Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article

Steelers 2014 Draft Needs – Offense


The 2014 NFL Draft is a good four months away right now, but  before we begin posting our player draft profiles, it’s important to go over the needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into the offseason. We will start off first with a look at the needs on the offensive side of the football and rank them as far as priority goes.

Wide Receiver – Drafting a wide receiver in the top three rounds of the draft will become a must assuming unrestricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders leaves via free agency. Outside of Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, the Steelers will have no experienced depth on the roster until hopefully Jerricho Cotchery is re-signed. While several might point to Derek Moye and Justin Brown as adequate depth with good upside, I think otherwise and believe that this team could really use a big-bodied, game-changing receiver.

Tight End – Unlike in 2013, tight ends Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth should both be ready to start the 2014 season baring a training camp injury. While both are the now, the Steelers could probably stand to use a draft pick on a tight end that could potentially succeed Miller, who could receive a small extension during the offseason. David Paulson is currently under contract, but after beginning the 2013 season as the starter due to both Miller and Spaeth being sidelined, he played a total of 14 snaps on offense in the second half of the season as even Michael Palmer was used more. In other words, he is a long-shot to stick around. Miller still has some tread left on his tires, however, so addressing this position might have to wait until the middle rounds.

Running Back – While it certainly shouldn’t be considered a high priority, at some point the Steelers might want to spend a mid to later round draft pick this go around on a running back that can could possibly serve as a change a pace back to Le’Veon Bell. There is no guarantee that unrestricted free agents Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling or Felix Jones will be brought back during the offseason and for now, Alvester Alexander is the only other running back under contract for the 2014 outside of Bell. A late-round back with the ability to contribute on special teams as either a punt or kick returner would be nice, but not a necessity.

Offensive Line – The emergence of Kelvin Beachum as the Steelers starting left tackle in 2013 was a bit surprising and he played remarkably well in the second half of the season. With center Maurkice Pouncey set to return in 2014 from his knee injury and the rest of the starting offensive line presumably set in stone, I have my doubts that a draft pick will even be spent on addressing the offensive line. Instead, the team is likely to fill in their interior depth holes by re-signing a few of their own low-priced unrestricted free agents such as Cody Wallace, Fernando Velasco and perhaps even tackle/guard Guy Whimper. Remember, Nik Embernate also could figure into the 2014 picture as far as depth goes as well, so if the Steelers do indeed spend a draft pick on another offensive lineman, it more than likely would come very late in the draft.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    WR/TE has to be a main focus when discussing offense..I could see them drafting a RB and possibly another OL in the mid-late Rds. As mentioned, even with Miller and Spaeth we could draft a young TE to learn and transition smoothly behind both of the aforementioned.. and of course we could and should draft another WR

    That said I sure hope Cotchery, LSH, Dwyer and Wallace are re-signed

  • Shea Fahr

    Right now all I am thinking is Defense, Defense and Defense in the first 3 rounds. We really need the help over there this year in the draft to get back to playing dominant Steelers ball. WR’s and TE’s after that. We went out averaging 28 plus a game and we already have a record breaking number 1 WR in Brown. Defense is weighing very heavy on my mind this year.

  • steeltown

    No doubt… I was speaking in relation to Offense, but of course when I sit here and think about the Team as a whole, yes without a doubt Defense needs some new blood.

    Our secondary especially needs to be rebuilt around Shark and Cortez. We’ll be ok entering next season with guys like Polamalu and WillieG still on roster but after 2014 we have no depth whatsover

  • Ken

    I guess my question is can we afford not to use every pick on defense?? We have to get started on another cornerback or two, another safety, maybe two linebackers, a nose tackle… We know Big Ben and Bell, can provide us points even with the loss of Sanders, but we sure need defensive help asap.

  • Ken

    oops i am duplicating what you already said. I agree!

  • JT

    Personally, I don’t think you should be burning a 1st on a TE unless he’s an absolute freak ala Graham and Gronk. Does Amaro or Ebron fit that? Idk, but I’d lean towards no. Definitely find a solid guy in 2-4 though. Not a project like Paulson.

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • Shea Fahr

    I agree. Bell does provide comfort in the passing game for sure. He did have some drops but then again, who didn’t?

  • JT

    Absolutely they can. What they can’t afford to do is draft for position and miss. The sad truth is there is no Richard Sherman in this draft. Safety and ILB are possibilities with the boys from Alabama. Another great OLB might fall. Nix is a fat piece of crap who might fall out of the first. But the Steelers are so bereft of playmakers on both sides of the ball that they can’t ignore anyone who jumps out at 15, regardless of position.

  • Shea Fahr

    Dave is spot on with our Offensive needs. I just can’t seem to get the Defense off my mind LOL!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I agree with what you’re saying, except for 1 tiny little point. We desperately need a back that is fast and shifty and he better be a returner as well. Felix should never return anything ever again and Sanders will not be here.

    I get the fact that many kicks sail through the end zone early in the year with the hot weather, but as the year goes on, you get to return most and someone with explosive potential will usually return 1 for a TD and possibly set up another couple of scores with big returns. The result is maybe 2 more wins. Plus, if the guy gives you speed from the backfield, great. I think LSH was obviously going to be that guy this year. Will he be ready and as explosive as ever next year? I certainly hope so, but as insurance these type of guys are usually a dime a dozen and one needs to be drafted in the late rounds.

    I think a big WR or TE is essential but with the defensive needs I think the Steelers will be looking for one that can be had in the 3rd or 4th rounds, thus becoming another project instead of an near instant starter.

  • JT

    I agree it’s the bigger need on the whole, but that doesn’t mean the draft is providing the players to fit that.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    A lot of boards are talking about us drafting Eric Ebron (TE/WR) (UNC) because he’s a perfect compliment to Miller/Spaeth and he would fit so well in the no huddle.

    He’s 6’4″ 250 pounds with a large catch radius and reportedly runs a 4.57 forty. So you could flex him out wide with Antonio Brown and depending on how the defense matches up you could create instant mismatches.

    Or you could put him in the slot as a tough over the middle target. Or you could run him deep if he gets a LB mismatch. And he’s a great red zone target.

    He basically fills two needs with one pick.

  • srdan

    The only thing would be a mismatch on offesnse as you guys pointed out earlier. If we finished a few more drives that would give our defense a little more wiggle room.

    After the way we started out the year, it’s amazing that we are talking about an offense on the brink of losing it’s second receiver and we are still saying that we will be ok. Exciting!

  • Chad H

    We know WR will be addressed rd 1-3. Picking 15 will bring best player available which this year is the right way to approach it. There will be some players fall into our laps. I don’t see solid 1st rd DB players like last year maybe Gilbert CB from OK. So we will be in for a surprise in rd 1. If we don’t get the comp pick in rd 3 then WR will be addressed in rd 1 then a DB in rd 2.

  • Shea Fahr

    Agreed.

  • steeltown

    A lot of that is due to the emergence of the young guys like A.Brown, Beachum and Le’Veon Bell

  • srdan

    I havent’ seen him play, but those numbers make him a compelling pick.. However, I hope that BPA is a defensive player this year.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    True, the defense is struggling. But the offense has been ranked 20th in the NFL in points scored for the last 3 years.

    Can you imagine the uproar if the Steeler defense was ranked 20th in points allowed for 3 straight years? There would be people jumping off bridges.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I’m sorry but there is no way we go all defense in the first three rounds.

  • srdan

    I also dont think its necessary to assume that such an athletically gifted player needs to be drafted in teh first round. I am pretty sure that both Josh Gordon and Ashton Jeffrey were both second round choices.

  • JT

    So let’s so whod be competing with for a big time WR:

    No way: Houston, Rams, Jags, Browns, Falcons, Vikings, Lions, Bears

    Possible: Raiders, Bills, Titans, Giants

    So that’s 4ish landing spots for the top dogs Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins. Not too bad once you consider Oak could just as easily take a QB and the likelihood that the Giants might need to look elsewhere. Personally, I’m hoping for Watkins right now.

  • Jacob Dixon

    What about Robert Golden

  • srdan

    Don’t take the lions off that “possible” list…..lol

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Dave-

    I think your radar is on again this year. At least as far as how the coaches/management view the Steelers needs.

    I personally would draft a true left tackle at 1.15. But the Steelers appear to like Beachum a lot more than I do. And with the way we pass blocked as a unit the last 4 games, I can’t make a strong case that LT is our biggest need.

    When you look at the value of the offensive prospects expected to be available at 1.15 there are a lot of big receiving targets. Evans, Benjamin, Ebron, Amaro. One of those 4 guys will be heavily looked at as the BPA.

  • Ken

    I would jump for sure. we must have defense

  • srdan

    I agree with you that LT is not a known commodity. But there is no reason to think that Beachum will take a step back. And remember that Adams has not had an offseason yet since he has been in teh league. Couple that with the LT busts(loose term) being selected int eh first round, and it’s hard to fathom that at 15 there is anything even close to a “true left tackle” in any draft.

    Tackle would be a luxury pick at this point IMO.

  • Nolrog

    For just about the last 10 years, they have alternated first round picks from O to D. The last time they went back to back was 2005 and 2006. If they follow the trend, they will pick for offense. However, Defense is by far the biggest need. I could see 1 and 2 on D, #3 a WR or TE. Something like that.2004: Ben
    2005: Heath
    2006: Santonio Holmes
    2007: Timmons
    2008: Mendy
    2009: Ziggy Hood
    2010: Pouncey
    2011: Cam
    2012: DeCastro
    2013: Jarvis Jones
    2014:

  • srdan

    Good list of players. If you list the 6 years before that, it becomes a great list of players.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I wouldn’t draft offense this year until the 4th round unless a major offensive weapon falls to them at 15. The offense is basically set right now they have a major contributor at every position (Big Ben, Brown, Bell, Miller, Pouncey, DeCastro, and maybe even Beachum.) The defense has more needs, someone opposite Heyward or a NT and move McClendon to DE. They need to draft at least two CBs and a safety for depth and special team purposes and because Ike/Troy should only be with the team another year or two maximum. We also need to draft at least 2 LBs one on the outside and one on the inside. Unless they somehow resign Worilds in that case I would go 2 ILBs. Personal Draft would go like this (don’t have names other than round one because I work Saturdays this year and haven’t watched much college ball, and rounds 3 and 4 could be switched)

    round 1. Eric Ebron from North Carolina or Adams from texas a&m
    round 2. Safety or Cornerback whichever is the BPA at that point
    round 3. Linebacker (comp pick Mike Wallace)
    round 4. Raw but athletic Lineman
    round 5. Safety or CB same as round 2 I would be willing to get 2 safeties if that player is BPA
    round 6. Tall WR that is tall and fast but raw so he drops
    round 6. CB (comp pick for K. Lewis)
    round 7. Outside Linebacker project (I would also find a way to bring back A. Baxter)

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I pretty much agree with everything you said.

    When you look at the DB crop this year compared to other years, there really are not any prospects that represent a “steal” at 1.15.

    However its looking more and more like a really good starting CB could slip to us at 2.15.

    The first round pick will be interesting. If you ranked the players purely by “value” or “best player available” it’s looking like a left tackle (as of right now). But once the combine numbers come in I could see WR creeping up.

  • CW

    I generally agree with the list of priorities as listed. However I hope the Steelers look at a trade back with the Cardinals who will need a good offensive lineman and could land a starter at 15th overall. The Steelers then can use the later 1st round pick to shore up the wide receiver position with one the numerous potentially elite receivers in this draft class and the extra later draft pick or picks to pick up additional defensive prospects.

  • steeltown

    I agree with your thoughts about drafting multiple defensive backs

    Alan Baxter I believe has signed with Indianapolis

  • dgh57

    On offense I agree a WR/TE is top priority. Late rounds(6th, or 7th) they should draft a OT because Adams and Gilbert are in no way written in stone that they’ll pan out so they need to protect themselves and draft a late rd. OT for the PS for 2015 just in case or maybe we’ll be lucky enough to land another Beachum.

  • srdan

    I really like your list. It’s hard to argue a TE is needed, because Spaeth and Miller are still productive. But this is for the immediate future, we need to start thinking long term. While a first round TE would be great it’s not necessary. We could groom a raw talent. But of course that does not solve our redzone woes.

    I also agree with your placement of the K lewis comp, Maybe a round earlier, but it’s not higher than that. I also find it hard to believe that we will get a third for Wallace, especially following the Tomlin incident.

  • Nolrog

    I was just listing the first round picks to show the O/D/O/D method they had been using.

  • srdan

    I know. I just read it and commented on it beacause its all borderline probowlers (pouncey included) with a few exclusions. But if you list the ones before them, they were some of the best at their position. I was just making a tangent observation..

  • Nolrog

    IMO, they should be picking OL in every draft somewhere. Maybe depth, maybe a project guy, maybe a starter to push someone into depth, but there’s almost half the offense in that group, so we should never lose focus on it (similar to line backers.)

  • barry buchanan

    still think we need ot for left side, (beechem did ok but doesn”t have size) and wr! defense needs c/b and saftey!

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    He was signed to their practice squad, im pretty sure he is open game unless he was signed to the active roster.

  • David Edward

    Agree with your assessment Dave. I think finding a big red-zone target is the top draft need on O. Cotch did a nice job in that department, sort of taking on the Hines role down there. I think it’s highly likely he is resigned. Even though Spaeth is mostly a blocker, having his 6’7″ frame down there makes teams at least have account for him. And of course Heath is still a primary red zone target. On the outside though, it would be nice to have a guy who can go up and get it in the corner. Brown and Sanders were just too short for that. So, yes, a tall WR target would be an ideal compliment to Brown/Wheaton/Cotchery.

    I think they will be able to find a speed RB/KR on day three of the draft who will fill the role Chris Rainey had and what they intended to do with LSH. Felix filled the role after LSH was on IR but really didn’t bring that second gear speed that you would like.

    While it looked like LT was the biggest need early on in the season, it has basically become a non-draft need at this point (as Dave says). It’s not that Beachum was great, but he was at least serviceable with a good chance to get better. The OL has plenty of youth at this point, so no need to spend a pick there. The better move would be to fortify the unit with veteran depth. This means resigning Velasco and/or Wallace and bringing in a LT capable vet. I’m not sure Whimper is that guy so I think they’ll find an older FA who can be had at or near the minimum to provide depth behind Beachum.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I dont think TE is a need either but I have a man crush on Ebron I think he could be one of the best pass catching TEs in the league one day.

  • JT

    With how little he played this year despite the low use of base defense, the outlook is not good.

  • Chris

    I disagree with this post in 2 areas and judging from the posts a few others. I dont think they necessarily NEED a big WR. Brown is small and is unstoppable, sanders gets open a lot (too many drops). Dont forget Wheaton while still a little inexperienced thus far has great speed. Maybe not wallace fast but not far behind, and if he develpos more next year imagine how many more balls Brown will catch with Wheaton taking the top off of defenses. Sure a mid rd WR for depth would be nice but its not a pressing need. As for a RB, Dwyer has proven himself a capable backup and it wouldnt be smart to waste a draft pick on someone who probably wouldnt be any better. We need defense in this draft. The offense has young up and coming players.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It appears the Rooneys might disagree with you on that one.

    Since 1990 they have spent three 1st round picks on TE’s and none of them were “freaks”:

    1990 Eric Green (TE)
    1995 Mark Bruener (TE)
    2004 Heath MIller (TE)

    That’s more than any other single position except WR (and they aren’t really single because there’s two of them on the field).

    After ten years of not drafting a TE early, we are very much due for another one. Heath Miller will be 33 this season. I don’t see us NOT drafting his replacement this year.

    There was high speculation last year that Tyler Eifert was one of the 8 “special” players the Steelers were targeting (before Jarvis magically fell into their laps). If they were looking at drafting a 1st round TE last year they will likely be looking even closer this year.

  • JT

    Embernasty is basically a new draft pick for them this year, when you think about it.

  • JT

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t find draft picks from the 1990s relevant in today’s NFL. There are WAY more athletic options at the position, now more than ever. Would I be disappointed if we drafted another Miller? Of course not. But nobody in this draft is the complete player he is. I’d argue with his blocking ability he was at one time the most crucial TE in the league not named Graham or Gronk. I just don’t see someone that special here when you can land a great passing weapon or blocker in 2 and 3 . I’m definitely in no way saying don’t draft a TE, just probably not at 15.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    If he runs a 4.57 he is not gonna be there when they pick. Lets hope he doesnt.

  • John21

    If we prioritize by saying that an ‘A’ Priority is Rounds 1-2; ‘B’ Priority is 3-5 & ‘C’ Priority is Rounds 6-7; On Offense I would say WR is an A [assuming 88 is gone & 89 is back] TE is a B; and RB is a C. I would keep my eyes out for a LT at any point if he was a good value but with so many needs on Defense, OL may be de-emphasized. (I can’t believe I am saying that!)

  • Kenneth Wilt

    First, I think the positions noted is spot on. I wouldn’t disagree with anything written in this post.

    Second, when it comes to the positions of need, I think the only 2 options to possibly be taken on offense in the first 3 rounds are WR and TE. Even then, it needs to be players that you just couldn’t even dream about passing over in that specific round.

    For instance, at WR, I probably couldn’t pass on Watkins, Evans, or Lee in round 1. For TE, Ebron is the only player I would have a hard time passing in round 1.

    In Round 2, at WR, I probably would take Benjamin, that is it. At TE, if Amaro or Senerian-Jenkins are still there in round 2…I take them.

    Other than that, I probably am going D.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I agree they don’t NEED a big bodied WR, but without Sanders the receiving depth goes from Brown to Jerircho. In other words 1 injury (to Brown) away from a sub .500 team next year. I think they will be spending a top pick on a WR this draft to get a solid #2 that can contribute immediaately.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Chris-

    I appreciate your opinion but you might want to consider this…

    Over the last 3 years the Steelers have ranked 20th or 21st in the entire NFL in points scored (every single year). Why is that?

    One of the main reasons is red zone scoring. If teams double Antonio Brown and we have no other option.

    The reason we NEED a big WR is because we NEED to get out of the bottom of the league in scoring.

    If we scored one more red zone TD per game instead of a FG that’s 4 points better per game. We would be ranked 2nd in the NFL in scoring.

  • RW

    Give me Dennard and I’ll be a happy camper heading into 2014.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Ha! Okay. Let’s all disregard the Rooneys entire draft history because JT feels it’s not relevant.

    The Steelers were just considering Tyler Eifert (TE)… LAST YEAR at pick 1.15. Is 2013 recent enough for you?

    Miller was not a great blocker when he came into the league. He improved greatly as he developed. And he was never a very fast runner (4.87 forty at his pro day).

    Gronkowski is 6’6″ 258 pounds and ran a 4.68 forty.

    Graham is 6’6″ 260 pounds and ran a 4.56 forty.

    Ebron is 6’4″ 254 pounds and expected to run a 4.57 forty.

    How special do you want?

  • chris ward

    IMO I think the Steelers should go for a big bodied, play making receiver to pair with AB in round 1. Then go defense for a couple rounds after the 1st, in round 2 and 3 go for a CB and S.

  • RW

    I couldnt disagree with you more. First of all – the offense has plenty of playmakers. Secondy, there are a couple of CBs in this draft class who are slated to go in the first round, are playmakers and would fit our defense perfectly. I’d be fine with taking a safety, but OLB in the first for two years in a row would be a waste of a pick, in my opinion. CB or WR in the first would be my choice all the way.

  • Dan

    Agree, probably wouldn’t pass on Watkens and would certainly consider Evans or Lee, but outside of that will be focused on D. (This is on the assumption that Matthews is long gone by 15.)

  • RW

    No love for Kelvin Benjamin? I know he hasn’t declared yet, but his name should at least be in the discussion.

  • Jay Jaber

    I know we need defense more than offense but it’s they give Big Ben that big target he’s always asked for if we get a mike Evans or kelvin Benjamin in the first two rounds do u know how better our offense would be someone that can compliment antonio! Emanuel is defenitally not the answer he had so many drops this year. Towards the end of the season antonio was getting double teamed imagine if we have mike Evans on the other side. Plus we need to improve in the red zone even though we did a lot better towards the end of the season. All we need is a safety Ike will be back as will Troy I think our secondary will be ok for another year!

  • JT

    That wasn’t my point at all. But do you honestly feel they are evaluating the position the same as today? They’re asked to do much more and it’s attracting more physically gifted athletes than ever. Those players wouldn’t be graded out the same today, and they weren’t against the same pool of talent.

    Insiders can speculate whatever the hell they want, but the fact is they didn’t pick him so we have no idea how they really graded him.

    The fact is there isn’t the drop-off between him and an Amaro type in the second round as there may be between an Evans or Watkins.

    Ebron wouldn’t necessarily be a bad pick, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of value to be had at TE in the middle rounds. I just hope they’re sure with whatever playmaker they pick, because they need another splash player.

  • JT

    He’s a Dark horse, sure. But he’s very raw to be picked at 15.

  • JT

    The offense has Bell and Brown. I wish we knew more about Wheaton, but we don’t. Miller is reliable, but we know age is catching up. I’m not saying OLB is a need that early, but if for some reason Barr is there you can’t not take him. Especially if worlids is lost. I’d like a CB early, but there’s nobody that’s really stood out that demands to be picked. Doesn’t mean they won’t take one.

  • steeltown

    Miller just turned 31yrs old… but I agree we need to draft the next generation TE soon

  • steeltown

    Agree about getting another offensive weapon for Ben, but we cant wait till Taylor, Polamalu and WillieG are all gone and only then draft more defensive backs..we need to draft a couple more DBs now to play behind these vets this upcoming season in hopes that they can contribute in 2015

  • Slab

    I don’t agree with Eric Green not being a “freak”. The guy was 6’5″, 280 lbs with great hands. There wasn’t anyone else in the league like him at the time.

  • r8erh8er

    As I said in the new year resolutions post “last WR taken in the first two rounds who stayed past rookie contract was Louis Lipps in the first round of 1984 draft” Steelers would probably do well to stick with trend and pick WR from middle rounds.

  • MP34

    Here’s hoping Tyler Eifert falls to the Steelers pick. (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)

  • cp72

    I disagree. Plaxico and Santonio were very good players that derailed themselves off the field. Colbert has a an eye for WR talent and a history of picking them in the 1st round. Finding Antonio Brown’s later in the draft is the exception more than the rule.

    I read the Steelers were one the NFL teams at the Texas AM Duke game. Safe to say they weren’t there for Manziel. Evans and/or the two tackles are likely on their radar. Probably safe to say Matthews won’t be there.

  • r8erh8er

    Show me the history of colbert picking WR in the first round. Holmes, Burress and Edwards….Two of them were good, but look at their career numbers and see not what you’d expect from first rounders. and it doesn’t matter where you derail yourself if they are no longer in Pittsburgh they are not helping the team. Plenty of big wideouts can be found in middle rounds. Lastly doesn’t matter what games the steelers go to right now as they are scouting everyone.

  • Matt Searls

    i think defense but if a play making wide receiver is there at 15, such as watkins or evans i think you have to pull the trigger. a player that can make an immediate impact over a defensive player that will sit for a year or more. i say wr 1st round if its there, and then defense for the rest of the draft.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I wouldn’t be opposed to Ebron but he’s a guy that’ll take a year or two seasoning, strengthening and improving his blocking skills to make the kind of impact we need at TE. That being said, Heath probably has 2-3 years left before the body says “enough.” Maybe Ebron isn’t such a bad idea after all. I doubt that he’ll be around though at 15.

  • Jollyrob68

    First 3 rds Wr,Cb,FS. Looking at the Depth of Wr & Cb will tell us what to do in rd 1.
    If a couple of lb fall I wouldn’t be suprised if they take one.

  • Jollyrob68

    Yes!!!

  • Jollyrob68

    Want Dennard or Kelvin Benjamin

  • Ryan Barton

    1. Mike Evans or Best available CB.
    2. MLB (Or CB if Evans is taken in 1st rd).
    3. DE/OLB for OLB depth.
    4. Defensive line or Safety depth
    5. RB (Speed/Change-of-pace).
    6. Defense
    7. Defense

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers take 2 OLB prospects for depth.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Fair enough. I would say TE’s are evaluated differently these days. But if you are drafting him as a receiver then you should grade him as a receiver.

    AJ Green is a terrible blocker but that doesn’t diminish his draft stock. I would say the same principle applies to Jimmy Graham. And I think if teams could re-draft today, most of them would rate Graham as a 1st rounder.

  • Chris

    I understand your point an i agree that a big redzone target would help, but the biggest reasons the offense has been ranked low for 3years is because the oline has been terrible. Look at the stats on how many times ben has been sacked and hurt. You cant run or pass with a terrible oline an thats by far the biggest reasonn for the low ranked offense. Actually the passing game has been better than the running game since bettis retired which is when the oline started to go downhill as well. Ben and the wr’s we have now are as good as most in the nfl but our oline has been near the bottom for several years

  • Matthew Blount

    I think this will be one of the better Steeler drafts.

    Lots of mid-range to high talent depth in areas where we need it the most.

    1. Ra’Shede Hageman (NT) – He’s perfect to fill the middle for us. He’s huge and bats down a lot of passes, very physical and long so he can get after runners well. Requires a double team on the OL from opponents and helps where we need the most help – pass defense. I think he’s better than Nix for our defense… plus the upside is HUGE with this kid.

    2. Kelvin Benjamin – I know everybody loves Evans but watch the tape… Benjamin always catches the ball at the highest point… Evans might as well be a small receiver. He can gain after the catch, but we have that position filled by AB. Kelvin has the size, leaping ability and technique to handle all of the jump
    balls. OR If available Justin Gilbert (CB) – He’s big, physical and makes
    splash plays on defense. If we don’t get him we can always look later for Jason
    Verret or Rashaad Reynolds. Defensive turnovers. Maybe La’el Collins if he’s
    still available to help the LT spot.

    3. If available take Lache Seastrunk. He is speedy, tough and durable for a quick RB. OR If we didn’t get Kelvin in 2, then Abbrederis or Jordan Matthews… Big, smart receivers who can find the pocket in the zone… great for a QB like Ben. OR fill that CB spot with Vetter or Reynolds OR look for another Safety… I’m sorry, but we are still bleeding in this position. Anthony Harris and Deone Bucannon are play makers at the safety spot. OR we might be able to pick up Chris Smith or Michael Sam or any other of several DE’s that can transition well to the Steeler’s OLB position.

    4. If Arthur Lynch is still around, this is where to grab him. He’s got that Heath Miller vibe. Big tough blocker that can catch the ball and run good routes. OR Daniel McCullers if we didn’t get Hageman in the first. We need some length and strength at that NT spot. If we still don’t have a tackle, then we should see
    who is left and if there any hopefuls. Wesley Johnson is pretty good, but he
    also might slip to 5 and we could take him there.

    5. Kapri Bibbs…actually, I might take Bibbs in 4. He has a nose for the end zone and popped in 31 times this year. If he cranks up the speed in the combine I think he’ll move up to a 1-2 rounder. EVEN if we get Lache Seastrunk, I’d still draft Bibbs. I have a good feeling about this kid. I wanted the Steelers to get Knile Davis last year and now he’s making plays for the Chiefs as a rookie… but I thought he would slip to the 5th round. He’s proving to be a solid 2-3 round pick. If Bibbs is gone and we didn’t get Lache (which we probably won’t), then I think we have to get a RB here. Ajayi is a great pick here if he’s still available. All of these big backs earlier in the draft will be fumble machines in the NFL. Watch the tape. They swing the ball away from the body too much. Too much motion and too much space between the body and the ball. That translates very poorly to the NFL. If we already have a back and Bibbs is gone, then we look at other open needs like NT – Beau Allen (if he opts for the NFL) OR I really like getting Jaylen Watkins or Rashaad Reynolds here.

    6-7 – Late Rounders that I like a lot!
    WR – Alex Neutz –Extends well, concentrates well, gets up high and has great awareness. WR – Jeff Janis. Larry Webster DE to OLB. Lots of secondary ball hawks to be had here: CB – Damante Horton, Brandon Dixon and S – Tre Boston. P – Kirby Van Der Kamp – we need a great punter and Kirby might just be the right guy, but no more reaching like we did to get Sepulveda! That was just plain stupid! If somebody wants Kirby in the 5th, then let it go!

  • cp72

    Colbert didn’t draft Edwards.

    1st round stud big receivers…..Megatron AJ Green Julio Jones Dez Bryant Andre Johnson
    2nd round stud big receivers…..Vincent Jackson Alshon Jeffery

    Brandon Marshall is the only “MIDDLE ROUND” big WR that I can think of that is a stud. Here again he is the exception not the rule.

  • tfoden

    The reason we have been ranked 20th or so in scoring is because the Steeler philosophy is to run down the clock when they get a lead of 10 points or more. Before last year, the defense typically did not allow many points and therefore the offense went into “take the air out of the ball mode” before they ran up the score. I don’t see them ever being a high scoring team along the lines of Denver (Manning era) or New England.

  • tfoden

    The reason we have been ranked 20th or so in scoring is because the Steeler philosophy is to run down the clock when they get a lead of 10 points or more. Before last year, the defense typically did not allow many points and therefore the offense went into “take the air out of the ball mode” before they ran up the score. I don’t see them ever being a high scoring team along the lines of Denver (Manning era) or New England.

  • Rick M

    I just don’t see the Steelers taking a receiver in the 1st round. Antonio Brown was a 6th round pick, and Wallace and Sanders were 3rd round picks so they’ve shown an ability to find quality receivers later in the draft. As for drafting Heath Miller’s successor in Round 1, he’s 31 and he likely has three more good years.

    It’ll be defence all the way in Round 1, the question is what defensive player available at 15 will best fit our needs. Let’s face it, Bridgewater and Manziel (if he declares) will be Top 10 picks. So in essence that puts the Steelers at worst at #13. It could be even higher if another QB or 2 goes early. So guys, who will still be there at 13 on the defensive side of the ball who’ll help us most?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I do not see any offensive positions being higher than a 2nd round pick. WR has a lot of depth and we can get a big body WR in a later round. I think all in all you have the ranking correct.

  • cp72

    I think Mosley Nix and Dennard would be guys that should go in that area. I like Mosley, three down guy who is good in coverage and can blitz. Sounds a lot like Timmons who ironically was drafted at 15.

  • cp72

    Well thought out but that’s a lot of picks on the offensive side of the ball. Lynch strikes me as a Steeler type of TE and I love Benjamin.

  • r8erh8er

    6 OL, 6 LB, 4 WR, 3 DL, 3 DB, 2 RB, 1 QB, 1 TE drafted by Colbert in rounds 1 & 2 (PRO FOOTBALL REFERENCE).

    I’m not saying this isn’t any talent in the first couple rounds, all I’m saying is highly picked wideouts haven’t worked out in Pittsburgh. If we can pick up any of these guys and they live up to their billing I wouldn’t complain at all.

    I like the Bill Parcells school of thought…First round picks are for QBs, people who protect the QBs or people who get after the QB.

  • Ike Evans

    Just got a feeling about Defensive Line in this year’s draft…no evidence so its just a whatever opinion but its not like Colbert is shy about taking a D-lineman in the first round and honestly i dont care what the position is…i just want a PLAYMAKER….if hes a playmaker i want him…we need that on defense…we need that to get back in it going forward…on the offensive side to address the article…i wouldnt mind sammy watkins lol at all…not like he’ll be there

  • Brian Tollini

    I agree with all of your positional choices. Wouldn’t mind seeing CB/WR in the first two rounds. TE is a position that definitely needs some depth and a speed back in the late rounds that doesn’t beat his girlfriend would be great.

  • Alan Felicia

    Very interesting that 4 of the most productive TEs were not drafted in the 1st Rd: Rob Gronkowski fell in the 2nd round in 2010 Draft due to missing 2009 season b/c of back injury, Jimmy Graham was drafted in 3rd Rd in 2010 since he only played one season of football at the U (only 17 receptions), Jason Whitten drafted in the 3rd round in 2003 as he was mostly a defensive player (D-Line) at Tenneesee until being switch to TE during his Sophmore season, and Julius Thomas was drafted in the 4th Rd coming out of a small school (Portland State).
    Point taken, don’t need to burn a 1st rounder on a TE. Scouting Team can find diamond in the rough in any round.

  • r4kolb

    If he could have stayed off the weed who knows?

  • Alan Felicia

    If and when Benjamin does declare his intentions to go Pro, he needs a strong combine! Benjamin need to run the 40 better than his projected (4.60). Also need to work on catching skills as he’s been known to drop easy passes.

  • Alan Felicia

    Instead of the draft, there are some Free Agent WRs available in the offseason that will not break the bank:
    – Danario Alexander; 25 yrs old, 6’5″ but coming off ACL
    – Jeremy Maclin: 25 yrs old, 6′ also coming off ACL
    – Kenny Britt – 25 yrs old, 6′ 3″ frame but numerous off field incidents
    – Justin Blackmon – 23 yrs old, 6′ 2″ and likely will be cut by Jacksonville due to 2nd violation (a long shot due to Pittsburgh’s standard practice but just trying to think outside the box)

  • Jeff Johnson

    OT, WR for sure and maybe a TE

  • Jeff Johnson

    Those are the only needs I see on offense. Most of their needs are on the defensive side of the ball from what I’ve seen from them this past season

  • Jeff Johnson

    all their o-line is missing is a stud LT. WR to replace sanders and they do need a young and up coming TE who is much better than Spaeth and Paulson

  • Jeff Johnson

    Most of their draft picks should be defense except for 2 or 3 at most. They need a CB, S, LB, DL. Maybe they draft back to back CB’s again

  • Matt Searls

    i really want a defensive back in the 1st and benjamin in the 2nd. id do back flips

  • Matt Searls

    people need to stop trying to get a hall of fame offensive line, and focus on what is really holding us back. we need to recreate the 2008 defense with the same type of in your face play makers we had.

  • Jazz

    If a Top WR is there in the first and he’s the BPA, then I say take him. Emmanuel Sanders is as good as gone, I think he will be missed as well. Never could understand why they didn’t use him on more KR’s instead of using two over-the-hill RB’s. However, if a CB/S/ILB is sitting there, they have to take one of them. The secondary is done! Reports out of the Burgh is that D. LeBeau seems to think his Defense isn’t that old. Maybe it’s time for him to move on, allow Keith Butler to take over. Maybe keep LeBeau in a role such as an consultant.

  • cp72

    Wouldn’t touch any of those guys….a couple of them may be Bengals next year though.

  • cp72

    Get what you are saying. I just don’t see us starting the season with Wheaton and Brown as starters with Moye and J Brown as depth. We will draft a WR in the first two rounds and probably resign Cotchery.

  • r8erh8er

    We’ll have to wait until after free agency begins before making an educated guess on what they’ll do. Good discussion cp, GOD bless!

  • Callentown

    Two words: Left Tackle

    While a big WR or TE would be ‘nice’. A true LT is a NEED.

  • Callentown

    And he wasn’t even a draft pick at all!

  • John Williams

    In my opinion a defense that can actually stop an opponent is more of a NEED. Beachum played well….he can be a stop gap for another year or so. We need a CB….and a S…..and an OLB….and an ILB and a NT. DEE-FENSE DEE-FENSE!!

  • Callentown

    I completely agree. I was posting Offense since the article was on that, but defense is the bigger need for sure!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    But do you want to waste a 1st round defensive prospect to have him sit on bench all year? I do see it to be a defensive draft, yes but with first round to be a receiver position. And maybe one or two more offensive picks but rest should be defensive.

  • Kirby Hogenmiller

    After watching Sammy Watkins tear it up in the Orange bowl. I really want him to fall to the Steelers.

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