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Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Needs

The Steelers have not made the Super Bowl since the 2010-2011 season. It has not been due to a lack of offensive power. Not many teams can say they have the talent of the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and a top 5 offensive line. The main reason the Steelers have not had success lately is due to the defensive scheme of Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler. There are reports of Tomlin saying he is willing to make dramatic changes to the defensive scheme. The Steelers will need to use this draft in order to fill needs on the defensive side. Below are the Steelers needs in the upcoming NFL Draft.

1. Inside Linebacker

The loss of Ryan Shazier left a huge gap in the Steelers defense. They were not the same defense since his injury and will need to try and draft his replacement in the upcoming NFL Draft. The ILB position has become crucial in the NFL as more and more running backs are being involved in the pass attack. The Steelers will need to draft an ILB that can be a sideline-to-sideline player and a run stopper. Look for the Steelers to address this need in the first round.

2. Outside Linebacker

Bud Dupree has been inconsistent and a disappointment so far. He had a career high of only 6 sacks in the 2017 season. The Steelers may not pick up his fifth-year option and will look to someone else to fill the pass rush role if he does not show significant improvement in his fourth season. TJ Watt looks like he will be a very good player but the Steelers used him more in coverage last season. If the Steelers choose to continue to have Watt in coverage, they will need to find a pass rusher. I do think Watt would be a good pass rush option and they should explore it more. Whether they decide to keep Watt in coverage or pass rush, the Steelers should move on from Dupree and find his replacement in the second or third round.

3. Safety

The safety position was a huge weakness last season for the Steelers with Sean Davis and Mike Mitchell. The signing of Morgan Burnett and the release of Mike Mitchell was desperately needed. Burnett has given the Steelers the opportunity to look at replacing Ryan Shazier in the first round instead of contemplating a safety. Sean Davis is still a question mark at the safety position. Davis graded out very poorly on Pro Football Focus’ grade system. It would be wise to find a safety in the draft to compete for the starting safety position to go with Burnett. Drafting a safety in the second or third round is something the Steelers should explore.

4. Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger should one day be a Hall of Famer but he is already contemplating retirement. He has come out and said he would like to play another 3 years but with his injury history and already thinking of retiring, the Steelers should draft a QB in the NFL Draft for the future. They have looked extensively at Mason Rudolph. Rudolph’s playing style has been compared to Dak Prescott’s. Looking for Ben Roethlisberger’s future replacement would be wise for the Steelers.

5. Defensive Line/ Nose Tackle

The Steelers at times were gashed for big runs and had trouble stopping the run. It would be beneficial to look at a Nose Tackle who is difficult to move and can be a run stopper similar to what they had with Casey Hampton. Stephon Tuitt is built more like a NT than a DE. At 6 ft 6 and 303 lbs, it would be interesting to move Tuitt to NT. This would leave a need for a DE. The Steelers could try a player currently on the roster or draft someone in the later rounds of the draft.

This article was originally published on @jamesb