When Terrell Edmunds ‘name was called in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ election, many were present and watching at home in shock.
The idea was that the Steelers were reached in the first round for a guy who could have been had in the third round. Then things seemed to turn around a bit with the choice of receiver James Washington, but then the back-to-back choice of QB Mason Rudolph and project tackle Chukwuma Okorafor left many scratching their heads as the Steelers continued to walk away from positions of need, grabbing guys , who would have no influence at all early in their careers – or so the mindset went.
Blink forward three years later, and Edmunds has started every game he has played for the Steelers, and has played nearly 3,000 snaps to date. Rudolph has been useful as a spot starter, while Okorafor and Washington have held key roles on the offense, including Okorafor, who slotted in as the left-back tackle in 2021.
Subsequent selections in Marcus Allen and Jaylen Samuels have also seen playing time in key games, sometimes providing valuable snaps, while in the seventh round Joshua Frazier did not make the list.
All that is a roundabout to say that the 2018 class was average. Athletic’s Dane Brugler is slightly lower in the class as a whole, place it as number 25 in the NFL in its recent draft ranking list (subscription required).
User’s No. 25 ranking of the Steelers’ class comfortably places them as the “worst” class in the AFC North, with the Ravens entering No. 1, the Browns No. 4 and the Bengals No. 18.
According to Brugler, Edmunds is still the Steelers’ best player in the class, even though he has been up and down to say the least.
“Edmunds has polarized. He has been productive with 251 tackles and three interceptions over 43 starts, but has had his share of mistakes. Edmunds has still been the best player from the 2018 class for Pittsburgh, ”said Brugler.
However, Brugler also says that Edmunds is the Steelers’ biggest miss in the class.
“It’s usually not a good sign when a team’s best player from the draft class is also their biggest miss. But that’s the situation with the Steelers. Ranked No. 90 overall on my draft board for 2018, it was a surprise to hear Edmunds ‘name called No. 28. And even though he has been productive and qualifies as the top player from the Steelers’ class, he has not lived up to it. to be an election in the first round, ”said Brugler.
However, it is important to point out that the Steelers found a defensive starter in the Edmunds, one of two games in his career. While he undoubtedly was a reach of No. 28 overall that year (especially with a guy like Cincinnati’s Jessie Bates on the board), it’s hard to overlook the fact that he’s started, appears flashing and is always available.
However, there is some good news from Brugler’s piece as the NFL Draft analyst ranked Okorafor as the Steelers’ best value. Okorafor – though he lost the training camp battle for the right starting job last summer – appeared in all 16 games last season and started 15 games after Zach Banner tore his ACL late in this week’s 1 win over the New York Giants. In total, Okorafor has appeared in 30 games in three years and appears to be the left-back tackle in Pittsburgh this season.
After Zach Banner tore his ACL in Week 1 last season, Okorafor went into the right tackle and started the last 15 games. Although not always beautiful, he showed improved agreement between hands and feet to control defenders. With a strong training camp, Okorafor could possibly be the Steelers’ left-left tackle in the season opener, ”said Brugler.
While it certainly is a draft that left a lot to be desired at every election given the guys on the board, it’s hard to say that this is generally a bad class considering that they found a legitimate starter in Edmunds, a possible second in Okorafor, the likely start of QB in 2022 in Rudolph, and a more than usable depth receiver in James Washington.
It’s certainly not one of General Manager Kevin Colbert’s best classes, but it’s far from one of the worst in GM’s long career.