NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 29 — Steelers have 24th overall pick, eight total picks
by Bill Neal
For New Pittsburgh Courier
:10—Let’s start the end…at the beginning. Where it all starts. The snap of the ball! Maurkice Pouncey, the first Steelers center to not go in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a thousand years is gone. So, the first order of business is to replace him. J.C. Hassenauer, who had a little more than 300 snaps is likely the man. But…But…But it could be B.J. Finney that gets the party started.
:09—Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler and Zach Banner are all free agents so it still remains to be seen who the new “O” line will be. But you can count on a second- or third-round ready-to-play offensive lineman to be drafted. The good news is David DeCastro will return at the All-Pro guard spot. And we can now count on Chukwuma Okorafor to step up and step in.
:08—Unfortunately, Eric “can’t catch the easy passes” Ebron will be your tight end. Let’s just hope he can shut up long enough to play.
:07—Your outstanding wide receiver corps will be outstanding for sure now that JuJu Smith-Schuster is inked in. Along with future star Diontae Johnson…I know, I know, but they got him some super-glue gloves!
:06—For those of you that somehow thought Big Ben was not coming back after that disastrous end-of-season last year, don’t underestimate the heart of champions. If at all possible, champions don’t go out like that. Yes, he’s ready, yes, he’s willing and yes, he’s able. And will you please stop worrying about the money…it’s not your money…whatever Ben makes doesn’t take the bread off your table!
:05—Right now your running back is Benny Snell Jr….to never be confused with Benny Snell Sr., but he’ll do as the back-up. Now that you do-gooders ran James Conner out of town (he’s now with Arizona), it’s a wait-and-see running game via the draft or free agency.
:04—Not a lot of hard work needed on the defensive side of the ball. The Steeler way continues to be pure. Stephon Tuitt at left defensive end, Tyson Alualu at nose tackle, Cam Heyward at right defensive end, the should-have-been-defensive-MVP, T.J. Watt, at OLB, Vince Williams at ILB (yep, he re-signed…that was the plan from the gate), future Pro-Bowler Devin Bush back the other inside linebacker spot, Alex Highsmith at SLB, Joe Hayden at cornerback, Terrell Edmunds at strong safety, superstar Minkah Fitzpatrick at free safety and Cameron Sutton at the other corner. Collectively this Black and Gold old-school, hard-hitting crew will re-establish their No. 1 defensive ranking and carry the Steelers to the playoffs next year.
:03—Your special teams guys…as if you really care. Chris Boswell at place kicker, Jordan Berry at punter, Diontae Johnson at punt returner, Anthony McFarland is your kickoff returner. A more-than-adequate combo with room to step up a notch or two.
:02—Now that Matt Canada is your offense coordinator, you can stop blaming everything on the horrible play calling (Lord, please let that be the truth!!!)
:01—And last, but not least, the highly underrated but very, very successful Mike Tomlin returns to lead Ben and the boys towards the Lombardi. And yes, that is a real possibility. And the Steelers just gave him a three-year extension. So take that, Tomlin haters!