The Steelers 2009 season showed many holes that the Steelers need to address during the 2010 NFL draft. Below I will list I what I feel the draft needs are going into the draft. These are in no particular order and I will have my mock draft up pretty soon in the coming days.
Nose Tackle – Regardless if the Steelers decide to franchise Casey Hampton or not, the Steelers need a young 3-4 nose tackle in waiting. There are rumblings a future shift to a 4-3 defense may be coming in future years, but I do not see this happening while Dick LeBeau is still in charge of the defense. If one is drafted, you could see one that is a bit lighter and mobile that could transition into a 4-3 interior defensive tackle.
Inside Linebacker – James Farrior has definetly lost a step. A 3 down inside linebacker that has leadership qualities is needed badly. One that can play the pass as well as the run. A future captain for the defense could very well be drafted this year and play both inside and outside while delivering on special teams in his rookie year.
Cornerback – The Steelers drafred Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis in 2009. Burnett is still learning and Lewis barely saw the field. Neither showed qualities of being a shut down corner. William Gay and old man Deshea Townsend are both free agents and both are only fringe nickel corners at best if either are brought back.
Safety – Other than Troy Polamalu, the Steelers are weak at the both strong and free safety. Ryan Clark and Tyrone Carter are both free agents and even if Clark is brought back, father time has caught up with him. You could see both a strong and free safety addressed in the draft. Hopefully both are hitters who can make an instant impact on special teams.
Offensive Line – You can never have enough good offensive linemen. The Steelers have 4 of the 5 starters under contract and Ramon Foster proved he can be a swing guy. A left tackle that can play both sides early on would be a welcome sight. A center needs to be groomed for the future as well.
Running Back – Rashard Mendenhall showed he can fit the role of a 3 down running back, but with Willie Parker likely gone and Mewelde Moore being a 3rd down back only, it leaves the Steelers with a bulky Frank Summers and practice squaders Isaac Redman and Justin Vincent as the only true backups to Mendenhall. If Summers is groomed as a pure fullback, then the Steelers are even thinner at the position.
Right Defensive End – Brett Keisel will be 32 in mid September and Nick Eason is a free agent. A young right defensive end is needed to get groomed fast. Rookie Ziggy Hood is better suited on the left side, but regardless, the defensive line needs younger bodies.
Tight End – Matt Spaeth is a free agent and not a blocking tight end. Heath Miller will be the man for a while, but the other tight ends on the roster are mostly H-Backs. A true duel threat tight end that can both block and catch should be addressed. If nothing else for depth in case Miller were to go down or need a breather.