NFL Draft Insiders
The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?
ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.
Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: B+
Kiper: Credit to the Steelers for taking a 3-4 pass-rusher with their first pick, knowing that James Harrison (soon to be 39) won't be around forever and that former first-round pick Bud Dupree hasn't exactly lit the league on fire (8.5 sacks in two seasons). I had Tyus Bowser rated higher than T.J. Watt, but it was close. I thought JuJu Smith-Schuster might be an early Day 2 pick, but he fell to the end of the second round. He had an inconsistent season but has No. 1 potential. I love his competitiveness and willingness to block. If Martavis Bryant plays like he did in 2015 and can stay on the field, Big Ben could have some of the best weapons in the league.
Cameron Sutton went right about where I thought, and he could return punts. James Conner is a great story and pretty good player, but there were better backs available, including Samaje Perine, who's a better bruising-type runner. The Steelers will hope he slims down a bit like Le'Veon Bell and stars. If Joshua Dobbs ends up being a competent backup to Ben Roethlisberger, that's probably a win for Pittsburgh. The cost was low, and the upside is high, but he's nowhere near ready to play right away. I thought he could have gone as high as the second round.
All in all, needs filled.
|7/248||Keion Adams||DE||WESTERN MICHIGAN|
Todd McShay's favorite pick
Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee (No. 135 pick)
Dobbs has a chance to be a good starter in this league, and landing with a team like Pittsburgh will only increase his chances. Dobbs has a live arm and the ability to throw with anticipation, and his excellent mobility comes in handy when he needs to extend plays. I'm really impressed with Dobbs' makeup -- he juggled aerospace engineering classes and being a starting quarterback in the SEC. Imagine what he'll be able to do now as he focuses solely on football. Dobbs is the perfect quarterback for the Steelers to draft and learn from Ben Roethlisberger -- and the team got tremendous value getting him at pick No. 135 (we had him ranked 63rd overall).
Scouts Inc. on 2017 class
1 (30) T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin | Highlights
What he brings: Watt is an above-average pass-rusher with the initial burst, balance and closing speed to threaten off the edge in the NFL. He also does a nice job of setting the edge against the run and has the range to make plays in pursuit. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: No Steeler recorded more than 5.0 sacks last season, James Harrison turns 39 in May and Jarvis Jones departed via free agency, making outside linebacker the Steelers' most pressing need. Watt is a perfect fit for their 3-4 scheme and projects as a starter early in his career. -- Steve Munch
2 (30) JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC | Highlights
What he brings: Smith-Schuster is a possession receiver who lacks elite top-end speed to stretch the field vertically. However, he has good size, runs quality routes and has very good hands and body control when adjusting to throws outside of his frame. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: Martavis Bryant has been conditionally reinstated, but Markus Wheaton signed with Chicago and Sammie Coates is coming off offseason groin surgery. Smith-Schuster is a savvy and physical route runner who is ready to contribute and push for a starting WR role for the Steelers early on. -- Steve Muench
3 (30) Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee | Highlights
What he brings: Sutton dealt with a lower leg injury and failed to get on track as a senior in 2016. He has average size but shows quality awareness, along with the quickness and mirror skills to potentially develop into a starter as a slot corner. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: The Steelers hit on CB Artie Burns (first round, 2016) and safety Sean Davis (second, 2016) but need to continue to get more talent in the secondary. Sutton could be an upgrade for CB Ross Cockrell, who is more suited as a reserve than a starter. -- Kevin Weidl
3 (41) James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh | Highlights
What he brings: Conner is a highly competitive power back who runs with outstanding balance to grind out tough yards after contact. He may never be a major weapon in the pass game, but he shows soft hands as an outlet receiver, along with the size/toughness to protect. He'll contribute on special teams, too. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: Knile Davis signed a one-year deal and former backup DeAngelo Williams is a free agent (and 34), so Conner is expected to provide some much-needed depth behind Le'Veon Bell. -- Steve Muench
4 (29) Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee | Highlights
What he brings: Dobbs took advantage of the postseason process to improve his draft stock, including a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. He has a very good physical skill set with size, arm strength and mobility. He also has the mental capacity and competitive temperament to develop into a quality backup and potential starter down the road. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: Ben Roethlisberger (35 years old) considered retiring for several months, and while backup Landry Jones re-signed for two years, he hasn't shown enough to be considered the heir apparent. Dobbs has the tools and intangibles to develop into an effective starter in time. With Roethlisberger and Jones ahead of him, he has time to learn the offense and improve his lower-body mechanics. -- Steve Muench
5 (30) Brian Allen, CB, Utah
What he brings: A former receiver, Allen is a developmental prospect with just 12 total starts at corner. He has rare measurables and he tested very well at the combine. He has the potential to develop into a quality starter in a heavy press or Cover 2 scheme. -- Steve Muench
6 (30) Colin Holba, LS, Louisville
What he brings: The Steelers are looking to groom the eventual replacement for long snapper Greg Warren, who is 35 years old and entering his 13th season. -- Kevin Weidl
7 (30) Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
What he brings: Adams is a disruptive edge defender who fits best at 3-4OLB where he has the length, initial quickness and closing speed to develop into an effective pass-rusher. -- Steve Muench
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