Catching on: The Steelers selected wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster out of USC in the second round, and immediately emotions took over for the young receiver, who is only 20-years old.
"It's a blessing," said Smith-Schuster. "It's tough, because you have your whole family behind you and your supporters. Your name finally gets called by a team that you didn't expect a call from."
Smith-Schuster, who met with the Steelers at the NFL Scouting Combine, is a player offensive coordinator Todd Haley is excited about.
"He is a good sized receiver," said Haley. "He was very productive out there at USC. He is a really do-it-all guy. He can play inside, outside. If you had to say what he excelled at, I'd say his ability to catch the ball in combative situations, 50/50 balls as we call them, and he usually comes down with them. He's a really exciting guy and we are excited to get him here to work on.
"He's very competitive and passionate about what he does. That shows up in the run game, which is an exciting thing for us. He's not a guy that's afraid to stick his nose in there and block safeties and even some linebackers. He plays with a great passion, which is one of the exciting things about him."
Close cover:** With their first of two third round picks the team drafted defensive back Cameron Sutton from Tennessee. Sutton is the third defensive back the team has drafted in the first three rounds in the last two years, giving them plenty of youth at the position.
"Cameron is a press corner who plays close to the line of scrimmage, but he can also play off," said secondary coach Carnell Lake. "He does a good job of mirroring the wide receiver. He knows how to cover, stays close, and that is something we have been looking for."
- Conner Strong: With their second pick in the third round, awarded as a compensatory pick, the Steelers selected University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner. Conner's story is well-documented, successfully battling Hodgkin lymphoma and coming back from a knee injury to find nothing but success on the field.
"We're very excited about this young man," said running backs coach James Saxon. "Excellent football player, hard worker. He is a no-frills football player running the ball downhill. He is a great guy. What he does as a football player is what we want.
"The fun thing about being around this young man, is you know you are going to get hard work, a guy that is committed. A guy that wants to learn and get better every day."
For Conner, being drafted by the Steelers and getting to continue to play at Heinz Field is the perfect scenario.
"It's a dream come true. I am forever grateful to them for giving me an opportunity with everything I have been through," said Conner. "I know a lot of people were scared. They gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and they are going to get a great football player and I am going to give my all for them."