The Pittsburgh Steelers came into the 2021 NFL Draft with a few glaring needs, and they did a somewhat successful job meeting those needs, all things considered. They drafted nine players, one in each round, and two in rounds four and seven. Let’s review these picks and hand out some Steelers draft grades.
Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Grades | 2021 NFL Draft Class
Round 1, Pick 24 – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers got the best running back in the NFL Draft in Najee Harris, while fulfilling a positional need, which was a huge win. However, with more glaring needs ,such as center, offensive tackle and cornerback, there were definitely better picks to be made, which is why this pick can’t be an “A.” At 6-2, 229 pounds, Harris fits the bruising-back style that the Steelers have become known for. However, he can also carry his weight as a receiver, which compliments the pass-heavy offense.
Round 2, Pick 55 – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
A very similar case as the first round pick, Pat Freiermuth is a talented option at tight end that showed promise in the receiving game at Penn State. he should fit quite well into Matt Canada’s offense, but there were a handful of positions that the Steelers had far greater need for with this pick. With Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey still on the board, this pick, while of some use, was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Round 3, Pick 87 – Kendrick Green, G, Illinois
It took the Steelers all the way until the end of night two to scoop up an offensive lineman, and when they did, it wasn’t even a center or tackle. Green, who was a guard for the majority of his career at Illinois, did however have some experience at center, and that’s where he will most likely be on the Steelers’ line this season, which earns a B.
Round 4, Pick 128 – Dan Moore Jr., OT, Texas A&M
After securing depth at guard/center, the Steelers took another much-needed offensive lineman with Dan Moore Jr. The former Aggie will give the Steelers another option at tackle, and he could make at run at a starting spot with the loss of Alejandro Villanueva and Zach Banner coming off an ACL tear.
Round 4, Pick 140 – Buddy Johnson, ILB, Texas A&M
Going with another Texas A&M product, the Steelers made a nice addition to their linebacking corps, most likely to backup Devin Bush and Vince Williams. Following Bush’s season-ending injury last year, the Steelers saw how crucial inside linebacker depth was, which was probably factored into this pick. Buddy Johnson led the Aggies in tackles (86) and tackles for loss (8.5) in 2020 and is a quality depth piece.
Round 5, Pick 156 – Isaiahh Loudermilk, DT, Wisconsin
The Steelers traded up to take the 6-6, 274-pound defensive lineman, who had 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in six games this season with the Badgers. Isaiahh Loudermilk played end in college, but has the size to play tackle as well, making him a valuable addition to the line with Cam Heyward about to turn 32 and Tyson Alualu about to turn 34.
Round 6, Pick 216 – Quincy Roche, LB, Miami
With the loss of Bud Dupree and very limited options behind TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith, this pick was a much-needed grab for the defense. Quincy Roche, who played three years at Temple before transferring to Miami for his senior year, has great value for a sixth round pick and is a promising edge player who racked up 14.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2020.
Round 7, Pick 245 – Tre Norwood, CB, Oklahoma
It’s disappointing that the Steelers didn’t address the cornerback position until the seventh round, although Tre Norwood is a good-sized corner at six-foot, 192 pounds. He had five interceptions in his last six games at Oklahoma and is also an experienced special teamer.
Round 7, Pick 254 – Pressley Harvin III, P, Georgia Tech
The 263-pound Ray Guy award winner will be a surefire fan favorite. Pressley Harvin III has an enormous leg, leading the nation in average yards per punt (48). He also showed his ability on fake punts, with an absolute dime for a 41-yard touchdown against Miami in 2019.
Overall Steelers Draft Grade: B
The Steelers got a star in the first round and fulfilled many needs, although most came way later in the draft than they could have.