First Few Days Of Free Agency Has Helped Bring Steelers Draft Picture Into Better Focus

While the Pittsburgh Steelers really haven’t done a lot so far during the first few days of free agency, they’ve done enough to give us a little better picture as to what positions they will most likely address during the 2014 NFL Draft. While this picture will become even clearer over the course of the coming weeks, let us take a quick look at things position by position.


Safety – Now that Mike Mitchell has been signed, I think we can all agree that the safety position is no longer a high priority in the draft. I think it’s safe to assume that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor will not be drafted in the first round. How the Steelers feel about Robert Golden, however, could dictate whether or not they spend a draft pick on a safety in the middle or late rounds. I could certainly see the mid-round compensatory pick the Steelers will receive for losing Keenan Lewis last offseason possibly being used on a free safety. However, if they don’t draft one at all, I won’t be shocked.

Nose Tackle – The addition of Cam Thomas this week should have everyone safely off of the Louis Nix III bandwagon. In addition to Thomas, should the Steelers wind up signing a starting defensive end over the course of the next few weeks, the defensive line numbers would dictate that a nose tackle won’t be drafted.

Defensive End – This position sort of goes hand in hand with nose tackle. The Steelers really seem interested in Alex Carrington and if they ultimately sign him, there won’t be a need to draft  defensive end in the first several rounds. In addition, assuming they think Nick Williams and Brian Arnfelt will be part of their 2014 plans, you will safely be able to completely rule out them drafting a defensive end altogether.

Outside Linebacker – Now that LaMarr Woodley is gone, the Steelers are left with Chris Carter to back up Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones. How does that make all of you feel? Even if they add an outside linebacker during free agency, they most certainly will need to draft another young prospect in May.

Inside Linebacker – Now that Larry Foote is gone, the Steelers are left with Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Kion Wilson, Terence Garvin and possibly Sean Spence, depending on that knee of his. Spence really is the big wild card here and his health could dictate how early an inside linebacker will be drafted. Let’s face it, Wilson and Garvin are both hanging on by threads, Timmons isn’t getting any younger and Williams hasn’t shown us yet he can stay on the field on third downs.

Cornerback – Yeah, I don’t think I need to explain this position. If the Steelers don’t draft two cornerbacks this year, then somebody has some serious explaining to do. The first of two could very well come in the first round.


Quarterback – Like most of you, I’m not buying the recent report that the Steelers have serious interest in Zach Mettenberger and they shouldn’t have had eyes for Landry Jones-enberger last year in the fourth round, either.

Running Back – I really think by the time the draft rolls around, the Steelers will have signed at least one free agent running back. With that being said, I think there’s a real good possibility that they draft another one on day three.

Wide Receiver – How tall is tall, because we all know the Steelers are going to draft a wide receiver again this year. This could happen anywhere in the first four rounds.

Tight EndDavid Paulson is not going to make it and thus the Steelers could use another tight end. The only thing we need to figure out now is what round will one be drafted. I know several of you are high on Eric Ebron, but I can’t see the Steelers spending a first round pick on a tight end this year. However, next year is a different story.

Center – Now that Cody Wallace has been re-signed, this position is taken care of.

Guard – Wallace can also play both guard positions and Kelvin Beachum can play every position on the offensive line. In addition, Nik Embernate will looking to battle for a roster spot as well.

Tackle – Beachum, Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert will be enough to keep the Steelers from drafting a tackle early and I really doubt they draft one at all when you look at the numbers on the offensive line. If they do draft one, however, it will most likely be on day three.

Fullback – Unless the Steelers want to burn a late round pick on Trey Millard, I just can’t see them addressing this position.

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

    I can see them drafting two CB’s, two LB’s, one WR, one DL, and maybe a running back. Since rookies don’t normally contribute a whole lot, some of their second-year guys will have to step it up for them to make the playoffs. They can’t afford too many injuries in 2014 like they had last year.

  • Jack Foster

    So Bob Labriola reports that Thomas “was added for depth purposes” and is more NT than DE as opposed to McClendon given weight / height. Then who is our starting NT…McClendon who wasn’t great at clogging up the middle and stopping the run? It appears we still have a need for a true starting NT.


    2015 may be a stronger year for CBs in the draft than 2014. Take Ebron. 2015 may be a deeper year for TEs in the draft than 2014. Take Gilbert. And then there’s C.J. Mosley…………………

  • Rob H

    I’ve still seen a few of the die hard Nix supporters trying to use our losses on the line as an excuse for us to take him, but your right about the call for him finally starting to die down…thank God, it was never going to happen @ 15 anyway.

  • Paddy

    That’s the way it seems to me too, but is there a NT out there that’s worthy of drafting in the first 3 rounds? If Nix slides to the second round do they take him?

  • Smashmouth

    Imo sean spence is a big question mark as he hasn’t played any meaningful football in 2 seasons ,due to his injury and anyone who has played the game can tell you it’s very hard to return to this game after you haven’t played in a year let alone 2 i wish him the best of luck on his comeback but we need to be prepared for the worst Timmons is the only inside LB thats a proven commodity wilson and garvin are both way below expectations and williams is at best a backup the steelers need to get some new blood in the pipeline and sign a fa ILB

  • Jack Foster

    As Rob H and others pointed out, it’s highly doubtful we get Nix at 15 or should with a 1st round pick for a guy that will take less than 60% of the snaps (I think that’s the sub-pkg D stat I read). So maybe in FA with BAL’s T., Cody, not sure who’s out there?

  • Ike Evans

    They need a tackle….not drafting one is short sighted….beach and adams are question marks and marcus gilbert is a free agent next year….and I’d also still draft a 5 tech even if they sign carrington…the more comp the better and there are a lot of good 5 techs in this draft…besides….carrington isn’t even better then Ziggy

  • falconsaftey43

    There are a lot of really goot 3-4 DEs in the mid to late rounds this year, Even if they sign a good FA could still see them picking one up.
    I expect them to have at least 8 picks this year so:
    CB, WR, ILB, CB, RB, TE, OLB, DE.
    Looks like they could do a decent job filling holes while not needing many to be immediate starters this year.

  • falconsaftey43

    yeah I think I agree with you about the tackle. We have some bodies there, but how good are they really? They looked horrible until late last season when Ben started to get rid of the ball really fast. Depending on what happens in the first round, I could see them taking one of the top 3 guys there.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Defense looks to be our 1st round pick. I feel we are better off at CB then most people but Gilbert would be hard to pass up, 1st round 3/4 OLB’s are always a risk because most of them were DE’s in college so an early round pick on them are riskier along with 3/4 DE’s ala Ziggy Hood. I feel TE is a need as Miller’s age is showing, although some of it is due to his injury, and we have need for one in the draft so for me Ebron is a real possibility. To me the safest picks would be Gilbert or Ebron but if someone like Barr was available I would consider him a possibility. Still questions on whether we need a DE with Arnfeldt and Williams and at ILB with the young guys there so it is hard to figure out where we will go.


    Jack, probably took Thomas only for depth, will draft a NT (hopefully), and slide McClendon to DE where he could be great.
    The top 4 NTs – Ryan Carrethers (Ark St), Daniel McCullers (Tenn), Justin Ellis (La Tech) and DaQuan Jones (Penn St) if you leave Nix out who will be gone by mid-2nd round. Assume Nix out of the picture since we wouldn’t spend a #1 or 2 on NT. Personally, I think all the guys above except Jones could be had in rd 4 or later. My favorite is McCullers who is 6’7″, 352 pounds, a man mountain and played in SEC.
    If we DO NOT draft a NT this year with this many capable NTs available (not usually this many good NTs in a single draft in my memory), we are making a HUGE MISTAKE.
    Drafting a starting NT solves 2 problems in 1 – we get our NT plus by sliding Mac to DE we solve our need for a starter there as well.

  • Jazz

    Marcus Gilbert is a big fat lazy for nothing, ok you get were I’m going with this. Marcus Gilbert constantly gets pushed around in the backfield. And even if he has a breakout yr, I wouldn’t toss a lot of money towards him at all.

  • Axe Skot

    It would seem to me they are now in a better position to really take the most talented player in the first round and it’s likely to be cornerback, wide receiver, maybe linebacker. I’m excited to see what sort of talent falls to 15.

  • Jack Foster

    Thanks for the insight TCIrish, that’s helpful and I agree we should grab a NT in later rounds. Focus on tall WR and other Def positions (namely CB & ILB) and depth for OLB (assuming J.Jones has a good year) and RB.

  • dkoy85

    I think, and assuming they get CB or WR 1st round, if Nix falls to us in the second round then they will strongly consider drafting him. Honestly, you can’t have too many D lineman and this way it will allow the best possible starting lineup on the field, which will help the linebackers , which will help the CBs, which will help the safeties.

  • Bob

    I would trade back if possible and, if Carr is still there, there should be a few partners. Trading to anywhere in the #23 to #27 range for a 2nd, although I would also take both of Cleveland’s 3s and their pick from Indy. That said, I’ll assume a second 2nd:

    1 CB Bradly Roby/Kyle Fuller
    2a WR Donte Moncrief
    2b CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste/Pierre Desir
    3 (comp for Wallace) TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
    4 DE Josh Mauro
    4 (comp for Lewis) DT Justin Ellis
    5 DE Brent Urban
    6 OLB Khairi Fortt
    7 OLBLarry Webster

    Of course, if Mack somehow makes it out of the top 10, all this goes out the window and I look to trade up.

  • Rob H

    Nix falling to the second would be a really interesting dilemma, I doubt it will happen, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone dropped like that. I guess if you have him rated higher than everyone else left, you would almost have to take him there, and I wouldn’t be upset. At the same time though, they pretty much have to take a db with one of the first two picks, and there’s going to be a lot of receivers available in the second who would be first rounders most other years. I’d really prefer they go with cb and wr (whichever order) in the first two rounds, so I guess I’ll just hope he doesn’t slide that far, and they can take one of the other nose tackles a round or two later if they think they need it.

  • Rob H

    I’ve really gotten on the Fuller bandwagon lately, and if Gilbert doesn’t drop, he’s the guy I want, but I worry about dropping too far back and having someone else grab him. Every year we see that run on cb’s in the first.

  • Callentown

    Gotta bring in another LT. What happens if/when Beachum gets injured???

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I’m amazed at the comfort fans seem to have with the o one. I would take Lewan if he falls but otherwise would make Munchak work with what he has. I would let him use the 6th rounder on a pet project though.

  • Ike Evans

    I friggin love lewan…he’s got that nasty factor but he scares me too because the things he struggles with are the same things mike adams struggles with…they are about the same height as well…so that brings me some pause…he didn’t have a great year on tape…he was better the yr before…but the kid plays to the echo of the whistle and I loooooooove that lol

  • Eric MacLaurin

    An elite cb would be my hope as well though I think we have to get a true elite player with such a high pick and position doesn’t matter as much as getting a player that requires a double team. That said, there aren’t 15 really good players and I would trade down if they’re all gone.

    1. Dennard
    2. Trent Murphy
    3. WR
    4. DL
    5. BA

  • CuldesacBill

    I like some of the picks that were mentioned here. I think we need a little more high-grade linebackers. My picks would be as follows:

    1 – Justin Gilbert/Dennard CB
    2 – Jordan Matthews/Allen Robinson WR
    3 – Christian Jones ILB, Florida State
    4 – Marcus Smith OLB, Louisville
    5 – Allen CB, Purdue
    5 – Brent Urban DL Virginia
    6 – James White RB Wisconsin
    7 – Versatile OL – Vanderbilt (couldn’t Remember his name)

  • Steeler Fanatic

    I still dont think they draft a cb in round 1… Look at their history, wasn’t Deion Figures the last corner they drafted there? I like the two corners a lot, but i also think they desparately want another playmaker at lb or wr? The truth is they might have a shot at a freakishly tall athletic guy in Evans, and they have never really had that chance before (save Plex to a degree). They will not become a dominant defense overnight, but they just might become a really good offense with Evans. If mack falls to 11 or 12, they better think hard about trading up.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    How about David Stewart from the Titans? He might come reasonable and push Gilbert or Adams on the right side.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    If the Browns take Manziel and Evans is there at 15, do we offer them that pick for their late first and early second?

  • Cody Younkin

    I’m thinking that same scenario. McCullers in the 4th would be a steal for us. Barring health concerns there’s also Morgan Breslin from USC possibly on the board

  • Cody Younkin

    T Cody would be a solid pick up for the right price.

  • Nick Sabatella

    If Taylor Lewan or the other top two tackles are available… the Steelers will take a tackle to shore up the offensive line which has no true LT. Love what Beach has done, but as soon as one other player goes down, Beach will have to fill their spot, and then we are back to square one with Adams on the left and Big Ben having no time for deep routes.

  • Brendon Glad

    I think you nailed it….as Carrington/Cotchery/Sanders unfold….and as mitchell/Cam Thomas unfolded…it will bring, and has brought better clarity. But I’m with you 1,000%…no matter WHAT happens with Gilbert and Dennard, the Steelers need to draft 2 CB’s. I’m putting my pitch in again for Gaines/from Rice as a mid-late-sleeper whom I would be thrilled to get from 4 on down.

  • Brendon Glad

    Now that they signed Thomas…and are working hard on Carrington….I get this feeling that the Steelers, in the end will pray for mack (ILB) or Gilbert (CB) to fall…95% it won’t happen…but DeCastro’s draft stunned me…so who knows? Then since I’m assuming they won’t…I think it will come down to mosely (ILB) vs. Dennard (cb)…I think that they will choose mosely. And I will agree with it.

  • Asmitty56

    Always take the best player available, although I didn’t think they would take a safety in the first anyways. Would still take a top notch DE if one were available, the position is by no means closed.

  • Brendon Glad

    If both Cotchery and Sanders are gone by draft day…I retract this comment. But my gut says that the depth of the WR draft has the Steelers hoping for developmental WR’s later…rather than needing immediate impact WR’s in 2014…(and thus likely taken earlier).

  • Brendon Glad

    That’s a myth…and I hate it. So if one of the 3 highly projected qb’s is highest on the Steelers board…and slips to us…u are cool with making him the first round pick? I’ll give you “best player on the board after crossing off several positions that aren’t in play early”….but “best player available” is something ALL gm’s talk about, and noone does. Gm’s only say it because it is the best way to “play poker”….”yep…I have Andrew Luck, but BY GOSH, if Johnny manziel is available to me, I just might take him…so you better trade me something good to get my pick….blah, blah, blah….whatever.

  • 243546

    DE is the biggest need on the roster. I don’t care how good the other positions are, if a defense can’t dominate in the tranches, then the defense isn’t going to be very good. When have the Steelers ever won a Super Bowl without a dominant D line?

    As far as Arnfelt and Williams are concerned, they combined for 4 defensive snaps last year. Williams was raw as an onion, and spent the year on IR. If Arnfelt was even close to being a contributor, then why did he only get 4 snaps last year? Of course one or both could eventually prove to be a quality player, but neither has shown enough to put the future hopes of the D line on their backs, or prevent the team from drafting a DL who they think can be a big time player.

  • 243546

    That was supposed to be a new post, not a reply to James. Sorry!

  • Brendon Glad

    To me, the key is getting the board more accurate than everyone else but knowing how many spots on your NFL current squad are “unsatisfactory”. Then if your spot comes, and the best guys in your need areas aren’t available but there’s no “great value play” available, then you trade down. Aggressively! Don’t get hung up on the “jimmy Johnson trade-board”. We do not trade down enough, in my opinion…yeah, it’s easier said than done….IF your only reference is the “Jimmy Johnson trade board”

  • Brendon Glad

    I think there is a crazy, but realistic prayer (in the way the Troy P. thing happened)…that mack could slip through the cracks. I think the Steelers are praying for it….just like you said…and I think they would do exactly what they did with Troy P….and NOT what they did with Ed Reed…(where he slipped to a team with solid safeties…then the Ravens snuck in and got him one pick ahead). Long-windedly….I LOVE your read of the mack-angle.

  • Brendon Glad

    I like your Webster angle…4 guys on my radar from 4-7 are: in no order: (Gaines/CB Rice….Hampton CB S.Car…Cockrell CB/Duke….and Janis WR/SaginawSt.). Obviously I don’t want them all, but I’d be happy if I saw any or 2 of those names cross our board on day 3. Side note: I’ve watched the combine for awhile now: and love him or hate him…Deion Sanders NAILS CB WAY BETTER than the Steelers do…the guy he kept bringing up was Hampton. I dare say (off my read of his words) that he liked him better than Dennard even on a level-scale…not factoring value. Just a note.

  • dave

    Ike and Eric -I agree- Depending on how the draft falls, if Justin Gilbert, Mike Evans, Dennard are off the board and Lewan is there, he’d be a real solid pick at 15.

  • Asmitty56

    No need to get smart, not taking a QB, RB, OC, are self explanatory and doesn’t even need mentioned because we all know it’s not an option in the first round. The rest of the other positions outside of special teams are in play for BPA however. And don’t worry, I don’t consider Nix BPA unless there is a ton of players on the Steelers board taken ahead of them..

  • tim

    Nix is not a good projected NT for a 3-4….he gets blown up by double twams…watch his tape…

  • tim

    McCullers IS huge but very slow and un- athletic, he would best be served as a lineman at the goal line defene


    Tim, none of these guys are going to light it up on the 40, but they DO need short burst quickness and of course a lot of strength. Strength should not be a problem given his stature (6’7″, 352 lbs) but can he get low enough given his height and to your point is he quick enough? Hampton wasn’t exactly a sprinter, and this kid played in the SEC for a big time program so we’ll see.

  • tim

    I agree sbout the short burst…..however I still say Hampton was quicker and faster than Mc…also I believe the ideal NT for the 3-4 is more of a shorter fire plug type like Will Wolfork ( omg imagine getting HIM for a two years?!) or Hampton…I think your guy is probably more suited for the 4-3 inside…IMO


    Tim, no doubt. Its admirable that Mac was willing to play out of position in a time of need, but his pass rushing skills will definitely be better utilized as a DE.
    Beyond McCullers there are 2 or 3 others that could suit the position available in the draft – the smallest of which is like 330 lbs.
    Justin Ellis from Bradshaw’s school, La Tech seems to currently be the highest rated. Da Quan Jones from PSU and Ryan Carrethers from Ark St are two other viable options.

  • tim

    Thing is…..he CAN’T play side line to side line as a DE which means he can’t keep the edge…he is suited to be a space eater inside in a 4-3….I JUST dont, aftee aeeing game tape on him, see Mac in our 3-4..our NT prodo type is 6’0-6’3 330+….these guys get the leverage that Coach Dad is looking for, thus the need for the double team, once we get a double team on the nose guard it opens up everything else for coaches’ system…I need to look at more NT but there may not be the one we are looking for..not Nix either, he can’t take the double team…

  • tim

    Oh I’m sorry…..I the MAC I was talking about when I said Hampton was quicker etc was your guy McCullers…..I was comparing those two and body types etc…McCullers is more suited for a 4-3…