Team Needs: ILB, OLB, WR
Projected Top Three Picks:
First Round- Takkarist McKinley, DE UCLA
Second Round- Josh Reynolds, WR Texas A&M
Third Round- Marlon Mack, RB USF-
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be heading into the 2017 draft looking to fine-tune the depth of the team on both sides of the ball. There are improvements that can be made at the skill positions on offense, as well as finding new rotational players at linebacker and in the secondary. As is the case each year with the Steelers, they will likely go with the best player available instead of reaching for a certain position in a round. That is just what they will do with the first pick of Takkarist McKinley, as they look to fill the need for a pass rusher on the outside. McKinley is a very strong edge rusher with exceptional speed to get to the quarterback. He is still a bit green, but as he rounds into shape, expect him to play comparably to the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul or Tamba Hali. This selection will also add value to a young and improving Steelers defense. This unit could hold value as a late-round selection or streaming option given the inept offenses in their division.
With the team perhaps being a bit nervous about the availability of Martavis Bryant, the second-round selection of Josh Reynolds seems to be an ideal fit. Reynolds, with a very similar body type to Bryant, can get down the field in a hurry and has great ball skills while it is in the air. He will no doubt be a downfield threat in this offense, as his frame will not allow for many crossing routes or allow his body to take a lot of punishment. In the Steelers offense, Reynolds could find some value as the WR3/WR4 with the team often utilizing three- and four-wide receiver sets. In his rookie year, however, do not expect much of an impact in the stats column, leaving him as a waiver wire player in Fantasy. His true value in 2017 will come as a late-round selection in dynasty formats.
Ben Roethlisberger returns to the Steelers after “flirting” with the notion of retirement in the offseason. In doing so, this balanced high-octane offensive attack should go right back to business. With the amount of points scored by this team, Roethlisberger remains an intriguing option in Fantasy. But to be honest, it’s fool’s gold, as he will have huge Fantasy weeks that tend to be followed up by multiple weeks of duds. His home-road splits are becoming widely known to savvy Fantasy owners, so don’t be fooled into drafting him inside the Top 10 at the position. He is a fringe starter at best as we enter the 2017 Fantasy season.
This passing game begins and ends with Antonio Brown. He should be in store for yet another big year, and if you are questioning whether or not he is the top receiver on the board, or whether he should be drafted in the Top 5, then have your head checked. If Bryant is reinstated to the league, he will assume the WR2 role in this offense and has shown he can be very productive in standard leagues with his touchdown potential. Bryant should be looked at as a WR4 come draft time. Eli Rogers is worth a late-round flier in PPR formats to see if he can hit, but otherwise he should go undrafted. Ladarius Green will be looked at as a sleeper coming into 2017, but can he stay healthy? If you miss out on the top tight ends in the draft, Green could be an option for you late.
With the potential of playing in 16 games in 2017, Le’Veon Bell will be either the first or second player off the board in virtually all drafts this season. Bell is the centerpiece of this offense and gets a majority of the workload as a rusher, and he could possibly catch 100 passes this year. The Steelers know what they have in Bell, and they look to get the ball in his hands early and often in games. If he can avoid the injury bug, expect Bell to have a career year. If you are not drafting in either the first or second spot, you will not be getting Bell this season. When spending this high a pick on a player like Bell, you almost have to handcuff the player. The last couple of seasons that player has been DeAngelo Williams. But Williams is still a free agent and won’t likely be back with the team, which is why I have them going after Marlon Mack in Round 3. Whoever the backup may be, if you own Bell, be sure to draft his handcuff.
Passing Offense- 262.6 YPG (5th)
Running Offense- 110.0 YPG (14th)
Points Per Game- 24.9 PPG (10th)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB- Ben Roethlisberger, 246 points
RB- Le’Veon Bell, 242 points
WR- Antonio Brown, 201 points
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