What every Steelers fan should be watching for each day at the 2024 NFL Combine

Here are the things Steelers fans should be watching for on each day of the NFL Combine this year.

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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It's NFL Combine Week! From now through Sunday, coaches, scouts, and front-office personnel of all 32 NFL teams will meet with and study the talent on hand in Indianapolis for the biggest pre-draft event of the year. As always, the Pittsburgh Steelers have their brass on hand, and they have already had formal visits with numerous players.

With so many pressing needs heading into the 2024 offseason, the Steelers will examine every position carefully and take notes that will impact their draft board this April. As fans, we will kick back and enjoy events like the 40-yard dash and the 3-cone drill, while watching over 300 participants take part in on-field drills.

But what should we be watching for as it pertains to Pittsburgh? Here's a checklist of the biggest things Steelers fans should be watching for each day at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine this week.

Thursday: Defensive linemen and linebackers

The Steelers are unlikely to take an interior defender with one of their top two picks in the NFL Draft, so I wouldn't focus too deeply on this position. However, there's no question they need depth at defensive tackle. So what will they be looking for at the position?

Pittsburgh was bullied against the run at times last year, and they've been lacking a true nose tackle for the longest time. While he's probably a bit more one-dimensional than they typically like, a player like Texas' T'Vondre Sweat would certainly solve some issues in the middle of their defense. If he can test decent for his size, the Steelers will have interest.

Other players who could fit the bill at nose tackle include Texas A&M's McKinnley Jackson, Iowa's Logan Lee, North Carolina's Myles Murphy, and LSU's Jordan Jefferson. I wouldn't expect them to start looking at taking a defensive lineman until the third or fourth round.

When it comes to linebackers, however, Pittsburgh could dip their toes in the LB pool much sooner. The Steelers have already visited with some of the top linebacker prospects like Edgerrin Cooper, Junior Colson, and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. They also reportedly met with Ohio State's Liam Eichenberg among others.

Judging by the talent pool at LB this year, spending a first-round pick on the position (20th overall) seems very unlikely, but they could look at for linebacker help as early as Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Keep an eye on how these players test, as some of them could fly up the draft board based on their performances in Indianapolis.

Friday: Defensive backs and tight ends

It's interesting that the tight ends are working out on the same day as the defensive backs this year. Normally they participate with the offensive linemen. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of important things to watch for on Friday.

With seven draft choices as of now, it seems unlikely that Pittsburgh will use one on a tight end, considering that players like Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, and Connor Heyward are all under contract. If the Steelers add a tight end to this group, it's likely to be a free agent (possibly one with ties to OC Arthur Smith).

Defensive back is an entirely different story. This team has a gaping hole at right cornerback opposite Joey Porter Jr., and a CB could be on their radar with the 20th overall pick this year. This is a strong CB class that includes a number of first-round prospects like Terrion Arnold, Cooper DeJean, Nate Wiggins, and Quinyon Mitchell.

Testing numbers and performances in on-field drills could ultimately shake up draft boards and dictate which CBs could be off the board first. Pittsburgh wouldn't be expected to get their choice of cornerbacks at pick 20, but there are sure to be some quality options. Keep a watchful eye on how these cornerbacks test. Last year, Omar Khan almost exclusively drafted great athletes, so that is a box these CBs must check to be a first-round pick in Pittsburgh.

Saturday: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs

Saturday is sure to be the most-watched day of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, as quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers will steal the show. This is an excellent QB class, but it remains to be seen how much interest the Steelers will have when it comes to investing a high draft pick in a quarterback. Keep an eye on their QB visits at the Combine. These will help gauge their interest.

While Pittsburgh might not draft a running back this year with Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris taking nearly all of the snaps out of the backfield in 2023, wide receiver is certainly on their radar. This team desperately needs a reliable WR3, and Diontae Johnson's future with the team beyond 2024 is questionable at best.

Fortunately, this is a great WR class that is loaded on the first two days of the draft. Pittsburgh could look for WR help as early as round two if the right players are available when their pick rolls around. Mike Tomlin really seemed to like Georgia's Ladd McConkey and Michigan's Roman Wilson during Senior Bowl Week.

The Steelers could also be interested in players like Florida's Ricky Pearsall, as well as later-round players like Arizona's Jacob Cowing or UCF's Javon Baker. Testing numbers and fluidity in drills will be key in separating this tight group of wide receivers at the NFL Combine this year.

Sunday: Offensive linemen

Sunday's NFL Combine performances will consist only of offensive linemen. While this might not seem very exciting, keep in mind that there's a very good chance Pittsburgh could use their top draft choice to address the offensive line in 2024.

Pittsburgh is desperate for an upgrade at both center and offensive tackle this year, and this is a quality group that includes some intriguing prospects. When it comes to center, Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson has been a fan favorite, but players like Zach Frazier and potential center convert Graham Barton are also very good prospects.

The Steelers' interest in center could come down to scheme fit more than anything else, as Arthur Smith will want players who can move laterally in his wide zone scheme. Be watching to see how well these players move during positional drills.

Offensive tackle is a crowded group this year that includes young, but raw prospects with high upside. One of the most polarizing is Georgia's Amarius Mims -- who has been mocked to the Steelers frequently with the 20th overall pick.

These tackles are sure to impress in the weigh-ins, but there are plenty of questions regarding their fluidity and smoothness when it comes to their kickslide and ability to mirror pass rushers. Their performances on Sunday could help separate themselves from the pack. This might be the most important positional group to watch at the 2024 NFL Combine if you are a Steelers fan.

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