Pittsburgh Steelers shaping focus with NFL Combine interviews

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21: Rashaan Evans
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21: Rashaan Evans /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are keeping their options small during NFL Combine interviews.

A team with simple yet significant needs, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to solely be focused on solving problems this NFL Draft. Meeting with an abundance of players all within the same position, this team is keeping their attention on the voids they need to fill this April.

During the team’s first two days at the combine, they turned their attention to the two positions they’ll be considering during the draft; inside linebacker and tight end. Adding a few loose ends like Lamar Jackson and Da’Ron Payne, the Steelers have maintained a simply and proficient combine interview session.

As of Sunday morning, the team has met with a group of tight ends, Lamar Jackson and a variety of linebackers. Leighton Vander Esch, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Malik Jefferson, Harrison Phillips and Rashaan Evans all attended interviews with the Steelers during Saturday’s combine.

It is becoming more clear as to the direction Pittsburgh is trying to take during the offseason. Inside linebacker and safety are their two major needs and it appears they are looking to handle one issue during the draft.

Of course, you always need to remember Lamar Jackson could be a surprise pick, but outside of the QB, Pittsburgh won’t risk filling a hole with a skill player.

At No. 28, unless they believe Jackson is the man to fill Ben Roethlisberger’s shoes, something they will need to be very clear about before making the decision, they’ll likely take a linebacker.

With so much first round talent at the position, Pittsburgh will have options towards the end of the opening round to select someone worthy of filling Ryan Shazier’s place immediately.

While Pittsburgh could elect to wait later into the draft for a linebacker, most of their interviews were conducted with players worthy of first round selections. Rashaan Evens, Malik Jefferson and Leighton Van Esch all look to be three of the top inside backers in this year’s draft.

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If the Steelers are serious about replacing Shazier with Pro Bowl talent, their best fit is looking to find the next T.J. Watt. Both the team and the players know that and will likely use No. 28 to try and find the man next to Vince Williams in 2018.