The Pittsburgh Steelers typically take a conservative approach to the draft, which has served them very well in years past. But they’re breaking the mold this year, and targeting players with a ton of upside who have fallen to due some off-field concerns.
The first gamble was with Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams, who failed multiple drug tests in college and failed another test at the combine. On top of the off-field concerns, Adams also shows inconsistent effort on the field. He has the size to dominate, but often does just enough to get by.
In the 4th round, the Steelers also gambled on Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu. While Ta’amu does not come with any major character concerns, he is still a risk due to issues with his weight. Ta’amu has played at 400 pounds at various points in his career and has never demonstrated the ability to keep his weight under control. In general, when guys can’t stay in shape in college they typically don’t turn things around once they’re collecting an NFL paycheck.
The Steelers are definitely in position to take these risks, but it is interesting that it seems to stray from their typical draft strategy.