Updated Steelers draft needs after early free agency

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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After a flurry of free agent moves, the Steelers have set themselves up in a prime position to draft for talent instead of drafting for need.

With the first week of NFL free agency just about in the books, the Steelers have been surprisingly aggressive in filling their needs. The signings of Eric Ebron and Stefen Wisniewski fill holes at key starting spots while Derek Watt and Chris Wormley will provide depth and special teams talent. With the recent transactions, the Steelers have opened themselves to taking any position in the NFL Draft.

This style of offseason is very typical for the Steelers, as Kevin Colbert and company do a very good job of filling preliminary needs in free agency and then drafting BPA at those positions of need in the draft. Take last year, for instance. The Steelers signed Mark Barron, Donte Moncrief, and Steven Nelson only to go out and draft Devin Bush, Diontae Johnson, and Justin Layne.

Likewise, the Steelers can target surprising players in the draft after they fill out their needs in free agency. In 2017, the Steelers took a receiver in the second round even though they had Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Eli Rogers all returning to start. That receiver was JuJu Smith-Schuster – a player who has gone on to be a bright spot on this team even though wide receiver clearly wasn’t a need at the time.

With the first wave of free agency over, the Steelers can now resume the pre-draft process. With the mix of needs different than before, a tiered list of needs are presented below. As a note, I won’t include specialists as a position of need since the team will typically look at add UDFA’s at the position.