Where did the Steelers top 4 picks rank on the NFL Draft consensus board?

The Pittsburgh Steelers made some early-round selections that fans seemed to enjoy. Did they reach these picks or get great value?

I spent more time watching film and evaluating NFL Draft prospects than you did the past three months. This was a pivotal draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as it marks a transition phase, post-Ben Roethlisberger.

Although I didn’t have much separation from the top quarterbacks in this draft class, I can’t say I was particularly thrilled when I received word that Kenny Pickett was going to be Pittsburgh’s selection with the 24th overall pick.

Fortunately, I was quite pleased with the three picks that ensued over the next two days. According to my individual 2022 NFL big board, the Steelers got excellent value on WR George Pickens, DL DeMarvin Leal, and WR Calvin Austin.

But what does the NFL Draft Consensus Board have to say about these picks?

The consensus board is a draft big board that results in player rankings of the NFL’s top-10 draft specialists, including analysts like Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, and Daniel Jeremiah. Recently, I created a graphic that shows the top four Steelers draft choices where they were selected versus their consensus board ranking:

As you can see, Pittsburgh didn’t get a positive value on their first-round selection when we against the Consensus Board. The Steelers selected Pickett with the 20th overall pick; However, his consensus rank was 31st – a reach of 11 spots in the draft.

Sometimes it is necessary to make a slight reach in the draft when it comes to money positions (QB, OT, EDGE, CB), but in hindsight, Pittsburgh could have gotten much better value than any of the other top-five quarterbacks this year. Still, if Pickett proves to be the best of the group, this selection might be worth the reach.

Steelers salvage draft with good value in the mid-rounds

Ultimately, everything is going to hinge on how good a player Kenny Pickett is for the Steelers. Nothing is more important than the QB in the NFL, and the team will go as he does. However, I liked the Pickett selection a bit more after Pittsburgh got him some gifted football players at a discounted price.

In the second round, Georgia WR George Pickens had a slight value when compared to the consensus board. The Steelers selected him with the 52nd overall pick, but he had an average pre-draft rank of 46th.

The value got even better in round three when Pittsburgh selected DeMarvin Leal – a player I was banging for the table when the Steelers were on the clock. While he has a slight tweener size and didn’t grade out particularly well last year, Leal was once considered a potential top-5 pick. He’s young and athletic with some rare pass-rush moves for a player his size. Leal was taken 84th overall but was 57th on the consensus board – a difference of almost a full round value.

The best value pick, according to the NFL Consensus Board, was WR Calvin Austin in round four. Being the 138th overall selection, Austin was 96th on the consensus board. The Memphis play-maker fell more than the fifth round, but this 42-pick discrepancy shows he should have been taken in round three.

I didn’t include Pittsburgh’s final three selections in my graphic, but all three (including Connor Heyward) would have been considered sizable when reacting to the consensus board. Fortunately, these late-round picks are far less valuable, so it’s not nearly as big of a deal.

A few years down the line, all eyes are going to be on Kenny Pickett, as he needs to show that he can be the guy leading the charge for the Steelers. At the moment, it’s at least encouraging to see the Steelers get strong value on three picks early in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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