Steelers may go running back or tight end instead of receiver early in the NFL Draft

Tommy Jaggi
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Steelers have a number of needs to address on the offensive side of the ball this April, but here’s why they may be more likely to draft a running back or tight end than a receiver.

Though the Steelers are going to Javon Hargrave in free agency this year, there is little doubt that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are going to want to address offense early in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ben Roethlisberger has just a few years left before he hangs up his cleats for good, and getting him weapons in a closing Super Bowl window has to be priority number one.

The Steelers don’t have any elite skill players on their roster at this time, and their offense ranked just 30th in the league in 2019. Pittsburgh has three capable receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington. Outside of them, however, they have perhaps the worst depth in the league.

Deon Cain, Ryan Switzer, and Johnny Holton are the players likely to round out the roster at this point. Switzer averaged a dismal 3.4 yards per reception last season, while Holton caught just 3 of 15 targets for 7.0 yards a pop.

Receiver is a position that clearly needs to be upgraded for Pittsburgh, but I think it may be more likely the Steelers add a running back or tight end with their second-round pick.

The 2020 wide receiver class is one of the best and deepest groups I have seen since studying the draft. However, many of the top receivers will be off the board before Pittsburgh picks at 49.

On the other hand, the way things are shaping up, the Steelers may have their choice of tight ends or running backs when their second-round pick rolls around. It would be hard for them to pass on a player who could be a four-year starter at running back (or perhaps an even longer starter at tight end) for perhaps the 8th or 9th receiver off the board.

With all of the elite receiver talent likely to be gone before the Steelers pick, they may be looking at a guy who might be the third or fourth wide receiver on their roster. If Pittsburgh truly is in ‘win now’ mode with an aging Roethlisberger, then drafting a starting-caliber running back or a receiving tight end may help them out more than a depth wide receiver.

Next. Steelers need to be prepared if a quarterback falls to them at pick 49. dark

It’s still far too early to tell which players will be available to the Steelers in the second round, and in such a great wide receiver class, there could be some prospects still worth taking at pick 49. However, something tells me that may not be the direction Pittsburgh chooses to go early this April.