Five Positions That The Steelers Will Address In 2013 Draft

By Jeremy Hritz

It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers have several areas of need heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, and while need normally does not dictate who they draft early on, they will more than likely use their later picks to address lack of depth at certain positions. If when the Steelers select at pick 17, the best player on the board happens to be at their position of need, that player will come off of the board. Additionally, if a player that they covet happens to fall just a few selections prior to the Steelers spot in the first round, they may be tempted to trade up. Conversely, if they believe they can move down a few spots and snatch the player they desire, they could do so and stockpile a pick or two in the process.

With the Senior Bowl almost here, the initial mock drafts will soon be available on Steelers Depot. In preparation for the release of my first mock draft, I am offering an overview of the top five positions that the Steelers should address this coming April.

1.Wide Receiver

While nobody will argue that Mike Wallace is a complete receiver, his impact on the game-planning of opposing defensive coordinators because of his speed cannot be ignored. His loss will need to be compensated for in some way; otherwise, the Steelers passing game cannot be expected to improve. Ben  Roethlisberger has always wanted a tall receiver, and this may be the draft that his wish is granted. While some may recall Limas Sweed when considering drafting a wide receiver early, his bust status does not condemn taking a receiver in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. While there are no darlings at the receiver position in this year’s draft, the Steelers should have their shot at every available receiver, and I believe that they will take advantage of that, especially when considering Wallace’s departure and Heath Miller’s injury.

2. Outside Linebacker

The need for a pass rusher is well-documented and selecting one early is definitely in the Steelers plans. However, with it appearing that no OLB can step in right away and contribute early outside of Jarvis Jones, the Steelers probably won’t pull the trigger on an outside backer until the second or third round. The goal more than likely will be to draft a prospect who can contribute as a role player as a pass rusher and then develop him along the way to be a complete player.

3. Running Back

The Steelers are hurting at the running back position, and they have nothing more than complementary backs in Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, that is if they are resigned. There is some talent in this year’s draft at the running back position, and the Steelers could take a shot as early as the second round on a back depending on which players are available. Value is to be had at the position in the later rounds, but the Steelers could be enticed by a player like Eddie Lacy and his physicality in the second round.

4. Safety

The Steelers need to address the depth at the safety position, which is non-existent. The good thing is that that have about two years to bring a player up to speed to step in for the current elders at the position. While they have Robert Golden, and it appears they are attempting to develop him, they will need to bring in another safety who is physical and can learn from Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu.

5. Inside Linebacker

Lawrence Timmons is set inside, but who will be playing alongside him in 2013? Undoubtedly, it will not be a rookie, but again, there is no depth at the position. If the Steelers do not bring Larry Foote back, either Sean Spence or Stevenson Sylvester will be expected to man up. The Steelers will attempt to bolster their depth at the inside linebacker position in the later rounds of the draft. Early on, I believed it could be a possibility that they could draft Manti Te\’o, but with his recent controversy and with the issues of Steelers rookies from 2012, that seems to be unlikely.

Again, player availability is going to have a tremendous impact on who the Steelers select, but there is no question that they have serious needs at these five positions. When the smoke clears at the draft’s conclusion, it is safe to say that the Steelers will have made a selection in each of the five aforementioned areas.

Stay posted for my comprehensive first mock draft which will be available next weekend prior to the Super Bowl.

  • zyzak

    They can pick a safety up later in draft, they have to work offense in this draft. OT, TE RB WR QB Sign Mendenhall cheapest best way to build depth ar RB and guarantee that they have a proven NFL back

  • mlc43

    I have to say that I find this completely puzzling. Even thinking of taking a WR 1 or 2 is a mistake. The long term needs of this team are on defense and not addressing that with the 1st two picks will be a mistake. OLB and Secondary has to be a priority. I can see WR, or more likely RB, addressed in the 3rd, but the 1st two rounds need to be about the defense.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Best player available…

  • mlc43

    I can almost see your OT…TE, RB and WR have no 1st round value this year. We have an aging defense that can’t get pressure on the QB to save their life. We are losing Harrison most likely, Woodley and TP are in a contest to see who can miss more games lately. Defense is the must. Not to mention we might lose Lewis. Oh, Mendy will not be back.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I hope they draft a TE as well. Would be nice to see a good complement to Heath

  • grw1960

    Got to agree, Pretty safe bet WR and RB because of the unlikely hood of Wallace or Mendy being resigned.

    However all positions are a possiblity until we know who is resigned and the Cap is met.

    I could easily see the Steelers drafting DE/OLB , WR , RB , SS , QB or TE in the first 4 or 5 rounds and then OL Back ups or ILB in the late rounds . With UFDAs at any position that needs better competition.

  • grw1960

    Agreed is a possibility. This draft will ahve good depth at safety in the middle rounds.

  • Kysteeler

    I hope that Jarvis Jones falls in the 1st

  • Kysteeler

    Give me Zack Ertz from Stanford

  • Jason White

    Id like to see them trade back a little bit and take Matt Elam. I know there is depth at safety in this draft but Id rather find something closer to Polamalu than end up with something similiar to Mundy. Polamalu could hang it up at anytime and we have no depth behind him. I want a guy who could step into the starting role in a year or two not someone who will be around for 4-5 years and still not be good enough. Matt Elam would benefit greatly learning from Troy.

  • LucasY59

    I agree, with Miller’s injury I think that a TE is more important than WR in this Draft. Brown, Sanders, and Cotchery will do ok (no possible pro bowlers other than Brown) but having Paulsen possibly be the #1 TE to start the season is very scary IMO. also from what Ive seen most people say, the WR that the Steelers need to pick is a Tall, Tough possesion type WR (sounds like a TE to me) and when Miller gets back from injury having two TE threats can only help the WR’s they already have. maybe get a speedster in the later rounds to replace Wallace and wait till next year to get a WR early

  • I totally agree (assuming the bpa theory is the honored within reason)

    Drafting someone to start in this defense is hard enough. Waiting another year to draft defensive replacements would be a disaster unless they go the free agent route.

  • Montee Ball > Eddie Lacy

  • 1st Round Pick: DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah
    2nd Round Pick: *Depending on how many RBs go early, RB Montee Ball*
    3rd Round Pick: WR Da’Rick Rogers

  • steeltown

    I think you can add TE to that list
    One thing is for sure, they will have alot of options. They have multiple positions of need, some immediate and some for depth purposes. They truly will be able to go best player available.. and not just in the 1st Rd

  • steeltown

    I woudnt mind a trade back, get an extra pick and still target a guy like Elam or Reid.. or maybe going after one of the top TE’s

  • chris

    I do not understand the Pittsburgh media’s infatuation with Eddie Lacy. Everyone is over hyping a player based on his performance in one game. Before the national title Lacy would have been an afterthought, a fourth or fifth round talent. He is a running back that runs a 4.55 forty and that is being generous. I expect typical yinzers to buy into a national title performance as reason for drafting a player. However, you guys should be smarter and more educated when ranking Lacy. His career body of work is unimpressive, his incredible line helped with the “vision” you refer to him possessing. The upcoming drafts boasts running back talent far superior to Eddie Lacy. Gio Bernard is a complete running back. He is who you guys should be talking about. He has the complete skill set, FAST POWERFUL runner who is a great pass catcher. Levean Bell is a better version of Eddie Lacy, and will be available in the 3rd or fourth round. Rex Burkhead has rainey esque ability but frame to carry an nfl load. Montee Ball has may be a bit over rated but atleast he has a resumee to back it up. Hell I would rather have a one legged Marcus Lattimore than Ron Dayne oops I mean eddie Lacy!

  • we need a TE too..a tall big TE thats a fed zone down in the first and get the TE from Stanford or ND..BUT, if Warmack is there, pull the trigger and grab him fast!

  • how gr8 would it of been had they drafted ty hilton last yr in the 3rd vs Spence( nothing against Spence ), and got Burflict w/ one of their 4 7th round picks?! WR and ILB wouldnt even be an issue for next year! i still do not understand the release of W. Saunders(TE)? i thought he played well in 2011. u know a TALL WR(D.Alexander) that Ben covets was on the streets this past October…but SD signed him a few weeks b4 we signed Plax!!!! i know its woulda, coulda, shoulda!

  • lefnor

    We need a TE but not a first round priority. Travis Kelce in the third round would be enough. He is a complete TE with very good size. Good blocker (played a lot of H-back like stuff) and good route runner with surprisingly good speed.

    I would pick up the best OLB in the first round and the best WR in the second. There will be a bunch of great WR around the 45-50 selection.

    You can find a RB in 4-7 round.

  • chris

    I also agree with Mic43. Their is a reason the steelers will have a shot at any WR in this class. The wr class is full of decent prospects, but no one truly warranting an early selection in round 1. I believe this website is undermining the talent pool of OLBs available this year. Look more in depth not just at the first OLB of the board. Their is more talent at OLB than Jarvis Jones alone! Barkevious Mingo is a violent and physical pass rusher with a big frame and speed. He has great use of the hands for a pass rusher. Sure he is a raw talent but he is a physical freak, and might just be available at pick 17. I KNOW David Todd likes Deon Jordan from Oregon! He is another guy who should have an excellent combine and has all the skills to be a premiere NFL pass rusher. Ezekial Ansahah from BYU also fits the mold of the previous mentioned prospects. He is 6’6 and a college sprinter! Alec Ogletree from Georgia is a young Timmons esque backer that provides athleticism and speed. All of these players could be available at 17. Any of these players would be a much smarter pick than a marginally skilled wr in round one or 2.

  • Jason White

    Yeah plus I figure that if they can add some extra picks in the form of a combination of 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th they can go after some better players while filling needs and adding depth without relying on 6 and 7 round picks to do so. They need to have a great draft this year so they not only get come contribution from them this year but so they can transition smoothly into starting roles in the near future.

  • what about mike shanahan from pitt in a later round?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    We have Dwyer, Redman and Clay who all resemble both Ball and Lacy…not sure what we are looking at.

  • John A Stewart


  • westernsteel

    No way they wait until next year to draft a WR, its pretty much a necessity.

  • i agree not sure why they released saunders thought he had great potential and really good athletic ability, instead we keep pope, haley had to have his hand in that, i never would have drafted spence, as a miami guy it was really evident that he wass way too small

  • charles

    Jeremy I have liked some of your articles. This one, however, is a stink bomb.Teo got run over in the Alabama game, Dwyer seems to be commited to come back in better shape. We have a screaming need to put pressure on the QB. Whether that is through an altered 3-4 or by drafting an impact OLB that DLeBeau might actually let play remains to be seen. I think that it should be mentioned that the 3-4 is a great defense to go up against the read option that I am sure a lot of teams are going to take a look at after Wilson and Koepernick and Griffin performances this year. All the negative stats that I have seen about the Steelers season disappear if we can put pressure on the QB.

  • LucasY59

    I didn’t say that they shouldn’t draft a WR, I don’t think they should use an early pick on one. It is a necessity to make sure that David Paulsen is not the #1 TE to start next season.

  • LucasY59

    Shanahan is similar to Paulsen, Ertz could really help the Steelers next season

  • They reached an injury settlement with Clay and released him before the start of last season.

  • Finnegans Wake

    Agree on Saunders. But I liked Spence despite measurables, a guy who can play faster than he times. Hope he comes back this year strong.

  • Wr1231

    I hope he is a beast would be biggest steal ever

  • Clint Martin

    This draft is full of talent at D-line and O-line Steelers will take someone at some point at these positions.maybe even a L OT don’t be surprised when it happens

  • steeltown

    Well said.. I’ve been saying for months that I really like Paulson, I really do, but he is no more than a #2 at this point, maybe he proves me wrong, but another big time TE is needed, especially because of Miller’s injury. I hope they draft one in the first 3-4 Rds

    It wasnt that long ago that we had a long list of TE’s on the depth chart (Miller, Pope, Paulson, D.Johnson, Saunders, W.Johnson, McCoy) and I know both Johnsons are considered Fullback/TE hybrids… but now, we have Miller (injured), Pope (UFA), Paulson, WJohnson and McCoy.. oh and the newly acquired injury prone TE Zach Pianalto

  • steeltown

    I hope he does too.. but he shouldnt, he’s a high commodity, not only are there quite a few teams that will be targeting pass rushers in the 1st Rd but there are also a few Teams ahead of us that are switching to a 3-4, including New Orleans and Cleveland

  • steeltown

    Spence drafting was a sign of the change in the League that is occuring, mostly smaller RB’s (Rice, Trent Richardson) who also catch out of the backfield and alot more use of speedy TE’s in the passing game that cause matchup problems with bigger LB’s. You need a LB that can neutralize this, a LB with speed but who can still tackle well.

  • I couldn’t agree more with getting annoyed at this Eddie Lacy deal. It’s just as bad as everyone saying we’ll go for defense with all our top picks even though we ranked #1 while our offense was putrid.

    #1- WR Cordarrelle Patterson
    #2- TE Zach Ertz
    #3- RB Marcus Lattimore

    …then we can pick defense.