After addressing the holes at linebacker and defensive line in the first two rounds and adding human lightning bolt Dri Archer in the third, the Steelers spent day 3 filling out other positions of need.
4th round: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Bryant is a tall, rangy receiver with great speed. He’s fairly unpolished, but has all the physical tools to succeed. He has upside, and our friend Ian from Steelers N’at was high on him even in the third round. Taking a pure wide receiver raises a few questions about the Archer pick in the 3rd, but that will be sorted out in training camp.
5th round: Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona
Finally, a cornerback! It’s hard to get excited over a 5th round defensive back when you have a hole on your defense right now, but Carnell Lake recruited him when he was at UCLA and seems to like him. Seeing as how that’s who will be coaching him, we might as well look at the positives. And speaking of positives, his name is Shaq. Shaq rules.
5th round: Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt
Listed as a tackle, Johnson has experience playing all across the offensive line during his sizable collegiate career. Not unlike Martavis Bryant, he’s an athletic and versatile player who needs work to be an NFL contributor.
6th round: Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA
Zumwalt is, if anything, a big hitter from the linebacker position. He reads plays well and likes to light up the ball carrier. His draft profile on NFL.com points out (as a strength) that he knocked QB Logan Thomas unconscious during the Sun Bowl. If he were a more consistent and reliable defender, he wouldn’t have fallen to the 6th round, but as a rookie he projects to make some plays on special teams.
6th round: Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
McCullers is a 6’7″, 352 lb defensive lineman. There’s not a whole lot more you need to say about him. The Steelers didn’t have depth at nose tackle before this pick, and now they have a monster truck who walks like a man. Size like that will always have a place on the Steelers’ defensive line, and with some dedication and coaching, McCullers could be the blocker eater (perhaps literally?) the Steelers have lacked since Casey Hampton was in his prime. McCullers was projected as high as a second-round pick in some places, so getting him in the sixth looks like great value.
7th round: Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts
Team captain, four-year starter, and noted for his blocking ability more than his production as a receiver, despite leaving Massachusetts with the school’s receiving record as a tight end. Essentially, he’s an actual tight end instead of a thickly-built wide receiver. Already 24 years old, Blanchflower is essentially depth at a position that could use some depth.
The Steelers came away from the draft with a lot of good athletes. Some of them are still raw, but there will be plenty of opportunities to hone their skills this season as the Steelers are going to rely on production from young players. As the undrafted free agents trickle in, expect the Steelers to bring in some of everything, save for maybe wide receiver.