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Pro Football Focus gives the Steelers a below-average grade for their 2018 draft class

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus recently regraded the 2018 draft classes and he didn't have a good review of the Steelers draft haul from three years ago.

Renner gave the Steelers 2018 draft class a below-average grade after originally giving them an average grade back in 2018.

"Terrell Edmunds is still one of the biggest first-round reaches we’ve ever seen compared to the PFF draft board — we had him 196th overall. So far, we think we’ve been a tad closer," Renner wrote. "However, we were off on James Washington and Mason Rudolph — two players higher on the PFF draft board than where they were selected. Neither has shown anything too promising through three seasons, unfortunately."

The Steelers placed the fifth-year option on free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick this offseason, which was a no-brainer as he made the Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro the last two seasons. However, they opted to not place the fifth-year option on Terrell Edmunds.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said on 93.7 The Fan earlier this month that declining the fifth-year option on Edmunds was all based on the salary cap and not performance. "We thought last year was his best season," Colbert said.

Since Fitzpatrick has made two Pro Bowls in his career, he'll earn $10.621 million on the fifth-year option. Edmunds would have made $6,753,000 on the fifth-year option.

Edmunds had the best year of his young career in 2020, but he still struggles to make impact plays and force turnovers. In his three years with the Steelers, he's produced just three interceptions.

Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns and Edmunds are the only Steelers first-round picks who have not received the fifth-year option since it was instituted in 2011.

When looking at the rest of the Steelers 2018 draft class, James Washington has improved every season from his rookie year and has a solid 14.9 yards per reception average. He's a nice deep threat and does well in making contested catches. Overall, he just needs to be more consistent and put up bigger numbers. The depth of the Steelers' receiving corps is why Washington's numbers really don't stand out.

As for the other Oklahoma State product, Mason Rudolph looks like a career backup and hasn't been all that impressive in his nine starts. In 2019, when replacing Ben Roethlisberger who suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2, Rudolph completed 176 of 283 passes (62.2%) for 1,765 yards and had a 13-9 touchdown-interception ratio, along with an 82.0 quarterback rating and a 5-3 record as a starter. Rudolph was eventually replaced by undrafted rookie free agent Devlin "Duck" Hodges in Week 12 and didn't make a start for the rest of the year.

The Steelers gave Rudolph a one-year contract extension last month and he could be the bridge quarterback for a year once Roethlisberger retires. As far as being the heir apparent to No. 7, it's highly unlikely.

Chuks Okorafor was drafted in the third round by the Steelers in 2018 and he's projected to be the starting left tackle in 2021 after starting at right tackle last year. Okorafor struggled at right tackle last season and many question whether if he's equipped to protect Roethlisberger's blindside. Of the 79 tackles that PFF graded last year, he ranked 70th.


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