2018 NFL Draft week is upon us, and as the Pittsburgh Steelers finalize their draft board, we take a look at their biggest needs before April 26.
The NFL Draft starts on Thursday and the team has several needs it could target. The team could look at any position but some need addressed more than others. This ranking reflects how important the position is and the depth already on the roster.
10. Offensive Line
The Steelers offensive line is very solid and they aren’t looking for a starter. It is a position where they could look for more depth. B.J. Finney is capable of playing anywhere on the inside but is not a tackle. The the team recently lost swing tackle Chris Hubbard to the Browns.
This leaves Jerald Hawkins as the primary backup and the team may want another to develop. Nevada’s Austin Corbett was very versatile in college and that could translate to the pros.
The additions of Joe Haden and Cam Sutton as well as the ascension of Mike Hilton turned the corner position around. But it is still somewhere the team could look. Joe Haden is not getting any younger and it’s hard to know what the team has in Sutton. Artie Burns, Hilton, and a healthy Sutton should all continue to improve but Haden is almost thirty.
Corner is a position the team could look at for a high upside guy to develop. D.J. Reed from Kansas State is probably limited to playing in the slot but he was an immensely productive college player and could immediately help in the return game.
8. Defensive Line
The Steelers defensive line is very good. Cam Hayward and Stephon Tuitt are both guys with pro bowl talent and Javon Hargrave should continue to improve. Depth is the reason the line makes the list. Tyson Alualu was a solid addition last offseason but you can never have enough d-line depth.
Both Hayward and Tuitt averaged around 90% of defensive snaps in games they were healthy. Adding another guy to the rotation would help keep them fresh towards the end of the season. Nathan Shephard from Fort Hays State is a small school guy who has a ton of potential.
7. Wide Receiver
Antonio Brown is arguably the best receiver in the league. In 2018 he will be part of one of the best receiving corps in the league. JuJu Smith-Schuster broke out as a rookie with 917 yards and seven touchdowns. Martavis Bryant is incredibly talented but has been a distraction for the team in the past and is unlikely to be around after next year.
The Steelers have hit on some later round receivers and could look that way again to prepare for Bryant’s departure. Byron Pringle has similar physical traits as Bryant but needs to work on his hands and could benefit from coaching.
One of the underrated free agent signings of the offseason was Morgan Burnett. Burnett has been one of the better safety’s in the NFL in recent seasons despite a down year last season. Sean Davis was underwhelming last year but I expect him to improve in 2018.
The team could look at someone to develop in case Davis doesn’t improve or Burnett declines in the back end of his contract. Tre Flowers from Oklahoma State could be a middle round option.