The Pittsburgh Steelers could divide their NFL draft so far into a three part play. There is Part One: instant impacts. Whether or not Terrell Edmunds can become a starter, he steps in immediately a dime safety that is valued in the NFL today. In James Washington, the team saw an obvious replacement to the recently traded Martavis Bryant.
Part Two: The future. The team used an extra seventh-round pick to trade up a few spots and take Mason Rudolph, a quarterback that they may see as replacing Ben Roethlisberger one day. From there, a left tackle project with infinite upside, but no shot of making an impact next season.
Part three of the Pittsburgh Steelers roller coaster ride focused on versatility. We have instant impacts, we have the future, let’s shake things up and make both units more versatile.
Insert Marcus Allen.
Allen is a safety, but he plays viscous and nasty and profiles as a hybrid linebacker. He is a bit undersized at 215 and will not live in the box. However, his versatility to float around from safety to linebacker is needed. He can match up on tight ends, he can stuff the run and with Terrell Edmunds, Morgan Burnett, and Sean Davis, all four can mix and match deep, in the box and in the slot.
Insert Jaylen Samuels
You need versatile defensive backs for today’s NFL because running backs and tight ends are starting to cross the positional lines and become wide receivers. Le’Veon Bell is an excellent receiver. Rob Gronkowski and Rex Burkhead provide schematic advantages.
Jaylen Samuels is half running back, half tight end, half full back, half wide receiver. He is what you want him to be. Spread him out wide. Put him in the backfield. Motion him across the line, motion him to the backfield. He can get on the field with Le’Veon Bell. They can mix and match Vance McDonald and Jesse James with him as a tight end. It makes defenses need a player like Marcus Allen.
Overall it has been a roller coaster ride with a ton of surprises. However, it is clear that the Steelers come in with a plan, and it is clear that no one outside the organization has much good insight into what that plan is. They stick to their values and board and that has to be respected.