A need, just not THE need:
- Edge defender
- Wide receiver
- Tight end
- Offensive tackle
- Inside linebacker
These are the ‘Smith-Schuster’ positions – ones that could be targeted as high as 49 but aren’t the top needs. Even with Bud Dupree back, he is currently playing on the tag so the Steelers may look to add a player that can take over for him next year. They’ve spoken about the strength of this class and have shown interest in players like Curtis Weaver, Darrell Taylor, and Alex Highsmith. Expect an edge to be taken in this draft; the real question is at what pick.
Receiver has jumped tight end as a need due to the Ebron signing, and this class should have plenty of options for the Steelers to draft from. An extraordinarily deep class, the Steelers should be able to find some value options at any pick in the draft.
Tight end was addressed in free agency, but that may not stop the team from adding a player with more long-term upside. If the team is really in love with a top option like Cole Kmet or Adam Trautman, they might be the target at 49. As well, if the team wants to push Zach Gentry, they could target a late-round option like Charlie Woerner in the later rounds of the draft.
Offensive tackle is an intriguing position atop the draft, as the class is very frontloaded. If a decent prospect slips to 49, the Steelers could shock their fanbase and grab an offensive tackle early. With Alejandro Villanueva and Matt Feiler both being free agents next year, this could be an investment in the future at the position.
Lastly, after cutting Barron the team maybe a little short at inside linebacker. Ulysees Gilbert III is penciled in as his replacement right now, but he was only a 6th round pick and ended the year on IR. This class has some decent depth so the team could target a top back up if they aren’t confident Gilbert will make that jump.