The Pittsburgh Steelers focused on improving their defense in the recent NFL Draft. The team didn’t disappoint fans, as they stuck to defense, only selecting two offensive players.
The Steelers, for the first time since 1997, selected a cornerback in the first round. Artie Burns, the cornerback out of Miami, was their selection. Steelers fans were worried that they would pick a linebacker, as the Steelers have in the past three NFL Drafts (Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier, and Bud Dupree).
Here is the full list of who the Steelers selected in the NFL Draft.
First Round: Artie Burns, CB, Miami: The Steelers needed a cornerback, and they finally got their man. While the team would have much rather drafted William Jackson III, the Cincinnati Bengals scooped him up right before the Steelers pick. However, Burns isn’t a bad pick. In his junior year at Miami Burns appeared in 12 games, making 36 tackles and recording six interceptions. Another upside? Burns is fast, as he used to be a track runner.
Second Round: Sean Davis, S, Maryland: Another area for the Steelers that needed more bulk was the safety position. However, Sean Davis isn’t just a safety. He’s played cornerback before. The Steelers need a player with Davis’ versatility. In his senior year at Maryland, he starred in 12 games, recording 88 tackles, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, and even a sack. Davis might be what the Steelers have been looking for since Troy Polamalu’s retirement.
Third Round: Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State: The Steelers got some more bulk on the defensive line. With Steve McLendon going to the New York Jets, Hargrave will seemingly be his replacement at nose tackle, since the Steelers don’t have a nose tackle on their roster. In his senior season, Hargrave made 59 tackles and two forced fumbles. In his career, he’s had 13.5 sacks.
Fourth Round: Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU: Finally making an offensive selection, the Steelers selected Jerald Hawkins to help their offensive line. Hawkins will be on an offensive line that includes Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Ryan Harris. Hawkins will presumably take over the place of Kelvin Beachum, who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sixth Round: Travis Feeney, LB, Washington: Finally selecting a linebacker, the Steelers took Travis Feeney off the board from other NFL teams. A former PAC-12 player, Feeney appeared in 12 games last year for Washington. In his final season at Washington, Feeney had 56 tackles, eight sacks, and zero interceptions. His eight sacks was the most of his collegiate career.
Seventh Round: Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston: Demarcus Ayers, the wide receiver the Steelers took out of Houston, will primarily be used as a kick and punt returner. That was a big part of his job at Houston. Now the Steelers won’t have to worry about Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton getting hurt on kickoffs and punts.
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