By Jeremy Hritz
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-6, something that very few anticipated, as teams with franchise quarterbacks rarely experience such pathetic seasons.
Whether it was forecasted or not, the reality is that 2013 has become a nightmare with no relief in sight, and the only solace fans can find is in prognosticating the potential draft position of the Steelers in 2014 and which position they will most likely address.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote early on Wednesday morning that despite the abhorrent first half of the season, the Steelers organization is not concerned with drafting position this year and that their focus still is to win as many games as possible.
While this is the mindset of the organization and understandably so, several fans and many in the media have taken to thinking ahead.
With that in mind, and upon examining the Steelers remaining eight games, if the Steelers continue to play the way that they have, a top ten pick is a minimum guarantee, and if they happen to land in that drafting terrain, they will be in the position to obtain a high quality player.
The key question will be which position will the Steelers address if they do in fact kick off the 2014 season with a top ten draft pick?
Looking a Mel Kiper’s current top 15 collegiate players on his draft big board, the positions are represented as follows:
|Position||Forecasted Players in Top 15|
While it is extremely early to begin analyzing the upcoming draft, it is interesting to consider which position the Steelers will address being that their current level of play indicates a variety of needs, and depending on which position they do select, it will say a great deal about the direction the team is moving.
There has been a significant amount of discussion that the Steelers are likely to select a quality tackle early next year, and the names Jake Matthews from Texas A&M and Taylor Lewan from Michigan are the two current most promising names. However, considering the lack of success the Steelers have seen from their early picks spent on tackles Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams, you have to wonder whether or not they would be willing to retry on a tackle. This could potentially be a position that the Steelers address through free agency.
Underlying the selection of a tackle early in the draft would be a surefire sign that the Steelers organization will be committing to Ben Roethlisberger until he decides to retire and not planning to draft and groom his heir apparent.
But a question that has shuffled through some Pittsburgh media spots is the possibility of the Steelers selecting a quarterback in the first round next year should they be in a position to land a once-in-a-lifetime talent at the position.
Say for instance that the Steelers select third or fourth overall in 2014 and either Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota are available, the Steelers would then be presented with a unique decision. Would the Steelers trade away such a pick to obtain more selections, or would they show a long-term commitment to the future by drafting one of the top-rated signal callers?
While more than likely the Steelers will be Roethlisberger-led again in 2014, these types of scenarios will grow more legs if the losing continues.
These final eight games will set up the narrative that will make for one hell of an offseason.
Right now, it’s the most exciting thing Steelers fans have to look forward to.