Since free agency has died down, we've seen numerous NFL Draft experts share their thoughts on which direction the Pittsburgh Steelers could go early this April. Based on the positions Omar Khan and Andy Weidl chose to address so far this offseason, we are starting to get a very clear picture of their remaining needs.
Those outside of the organization are well aware of their needs as well at this point. Though Pittsburgh could use depth at many positions on their roster, there are several starters who the team must upgrade in the near future.
Recently, Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus conducted a three-round mock draft for every AFC North team. At pick 17, he had the Steelers going with Maryland cornerback, Deonte Banks. This is a player who has been connected with Pittsburgh often this offseason. Some view CB as the Steelers biggest need, but don't believe Joey Porter Jr. will be available. It's also worth mentioning that Mike Tomlin has a strong connection with the staff at Maryland.
In the second round, PFF has the Steelers going with some mammoths. With the 32nd overall pick (acquired by the Bears in the Chase Claypool trade), McGuinness has them taking Ohio State OT Dawand Jones. At the NFL Combine, Jones measured in at 6'8 1/4'' and 374 pounds with 36 3/8'' arms. With their original second-round pick, he has the Steelers going with 335-pound Baylor DT Siaki Ika. These selections were followed by Houston WR Nathaniel Dell in round three.
Steelers fill needs in recent mock, but fits could be better
PFF's most recent mock draft has the Pittsburgh Steelers filling several significant areas of need. Though they signed Patrick Peterson this offseason, it's clear that youth and upside are lacking at the CB position. They also filled the need for an offensive tackle, nose tackle, and wide receiver in this mock.
Though needs are met, the value might not quite line up as hoped. Deonte Banks might be the fourth or fifth-best cornerback in this class, so taking him with the 17th overall pick seems a bit rich as other players could be on the board.
Additionally, 'Tank' Dell is a good football player, but I very much doubt the Steelers go with a receiver who measured in at 5'8 3/8'', and 165 pounds after just taking Calvin Austin III in the fourth round last year.
I can see the draft playing out similarly to this, but perhaps with the Pittsburgh Steelers targeting a few other players who make more sense for their scheme and situation. Still, it's plain to see that those who aren't close to the organization still have a good idea of which positions they need and where they could be headed this April.