The second of my NFL draft previews brings me to the Steelers. They were one of the less active teams in free agency and signed only three notable free agents, safeties Morgan Burnett and Nat Berhe, and linebacker Jon Bostic. To some degree this speaks of the strength of their roster. However, there are areas they can improve.
Strong safety Morgan Burnett was a big addition but Sean Davis hasn’t lived up to billing and adding a versatile playmaker at safety would give them options. I’d expect the team to add talent in rounds 1-3 Stanford’s Justin Reid would make sense at the end of round one and Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison would also be a target in round two.
Secondly, cornerback is a position where Pittsburgh has talent but could use better depth. Joe Haden signing provided an upgrade and 2016’s first-round pick Artie Burns is still developing as a player. Once again, I’d expect the Steelers to add a player in rounds one to three. Louisville’s Jaire Alexander, UCF’s Mike Hughes or Tremon Smith from Central Arkansas are potential targets here.
Linebacker is equally an area that must also be upgraded, despite last year’s first-rounder, T.J. Watt’s, impact,. This is due to the horrific injury suffered by Ryan Shazier coupled with the disappointing progress of Bud Dupree. A couple of linebackers wouldn’t be a out of the question and the team would be ecstatic if Alabama star Rashaan Evans fell to them. Boston College’s Harold Landry or Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State are both highly rated players that could help.
Depth along the offensive line, especially at talks would definitely help in the later rounds of the draft. Day three could see the Steelers bring a 6-8, 345 pound developmental prospect to Steeltown. Former South Sydney Rabbitoh rugby player Jordan Mailata would fit the bill here. Although he’s raw his athletic measurable and potential are instantly eye grabbing.
An interesting move the Steelers may choose to investigate is the trade of Martavis Bryant for the addition of draft picks. Bryant’s outspoken nature has rubbed many up the wrong way and they may decide that it’s time to move on. DJ Chark of LSU or Memphis receiver Anthony Miller or even BYU’s versatile Jonah Trinnaman could help.
Finally, should one of the big name quarterbacks still be available when the Steelers pick at 28, picking a potential replacement for Big Ben . Last year in the fourth round they drafted Joshua Dobbs, who they may be high on, but an upgrade their would be big. Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State would give them a possible heir.