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Steelers complete third day of draft by selecting Tennessee QB

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The Pittsburgh Steelers completed day three of the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting four players, starting with Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs.

PITTSBURGH—The Steelers stocked up on the final day of the draft. They had one pick each in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds. General Manager Kevin Colbert was pleased with the outcome of this year’s draft.

“Just to wrap up the draft, we’re very pleased to add some good players who will help us in different areas where we needed help,” Colbert said. “There weren’t really many surprises. It unfolded the way we had hoped.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin is looking forward to now developing the new additions to the Steelers.

“It was a culmination of a lot of work. I’m excited about what’s ahead,” Tomlin said. “Hearts and smarts. A lot of these guys excel in those areas. Competition is the truest motivator. “

In the twenty-ninth pick of the fourth round (135 overall), the Steelers chose 6-3, 215 quarterback Joshua Dobbs from Tennessee. Coincidentally, former Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman, who is also entered in this year’s NFL draft, transferred from Tennessee after Dobbs earned the starting slot there.

Quarterback coach Randy Fichtner credited Dobbs for having a good head on his shoulders. He earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering and is working on an MBA. He considers his education a good backup plan when his football career is over. Fichtner spoke to Dobbs at the NFL combine and he visited the Steelers as well.

“We evaluated a lot of quarterbacks. He’s a winning quarterback. He checked a lot of boxes, a lot of strengths, his [football smarts] are strong. He’s athletic. He can extend plays,” Fichtner said. “Arm strength is a must. To me, it starts with arm strength. I would rate this kid’s arm as strong, very good. Accuracy is very good.”

Dobbs had a feeling the Steelers might be calling him on Saturday.

“It was funny. I had a couple friends over. I saw Pittsburgh coming up. Two picks before their pick, I got a call from the 412 area code. It was Mike Tomlin,” Dobbs said. “The mental toughness it takes to get a four year degree in college, it’s the same mindset in the film room and onto the field. I try to be a consistent leader on the field every day. Each day, push to be great and to win. I’ll try to bring that to the Steelers every day.”

Dobbs and Steeler third round pick Cam Sutton from Tennessee were actually roommates during their freshman year at Tennessee. He had nothing but good things to say about Sutton.

“Cam Sutton is my guy. Me and Cam were roommates my freshman year,” Dobbs said. “I saw him get drafted yesterday and I was real happy for him. He was one of the first ones to call me about ten minutes ago. I’m definitely excited to come and join him.”

Dobbs finshed his career at Tennessee with a 23-12 record and 3-0 in bowl games. He set records at Tennessee with career rushing yards by a quarterback (2,160), career touchdowns by a

quarterback (32), single season rushing yards by a quarterback (12 in 2016), and finished fifth in Tennessee history in career passing yards (7,138) and third in total offense with 9,360 yards (7,138 passing and 2,160 rushing).

In the fifth round, the Steelers chose 6-3, 215 cornerback Brian Allen from Utah with the thirtieth pick (173 overall). He converted from originally playing wide receiver. Lake felt Allen would have been drafted higher had he stayed in school another year.

“He’s a tall, physical corner with very good skills. He’s long, he can play the line of scrimmage, press coverage or man. There’s a lot of upside with him,” Lake said. “He’s a good jumper with good ball skills. It will be tough to throw the ball over his head.”

Allen played receiver his first two years at Utah. When he switched to defense, it was the first time in his life he played on that side of the ball.

“My coach asked me to try defense in 2014 and I’ve been there ever since. I think learning keys as a wide receiver can help me on the other side of the ball,” Allen said. “My most proudest moments were getting two [college] degrees (Human Development and Family Studies, Economics). “

He had 62 career tackles and 14 pass defenses with five interceptions. He played primarily on special teams his first two years while playing wide receiver.

With pick number 30 in the sixth round (213 overall), the Steelers went off the board and chose 6-4, 248 long snapper Colin Holba from Louisville. He was ranked as the top long snapper in the draft. Holba spoke with the Steelers at the Senior Bowl and the combine. He was just as surprised in being drafted as most of the Steelers fans who wondered why they would draft a long snapper.

“I was surprised, absolutely. Being a specialist, very rarely do us guys get drafted, so for this to happen is beyond my wildest imagination. I know [the Steelers] have Greg Warren, one of the best there is. I’m looking forward to learning everything I can,” Holba said. “I’ll do whatever the Steelers want me to do. I spoke with the Steelers at the Senior Bowl and the combine.”

The Steelers finished the draft with the thirtieth pick in the seventh round (248 overall) by choosing 6-2, 245 linebacker/defensive end Keion Adams from Western Michigan. He played in 50 games and had 124 tackles, 32 tackles-for-loss, 14.5 sacks five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

“Not many long snappers come along that we feel are draftable,” General Manager Kevin Colbert said. “In college football, most long snappers are walk-ons. [Holba] had the size that not many long snappers have. This will be competition for [current long snapper] Greg [Warren].”

The Steelers also agreed to terms with nine rookie free agents, following the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft. Below is a list of the nine rookie free agents:

Nelson Adams, DT, Mississippi State
Christian Brown, DT, WVU
Ethan Cooper, OG, IUP
Francis Kallon, DE, Georgia Tech
Keith Kelsey, LB, Louisville
Scott Orndoff, TE, Pitt
Nick Schuessler, QB, Clemson
Rushel Shell, RB, WVU
Terrish Webb, S, Pitt

“As we get free agents signed, we’ll trim our roster,” Colbert said. “Every guy will have to compete for positions.”

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