5 things that mattered after days one and two of the NFL Draft

The way the first two days of the NFL Draft have unfolded for the Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed the team for awhile. The organization, true to it’s form, stuck to their usual process of building a contender through the draft.

Here are five of those pillars which have kept the Steelers franchise stable throughout the years.

First: Character Matters

The Steelers emphasized high character/tough guys. Coincidence after the tough offseasons recently? T.J Watt and James Conner are known for being high-character/high energy guys. Leaders. JuJu Smith-Shuster is a tough, Ward-esque receiver in terms of fighting for the ball and willingness to go over the middle. And Cameron Sutton doesn’t take a rep off – he works hard every play. None have off-field concerns.

Second: The Board Matters

The Steelers didn’t reach for greater need – even when the need (at DB) was great. There were DB’s round two to be had, but they stayed true to their rankings and took a receiver. No one would have blinked an eye if they took a DB round two – but they took the better player at a position seemingly of lesser need.

Third: 2018 Matters

The Steelers didn’t go for quick fixes – Watt, JuJu – these are players who have bigger upside but are less refined. They’ll take time and most won’t contribute a great deal this season – some spot duty. Interestingly third-rounder Sutton may get more reps than any of the picks.

Fourth: Free Agency Matters

For those who feel the Steelers don’t participate in free agency. The signings of Coty Sensabaugh and Tyson Alualu were big factors in their ability to take JuJu Smith-Shuster in round two.  It took the pressure off of their need for a cornerback or defensive lineman.

Fifth: Competition Matters

At the positions most in need of being addressed this offseason – wide receiver, corner, linebacker, backup running back – there are now logjams of players vying to compete and start.  There are nine receivers who can play for most teams vying for roster spots. Running back is now four players deep in terms of guys who can or have played. Corner is seven players deep with guys who have or can play significant snaps. These battles are foundational for the way the Steelers build their roster. It makes every player better.

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