Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Back
Pittsburgh's most pressing need is safety, where the organization has been unsuccessful in trying to replace Troy Polamalu the past two years. Once-ballyhooed Shamarko Thomas has panned out only as a special teamer, while incumbent SS Will Allen has not been re-signed. One in-house option is Robert Golden, though the Steelers may view him as more of a third safety. Cornerback, of course, was the team's biggest 2015 weakness. The Steelers return Ross Cockrell, William Gay and 2015 second-round pick Senquez Golson, but could use a higher-ceiling addition to lock down the boundary. DC Keith Butler runs a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 3 and figures to target defensive backs who can function in either scheme.
No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Line
Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt form one of the NFL's premier 3-4 end duos, but the Steelers have minimal depth behind them and lost NT Steve McLendon in free agency. Even if GM Kelvin Colbert sees nose tackle as an easily-replaced position, he could still spend an early draft pick there. In-house options Daniel McCullers and Lavon Hooks have combined for under 200 career NFL snaps.
No. 3 Team Need: Offensive Tackle
Another arguable Steelers need is outside linebacker, where returning top performer James Harrison turns 38 soon and Jarvis Jones, Bud Dupree and Arthur Moats combined for just ten sacks last season. Pittsburgh surely maintains hope Dupree will develop into an impact pass rusher, however, and Jones has at least become a useful rotational player. Left tackle is a more immediate need after Ali Villanueva was a liability on Ben Roethlisberger's blind side down the stretch last season, and Kelvin Beachum chased Jaguars’ green in free agency. The Steelers did sign 31-year-old journeyman Ryan Harris, but he is best viewed as a swing tackle.
Norris' Mock Draft
Round 1 (25): EDGE Kamalei Correa, Boise State - I know this was not Evan’s top “need.” Despite taking an edge player in the first round last year, the Steelers still need to add talent at the position. James Harrison was arguably their best edge rusher last year. I don’t love Correa’s game, but he has his cheerleaders in the NFL.
Round 2 (58): T Jason Spriggs, Indiana - The Indiana tackle could obviously be selected earlier than this, but prospects who have a better draft process than tape, which is the case here, sometimes sit on the board longer than “expected.” Spriggs is an athletic occupier on the left side.
Round 3 (89): DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas - I see Ridgeway as purely a run stuffer, but that is exactly what the Steelers need from the nose tackle spot.
Round 4 (123): S K.J. Dillon, WVU - If you watched Senior Bowl practices, you know how much Dillon loves to fly into the box and destroy unsuspecting running backs at the second level. He is aggressive and assertive.
Round 6 (220): CB Taveze Calhoun, Miss State - The Bulldogs used plenty of off coverage, and Calhoun can work a zone by closing on his man quickly. Calhoun’s poor athletic testing will likely lead to a third day selection.
Round 7 (229): T Alex Lewis, Nebraska - I watched Lewis at East West Shrine practices, and on the field he offers a bit of a nasty temperament. An off-field incident led to him transferring from Colorado to Nebraska.
Round 7 (246): WR Hunter Sharp, Utah State - A late round, vertical threat on the field who tested like a poor athlete off of it.
Steelers Current Offensive Depth Chart
RB: Le'Veon Bell
WR: Antonio Brown
WR: Markus Wheaton
WR: Sammie Coates
TE: Ladarius Green
LT: Ali Villanueva
LG: Ramon Foster
RG: David DeCastro
RT: Marcus Gilbert
Steelers Current Defensive Depth Chart
RE: Cameron Heyward
LE: Stephon Tuitt
NT: Daniel McCullers
ILB: Ryan Shazier
ILB: Lawrence Timmons
OLB: James Harrison
OLB: Bud Dupree
CB: William Gay
CB: Ross Cockrell
FS: Mike Mitchell
SS: Robert Golden