moore Award (nation’s top OL) and he carries a well-proportioned build with good lean mass. He has adequate athletic ability to handle swing tackle duties, but plays with inconsistent hand strength and placement in both the run and passing games, causing him to lose control of the rep. He’s clearly shown improvement at his position and doesn’t have glaring athletic or physical weaknesses. However, he might not be a plus in any one category, which will make it difficult for him to become more than a solid backup.

Strengths

  • Three-year starter.
  • Play was much more consistent in 2020.
  • Pass pro movements are athletic.
  • Decent patience against rush counters.
  • Adequate recovery anchor against the bull rush.
  • Quality ability as cut-blocker.
  • Mindful of footwork and technique on double teams.
  • Runs feet to secure washdown blocks on outside zone.
  • Showed off quality second-level adjustments against Arkansas.

Weaknesses

  • Outside hands are too wide, causing him to gather rather than punch.
  • A bit of a heel-clicker at times in pass slides.
  • Needs to pick a target and fully commit when faced with blitz.
  • Doesn’t feel long enough to control point of attack and execute kick outs.
  • Would like to see more aggression into first contact as run blocker.
  • Inconsistent body control and positioning to consistently secure his block.
  • Rarely controls the action with strong hands.
  • Below-average demeanor as block finisher.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: Cornerback, wide receiver, inside linebacker and outside linebacker among other positions.

What do you think of the selection? Let us know by voting in the poll below and be sure to comment in the comment section below!

For more information about this selection, check out the breaking news podcast below:

Know your new Steelers enemies after Day 2 of the 2021 Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 11:30am
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Get to know the players that were drafted into the AFC North and are now instant rivals of Steeler Nation.

The second day of the NFL draft brought more Pittsburgh Steelers for Steeler Nation to cheer for. But with that, it serves up more players to serve as instant rivals to boo. This time around, I am going to enlist scouting report help from Andrew Wilbar (steelerfan11), Ryland B. and SNW (Itz JustNoah). These guys do a phenomenal job with prospects on the BTSC Big Board. Here’s who will oppose Pittsburgh as new members of the AFC North.

Round 2 Pick 38 Cincinnati Bengals trade pick to the New England Patriots for No. 46 (Round 2), No. 122 (Round 4) and No. 139 (Round 4).

With the trade, the New England Patriots selected DL Christian Barmore from Alabama and the Bengals score to fourth rounders.

Round 2 Pick 46 Cincinnati Bengals select OL Jackson Carman - Clemson

6’5”/345 lbs.

Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Carman protected Trevor Lawrence’s blindside at Clemson and did a pretty decent job of keeping the overall top pick alive. The powerful run blocker also paved roads for Travis Etienne. Carman is good at picking up the blitz, but lacks polish. May move to guard in the pros.

steelerfan11: Carman may have the highest upside of any tackle after Penei Sewell, but inconsistency has been the story of his collegiate career. Carman was playing at about 345 pounds at Clemson, which allowed him to be an absolute mauler in the run game. That size became a double-edged sword, however, as he was often unable to win battles against speedy edge rushers one-on-one. His first step is slower than what you would like in a blindside protector, and his pad level could use a little work in the run game. He has every tool you could ever want, but I really think he needs to drop 10-15 pounds if he is going to reach that potential at tackle. If not, I think that a move to guard at the next level is inevitable (Note: Carman weighed 317 pounds at his pro day. Sounds like he wants to stay at tackle).

Round 2 Pick 51 Cleveland Browns trade up to select EDGE Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - Notre Dame

6’1”/215 lbs.

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

JOK ain’t no joke. This guy could cause a lot of headaches for the Steelers. Gotta beef up that line.

steelerfan11: While not the biggest linebacker in the world, Owusu-Koramoah has serious range in coverage and outstanding versatility. His lack of size occasionally bites him when trying to tackle a well-built running back or tight end, but the burst he displays when rushing the passer makes up for it. His versatility also allows him to play safety in certain packages, and he has had no trouble covering receivers and tight ends out of the slot. Adding some weight would only help him, but he will be a valuable piece for a defense that can use his versatility correctly

Round 3 Pick 69 Cincinnati Bengals select Joseph Ossai - Texas

6’4”/254 lbs.

Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Cincy needed to add to that defense that has been getting softer with guys like Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson and Carlos Dunlap not in tiger stripes. This does it.

Itz JustNoah: I absolutely love Ossai. He has pretty much everything you want in a 3-4 OLB. He’s very quick off the line, his balance is phenomenal, he uses his hands extremely well and he has a wide range of pass rush moves. The stats may not show it but he is almost always in the backfield whether it be a run or a pass. Unlike a lot of the other edge rushers in this class, Ossai is very versatile. He can easily drop back into zone coverage or even play man against some tight ends or running backs, so he is the perfect 3-4 edge. I see a lot of TJ Watt in him because of his quickness, balance and his knack for creating turnovers. I’ve seen him fall out of the first round in some mocks but I think that any team that uses a 3-4 should take him before any other edge rusher.

Round 3 Pick 91 Cleveland Browns select WR Anthony Schwartz - Auburn

6’0”/175 lbs.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

My ultimate draft crush is gone and now I have to hate him for ending up in the cess pool of an organization known as the Cleveland Browns. This dude is so fast and dangerous. Didn’t expect him to go this early. Let’s just hope he’s a product of draft hype. Ugggh!

steelerfan11: Schwartz is one of my favorite prospects in this entire class. There is fast, and then there is freakishly fast. Tyreek Hill fast. Schwartz honestly disappointed me with his 4.26 40 time at his pro day. Listed at only 179 pounds, Schwartz could probably afford to add ten pounds and not lose his world class speed. Schwartz has pretty good hands for a speed guy, and he is not afraid to work the middle of the field. He can line up on the outside or in the slot, although his best fit in the NFL will likely be the slot. I wish that he was a more willing blocker and had a little more shiftiness to his game, but the sky’s the limit for a guy with Schwartz’s speed.

Round 3 Pick 94 Baltimore Ravens select G Ben Cleveland - Georgia

6’6”/343 lbs.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The scuttlebutt on Cleveland is that he is a massive and powerful dude that can stop defenders cold. But he is said to be slow of foot and his commitment to football has been questioned in the past. All in all, the Ravens do get an anchor here.

steelerfan11: Cleveland is a powerful guard who has good hand usage and above average power. He doesn’t have a ton of positional versatility, and his lateral mobility is nothing to write home about, but he finishes his blocks when he locks on to his defender, and he has good overall awareness. He may be limited to power running schemes, but he is a good competitor that will bring loads of physicality to the team that drafts him.

Round 3 Pick 104 Baltimore Ravens select CB Brandon Stephens - SMU

6’/213 lbs.

Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stephens is a converted running back with the size that the Ravens like out of their cornerbacks. The transfer from UCLA has the versatility to play the slot and on the outside and could eventually move to safety for B-more.

What do you think of the players who are going to be new to the division? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as the 2021 NFL Draft continues.

2021 NFL Draft: Day 3 Steelers news, updates and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 10:45am
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Be sure to stay in tune with the Steelers for Day 3 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft is HERE!! No more mock drafts. No more breakdowns. No more educated guesses. No more scenarios.

No, it is time to sit back and see who the Steelers select in Rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7 as the Pittsburgh Steelers have five picks throughout the day.

If you need information on the upcoming event, here is some solid stuff for you below:

2021 NFL Draft Schedule TV: ABC, NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Deportes Online: Fubo (Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire draft), Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Hulu with live TV
ESPN app or ESPN+: Click HERE to watch LIVE! Radio (Nationally): SiriusXM, Westwood One, ESPN Radio
Radio (Locally): Steelers Nation Radio— Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com or on the Steelers Official Mobile App. Saturday May 1, 2021

12 PM EST Rounds 4 through 7 (picks 106- 259)

Behind The Steel Curtain will be doing a live broadcast on the BTSC Radio YouTube channel following each pick. With the Steelers scheduled to have two picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, the YouTube shows will run through the second selection in those rounds. Make sure you subscribe to the channel HERE and turn on notifications to be alerted to the live broadcast. Just like the first two days, there will also be a breaking news podcast on our audio platforms immediately following the selection.

Steelers draft picks in each round:

Here are the selections the Steelers are scheduled to make in the 2021 draft:

Round 1

Pick 24

Round 2

Pick 55

Round 3

Pick 87

Round 4

Pick 128

Pick 140

Round 5

None

Round 6

Pick 216

Round 7

Pick 245

Pick 254

Watch Kendrick Green get the phone call from the Steelers and Mike Tomlin

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 10:30am
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers’ 3rd round pick was more than excited to find out he was going to be playing in Pittsburgh.

There are moments in people’s lives which are life changing. Maybe it is a marriage or a birth of a child, but sometimes it can fall under someone’s occupation. In the case of college football players, if/when they get the call during the NFL Draft letting them know they are going to be drafted, it can be pure elation.

During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 NFL Draft, they have made that call three times already, and the last pick on Day 2 was certainly noteworthy. The Steelers took Illinois interior offensive lineman Kendrick Green, and Green getting the phone call was something to watch.

No, it wasn’t JuJu Smith-Schuster jumping into the ocean, or James Conner bursting into tears after his battle with cancer, but Green’s simple, yet fierce, response is great.

Watch for yourself:

@The_fridge53... it's Mike Tomlin... @steelers | #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/TTetakydbl

— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) May 1, 2021

Green is known as a very physical player. A player who has a little nasty to him, and that is something the Steelers’ sluggish running game could use. In fact, when you look at the team’s picks so far in the draft, you can’t help but see what the team is planning with their running game.

More physicality.

The addition of Green, who could play from Day 1, tight end Pat Freiermeuth and running back Najee Harris will give the black and gold a very new, and physical, look when running the football. It should be a very fun, and exciting, change of pace for the global fan base.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as they prepare for the rest of the 2021 NFL Draft and prepare for the regular season.

Stock Report: Whose stock is rising, and falling, after Day 2 of the NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How will the Steelers 2nd and 3rd round draft picks affect the team?

The Steelers Stock Report is here to give you updates on trends and events that are likely to affect the team in the future. The Steelers selected Pat Freiermuth in the second round, and Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, what ripples does that send through the organization? The Steeler Stock Report is here to answer that exact reason.

Stock up: Najee Harris

The major question brought up by the Steelers picking a running back with their first round pick was the quality of blocking he would receive. On day two of the draft the Steelers drafted a better run blocking tight end and a center who many consider to be able to start on day 1 of the 2021 season. Both Kendrick Green and Pat Freiermuth provide benefit to the run game, and Freiermuth sets the Steelers up to use more two tight end sets with both tight ends being solid or better receivers. That puts Najee Harris in a much better situation than he was facing 24 hours ago.

Stock Down: Knee-Jerk reactions

Many Steelers fans and analysts were pleased with the Steelers first round pick, others, like myself, questioned the wisdom of addressing running back before offensive line. After the Steelers passed on center Creed Humphrey to draft a tight end, there was even more concern. And when several centers were drafted at the end of the second round, the panic escalated everywhere but with the Steelers, who got their guy in the third round, where Kevin Colbert said they would be able to get an offensive lineman. I’m not saying don’t react to the draft, but it is important to allow the process to play out before passing judgement.

Stock up: Eric Ebron

It may seem strange to put Eric Ebron’s stock higher when the Steelers drafted a competitor at his position, but it makes sense. In 2020 Eric Ebron started the season strong, catching 70% of his targets, averaging over 10 yards per reception over the first 7 games, but with Vance McDonald limited, Ebron’s snap counts rose (highest snap count since he was 23) and he spent more time as an in-line tight end, and his numbers grew worse. Drops increased, catch rate dropped, yards per reception dropped and his run blocking was visibly worse.

After the season Ebron was working with trainer Rischad Whitfield, known as “The Footwork King” and Whitfield posted a video of Ebron working on releases and called out the Steelers for using Ebron in-line so much, instead of in the slot and out wide, where he is much more dangerous. While Pat Freiermuth can also line up in other spots, he is best suited to play in-line, and should allow the Steelers to both reduce Ebron’s snap count, and limit his in-line snaps. I expect to see improved stats, especially efficiency numbers from Eric Ebron in 2021.

Stock Down: The 3rd and 4th wide receivers

Najee Harris is a really good receiver as a running back, and the Steelers now have two good tight ends that can line up as receivers. Last season the Steelers had three receivers with 800 yards and the Steelers fourth receiver, James Washington caught 30 passes, gaining just under 400 yards. That’s more production from the receiver depth than the Steelers and other NFL teams usually see. With more snaps, and likely more targets going to tight ends and running backs, as well as the noticeable focus on running the ball better, expect the Steelers depth receivers to have lower numbers in 2021.

Stock Up: Matt Canada football

Matt Canada, in his years running college offenses, showed the ability to coach very different offensive philosophies, from pass heavy to run heavy to balanced offenses. He used quarterbacks that could run, ones that were statues and ones in-between. But in all those offenses, a few trends show up. One is a lot of motion, in particular motion from interior skill position players. Running backs, wingbacks, but mostly H-backs and tight ends. He also used a lot of formations with multiple players who were H-backs, fullbacks or tight ends. Matt Canada going into the 2021 season has two tight ends that can line up in different places, a fullback who played for him in Wisconsin and was used as an H-back and split out wide last season, and a first round running back who ran wide receiver drills at his pro day to show he has position flexibility as well. Behind Najee Harris in the running back room are Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Samuels, who both played for Canada in college and can line up in different spots on the field. Canada will have a lot of options to use the Steelers players in multiple ways, and motion them into different roles pre-snap.

The Steelers third round pick, Kendrick Green, excels in outside zone run schemes, another staple of Canada’s college offenses. The first three picks of the Steelers 2021 draft all fit what Matt Canada has done with his offenses in the past, and it will be interesting to watch how he uses them this season.

Grading the Steelers 3rd round selection of Kendrick Green

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 9:30am
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Illinois C Kendrick Green with the 87th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.

There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Illinois C Kendrick Green with the 87th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when this selection was announced. I was quite distraught when the Steelers passed over the opportunity to select my highest rated center prospect Creed Humphrey in the second round, instead choosing to select Pat Freiermuth. I shouldn't have been shocked actually, based on my own rationale that I used to justify the Steelers first round selection of Najee Harris. This year's center class is much deeper than the tight end class, therefore the Steelers hierarchy decided that strengthening the tight end position took precedent over the center position. While I was in pure panic mode, the Steelers were as cool as the underside of the pillow. I have a sneaky feeling that Kevin Colbert and the Steelers coaching staff are extremely pleased with how the draft has gone thus far. Three picks that immediately address three huge areas of need.

Based on the aforementioned parameters stated earlier in this article, I have to give the Steelers third round selection of Kendrick Green a initial draft grade of A, which I admittedly upgraded after doing a more in depth search on this most impressive young man.

Kendrick Green stands 6'2" and weighs 305 lbs. He has starting experience at both guard and center for the Fighting Illini, where he played for former NFL HC Lovie Smith. I have to believe that the Steelers gained some valuable inside information from Coach Smith. Green has superior athleticism, mobility, and explosion for the position. His 9.23 RAS score was one of the highest at the position, with his height and weight bringing his score down ever so slightly. His 4.89 forty and 35.5" vertical confirm his explosiveness. A former high school defensive tackle who plays with a natural aggression and edge. Excellent core strength and leverage gained as a state finalist wrestler.

Although Green brings a nice blend of power and athleticism, he will struggle at times with larger interior defenders due to his shorter stature and arms, particularly when he has to absorb the contact. He gains consistent leverage and surge when he is able to utilize his natural explosion off the snap. His smooth first step and quickness allows him to pull effectively and reach his second level blocks with ease. He has excellent hand usage with a powerful punch, more traits gained from his wrestling background.

Former Steeler and radio personality Arthur Moats watched film on Green and said he reminds him of Maurkice Pouncey. That is high praise indeed, and I am actually inclined to agree with him on that comparison. Not saying he will ever reach that level, but their athleticism and demeanor are similar. Steelers Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm said after Green's selection that he was a special kid and he was hoping that the Steelers could pick him. He said Green has a alpha personality with a nasty demeanor. He also mentioned Green's leadership qualities. Sounds like a great fit for the Steelers new physically aggressive philosophy along the offensive line.

It remains to be seen if and when Green will be ready to assume the position of starting center for the Steelers; but based on his impressive talent and the undeniable fact that he only has depth level talent standing in his way, I fully expect his inevitable ascension to be sooner rather than later. Coach Klemm already sounds on board with that assessment.

Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.

I am truly excited to welcome Kendrick Green to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC community and Steelers Nation!

Steelers Nation reacts to the team’s Day 2 NFL Draft picks

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 9:00am
Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers are all-in on improving their offense and everybody has an opinion about it.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added a big time tight end and center with their Day 2 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft class. Some fans love the moves, others will obviously hate it. Here are some of the best of the best reactions to the additions of Pat Freiermuth and Kendrick Green.

Just got off the phone w/ Kendrick Green... Boy is already ready to work...

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) May 1, 2021

It looks like Zach Banner has already welcomed Kendrick Green to Pittsburgh. Both guys will look to utilize their aggressive skill sets to boost the Steelers ability to run.

If you picked two players from the draft who felt like Steelers players they'd be Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) May 1, 2021

Like Matt Miller said, Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth really do look bred to be Pittsburgh Steelers. Both thumpers, both elite size for their position, and both players have sky high potential.

@pat_fry5 We Are!! Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers! It was an honor to call out your name. I look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh. @steelers @acereros @PennStateFball

— Franco Harris (@francoharrishof) May 1, 2021

Franco Harris has been on the red carpet guy for all of the Steelers draft picks. I’m not sure anyone loved the boos in Cleveland more than Franco.

Dropping bars for Kendrick Greene

— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) May 1, 2021

Run DMC announces KG. Electric. @The_fridge53 x @steelers

2021 #NFLDraft April 29 – May 1 on NFLN pic.twitter.com/UIn2qIQWK4

— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) May 1, 2021

Run DMC got the Browns crowd riled up with this epic player announcement! One of the best moments of the draft, and then proceeds to announce the Steelers newest player is a mauling center, Chef’s kiss.

Nobody will complain if he turns out like Heath Miller. Another need addressed, they will get to the rest

— dan fraser (@dancoolin) May 1, 2021

It’s fair to say a lot of Steelers fans were hoping for a big time Center with the 55th pick. While that didn't happen, the Steelers landed a tight end with massive potential. If Freiermuth starts putting up some big plays I expect fans to quickly forget about who they passed on.

pic.twitter.com/oBGu13rT4A

— The Gif Sgt (@TheGifSgt) May 1, 2021

From: @afan66
To: @The_fridge53 pic.twitter.com/L8Bxpq3w2m

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 1, 2021

There’s no better welcome wagon than a team with so many hall of famers. This time it was soon to be hall of famer, Alan Faneca welcoming Kendrick Green to the black and gold.

@pat_fry5
welcome to the Squad. TE’s vs DT’s in practice get ready lol

— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) May 1, 2021

Cam Heyward has also been taking in the draft and sharing a ton on social media. Not sure about this drill but the Penn State, Ohio State rivalry will live on in the locker room.

Welcome Kendrick! pic.twitter.com/EXkZqew1nN

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) May 1, 2021

Welcome Pat Freiermuth!! @pat_fry5 pic.twitter.com/4E1FY7nUBU

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) May 1, 2021

What do you think? How did you feel about the Steelers Day 2 draft picks? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Mock Draft: A Revised Steelers mock draft after Round 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 8:30am
Photo by Gus Stark/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

With very little expectations, BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis keeps his hat in the mock ring with a revised draft projection going into Round’s 4 through 7.

Now that the Steelers have added two more new players from the college ranks in the form of Pat Freiermuth and Kendrick Green. I recognize that my picks of C Creed Humphrey and OT Jackson Carman were way off. But that’s fine, I will try again. With welcoming a new tight end and center, the mock has been updated again to reflect the hot pickin’ action of Day 2. Hopefully, I will get one pick correct.

Here’s what we got...enjoy.

Round 4, Pick 128 ILB Jabril Cox - LSU Photo by Beau Brune/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The three-time National Champ at North Dakota State transferred to LSU and established himself as a thumper with a great blend of size and speed. There’s definite three-down potential when it comes to Cox and he would be a great successor to Vince Williams.

Round 4, Pick 140 CB Trill Williams - Syracuse Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Syracuse product is a physical corner with excellent size and speed. Williams is tough in coverage and is equally strong against the run. The 6’2” Trill could help fill voids left by Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson in the secondary.

Round 6, Pick 216 OT Alaric Jackson - Iowa Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At nearly 6’6“ and 318 lbs., Jackson is a long-tenured, physical specimen at the offensive lineman factory that is Iowa. Alaric does a pretty good job of keeping defenders in front of him. Should he develop a nasty streak, Alaric Jackson could eventually start at LT for the Steelers.

Round 7, Pick 245 EDGE Chris Rumph - Duke Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Rumph, one of the most solid pass rushers in the history of the Duke football program is a situational pass rusher that can add depth to the Steelers on the EDGE.

Round 7, Pick 254 DT Tedarrell Slaton - Florida Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Impressive size at 360 lbs., Slaton gets great leverage and strength in the trenches and could be a developmental NT for the Steelers.

Grading the Steelers second round selection of Pat Freiermuth

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 8:00am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth with the 55th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.

There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth with the 55th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. This is a very polarizing pick for yours truly if I am being totally honest. With the Steelers currently having a huge hole in the center of their offensive line, I was certain that the Steelers would address that glaring weakness with their second round selection to maximize the potential impact of first round selection Najee Harris. The Steelers simply cannot afford to go into the season with two undrafted career backups as the only centers on the roster. The Steelers running game was nonexistent with Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey at center last season. I shutter to think what the interior of the line will look like without his presence, even if he was a shadow of his former self at times.

Having said all that, I want to grade Freiermuth's selection as accurately and fairly as possible. Basing his selection on the parameters of need, fit, and value; I give the Steelers selection of Pat Freiermuth a initial draft grade of B.

Freiermuth was given the nickname Baby Gronk during his time at Penn State, but that may be a little bit of a stretch at this point of his young career. He stands 6'5" and weighs 258 lbs. He has been timed at 4.72 in the forty, and displays excellent physicality after the catch. His hands are extremely reliable, making him a weapon in the red zone. He has basketball type skills, particularly adapt at blocking out smaller defenders around the end zone.

Freiermuth has room for improvement as a run blocker, but he is by no means a slouch. He loves contact and enjoys winning one on one confrontations. His battles with former teammate Micah Parsons on the practice fields are the stuff of legends. He has a warrior's mentality, and his blocking should only improve as he adds strength and girth as a professional.

Freiermuth was the consensus second best tight end in this draft class, and he instantly becomes the most talented Steelers tight end since the legendary Heath Miller. Some pundits have made the comparison to Miller, but Freiermuth has better mobility and short area quickness. Freiermuth better fits the profile of a modern day move tight end with his versatility and ability to line up off the ball. He has some similar characteristics to Niners TE George Kittle, but he has a long way to go for me to ever make that comparison.

Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.

I am pleased to welcome Pat Freiermuth to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC community and Steelers Nation!

In Najee Harris, the Steelers got the guy they wanted all along in the 2021 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 7:30am
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Steelers seemed like a team that knew what it wanted prior to the start of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Cleveland. After quickly selecting Alabama running back Najee Harris at 24, they still look like a team that got exactly what it wanted.

As the 2021 NFL Draft drew closer, it felt like the field was wide open for the Steelers for who they could pick with the 24th selection of the first round on Thursday night.

Obviously, it was; it always is when a team isn’t picking first overall, and even then, the name often isn’t truly known until commissioner Roger Goodell announces it shortly after 8 p.m. EST.

Truth is, the Steelers, a team with perceived needs at multiple positions, could have rightfully gone in any number of directions with their first-round pick. Running back, cornerback, center, offensive tackle, linebacker—they were all on the table as realistic possibilities. And that remained the case even when the Steelers’ time on the clock finally started ticking some time after 11 p.m. EST. Teven Jenkins, the big, brawling tackle from Oklahoma State, was still on the board; Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the gifted linebacker from Notre Dame, had to be a tantalizing possibly for an organization that loves those kinds of athletes at that particular position; Greg Newsome II, the cornerback from Northwestern, was still around; heck, even the top centers, including Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, were still there for the taking.

As for the first-round caliber running backs, they were all still there at 24. The Steelers had their choice of Najee Harris from Alabama, Travis Etienne from Clemson, and Javonte Williams from North Carolina.

But while it may still have seemed like a mystery at that point, was it really?

If you read the room (insiders) in the days leading up to the draft, it just had to be Harris at 24, right? Every national and local Steelers/NFL insider included Harris among a small handful of players Pittsburgh had honed in on.

Some had Harris listed as the only prospect the Steelers had their eye on.

When the Bears traded up from 20 to 11 and drafted Ohio State’s Justin Fields, the fourth quarterback taken off the board, it ended THAT speculation for Steelers fans. Yes, Alabama’s Mac Jones was still there, but even if he made it past New England at 15 (spoiler alert, he didn’t), Pittsburgh wasn’t going to blow its first true heir apparent wad on a guy who just happened to be rated where he was because of his position.

When the Jets moved up from 23 to 14th and drafted Alija Vera-Tucker, an offensive lineman from USC and not the running back New York was supposed to use its second first-round pick on, you knew the Steelers were going to have their choice of at least one of the running backs.

After the Dolphins used their second first-round pick (18th, overall) to take Hurricanes edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips, it became apparent Pittsburgh would have its choice of ALL the running backs.

However, even with all the running backs still on the board at 24—and to repeat, a few players from other positions that would have been sensible possibilities—it just felt like it was going to be Harris.

Lots of people are assuming that if Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw, who went to the Vikings at pick 23, was still there, he would have easily been the Steelers’ choice.

Some are even talking in absolutes and insisting that the Cardinals, who picked all the way up there at 16, screwed Pittsburgh out of its certain pick—Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins.

We’ll never know for sure, but did you see how quickly the Steelers got their pick in after they went on the clock? It was less than two minutes by my count. They made the Jaguars, who were on the clock for approximately 172,800 minutes prior to the start of Thursday’s draft and STILL used about eight more before officially taking Trevor Lawrence, look downright indecisive by comparison.

Anyway, swiftness isn’t what one expects when a team is unsure of which player it wants to take.

As general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media shortly after drafting Harris, they had the look of a duo whose pre-draft plan came to fruition. They looked confident. They looked pleased.

Finally, we can continue to have debates about whether or not Najee Harris was the right choice at 24, and we have and will continue to do so long after the draft is complete.

As for the Steelers, they don’t seem to have any doubts.

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