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Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at The 2014 NFL Draft, Top Five Positions of Need


 

At 0-3, I think that it is pretty safe to start throwing dirt on the 2013 season of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  This team is too undisciplined and untalented to turn things around, and they will be lucky to even finish with more than four wins with the way they have collectively played during the first three weeks.

With the 2013 season essentially lost, I thought it would be fun to look ahead to the 2014 campaign and how the franchise will try to get better through the 2014 NFL Draft.  So with that in mind, I thought that I would do a quick run-down of what I believe will be Pittsburgh’s top five positions of need heading into “Draft Weekend:”

 

Left Tackle

After watching Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, and Kelvin Beachum try their best to protect Ben Roethlisberger’s blind-side over the last three games, I think it is abundantly clear that the Steelers need to find a franchise-caliber left tackle to protect their franchise quarterback.

If the Steelers are picking in the top five next May, which is a very strong possibility, they cannot afford to pass on blind-side protector for “Big Ben” like Jake Matthews.  Heck, if they’re drafting in the top two or three, they could trade down into the top ten for a Taylor Lewan of Michigan or a James Hurst of North Carolina if defensive end Jadeveon Clowney does not interest them.

Roethlisberger is on pace to be sacked over 50 times this fall, and the best thing for this franchise to do is put a talented left tackle in place and then let Adams, Gilbert, and Beachum fight over the right tackle spot.

 

Tight End

I was definitely encouraged to see Heath Miller back in the lineup for the Steelers, and he could eventually return to form over the regular season’s final 13 games.  Positive feelings aside, Pittsburgh is going to need help at the tight end position sooner as opposed to later.

Although Miller will not be a free agent until the 2014 regular season ends, the depth behind him inspires little hope.  David Paulson cannot produce as an “in-line” blocker and David Johnson is a glorified H-back playing the tight end position.

If the Steelers want to hedge their bets at the tight end position, they must look towards selecting one or even two next May.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington would be a nice fit, and the big-bodied tight end would provide Roethlisberger with a terrific red zone target.

 

Cornerback

Ike Taylor will turn 34 next  year and will be a free agent after that season.  Taylor is also scheduled to make $7 million next fall in base salary alone, so he could be released if he is unwilling to restructure his deal.  Behind Taylor the Steelers have the hobbled Cortez Allen, the “mediocre on a good day” William Gay, and special teamers Curtis Brown and Antwon Blake.

Lacking depth at cornerback in a passing league is unacceptable, so Pittsburgh’s brass would be wise to acquire some insurance during this offseason.  Whether or not they will select mid-round developmental prospects as they always seem to do next May is still up for debate.  What is not however is the fact that this team must find some solutions at the position for long-term purposes.

 

Inside Linebacker

There is a good chance that Larry Foote played his last game with the Steelers on opening weekend, and the Steelers could probably use an upgrade over Kion Wilson and Vince Williams at his old spot.  While Sean Spence is a bit of a wild-card in terms of his return, relying on steady contributions from a player who suffered the type of knee injury Spence did is an enormous gamble.

If Pittsburgh trades down in round one, then they might be able to acquire a C.J. Mosley-type of prospect who can not only play the run but also the pass.  Putting Mosely in at the “mack” and shifting Lawrence Timmons over to the strongside would give Pittsburgh’s defense a formidable duo, and it would also allow Wilson and Williams to provide some adequate depth at the position.

 

Wide Receiver

Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery will be unrestricted free agents after this season, and the cap-strapped Steelers might now be able to ink either one next March.  If that happens, the only wide receivers on the roster will be Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Derek Moye.

While I like the promise of Wheaton and Moye, Pittsburgh’s offense could stand to use an electrifying play-maker at the wide receiver position.  Burners like Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee would add the element the Steelers lost when Mike Wallace departed, and either player would compliment the rest of the receiving corps well with their speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stats & Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.com and Pro Football Reference

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Austin Seferian-Jenkins Cortez Allen Featured Ike Taylor Jake Matthews James Hurst Kelvin Beachum Marcus Gilbert Mike Adams Pittsburgh Steelers Popular Taylor Lewan

  • Joe Longo

    what a disgrace! with all the high draft picks on the o-line, we will spend another one on it!

    • Hutch

      Well, I don’t think we have any choice. Perhaps KC has run his course as talent selection guru?

      • Dom DiTolla

        I think Adams has the tools to be a standout right tackle, Beachum a solid “Swiss army knife,” and Gilbert to be a backup, but this team sorely lacks a competent left tackle. I personally would love to see them trade down a few spots to accumulate a bunch of picks, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the 2014 Draft.

        • Jeff Johnson

          I wouldn’t want them to trade down and draft a bunch of so-so or not good players. They have to make moves to get some top players who can make a difference early

          • Hutch

            Stay at the top pick and try to get the top pick talent.

          • Dom DiTolla

            I’m not saying they should trade out of the top 10, just do what Minnesota did back in 2012 when they took Kalil.

  • Hutch

    I think you hit it pretty good on this draft wish list. But then again, with the Steelers you could pretty much plug any position in there and justify it. I am a Steeler fan here.. and I remember the 80s Steelers… yea, I am old.

    • Dom DiTolla

      I think every position except quarterback, running back, guard, center, safety, nose tackle, kicker, and punter is fair game in round one. And in my opinion, this team could go in any direction in the next six rounds and not be “wrong.”

      • Hutch

        MAYBE you have one deep at any of those positions. Most likely you do not. And the starter most likely stinks. I mean, I am a Steeler fan, but I am pretty solid in the assertion that this team is just plain bad. No excuses.

        ‘You are what your record says you are’ Bill Parcells.

  • SamyyCiao

    biggest decline that was unexpect has been safety Clark – he is done – old and slow over night – needs to retire asap!

  • SamyyCiao

    Troy while showing some flashes of his old self is also 2 steps slower and old, as is Ike – Ike, Troy and Ryan Clark all need to be repaced we are getting beat every play be very average receievers! Also we are gettubg no pass rush execpt from old Man River Kiesel – Hampton, Hoood, Mclendon can only rush to the dinner table. Woodley is shell of his former shelf, Timmons still is a very good player but the Defense now is not good in fact old slow and out of step on how to stop any passing or running plays!

  • Jeff Johnson

    Give Vince Williams a chance. It’s just his rookie season

  • Jeff Johnson

    Has to be a top LT in round one if they draft within the top ten. They have not had one and that is one of the teams biggest problems is protecting the QB

    • Dom DiTolla

      Agreed. It can’t be anything else. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, let Adams, Gilbert, and Beachum duke it out at right tackle and to the victor goes the starting position.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Would it be prudent to trade off Sanders now ? We certainly won’t be able to afford whatever insane price he’s asking for next year and as it’s been pointed out universally, we’re finally on track for a high draft pick next year. If we can get a (3) for Sanders now and let Weaton get some turf time we can always re-load with a youngin’ in the draft next year. This would give us a few early picks and possibly help right this ship for 2015 or 16. I actually like what Cleveland is doing (quit laughing) by building up with youth (much like the Steelers of old) and tempering the youth movement with some seasoned, but not aged, vets. Do I expect big things from Cleveland next year ? No. But at least they have some personnel, and a stock pile of early 2014 picks, to be optimistic about. So what do we do about the coaching staff? I love DL but it might be time to let Butler have his crack at DC. (Crack ? DC ? no jokes about Marion Berry please). Just rambling now – I look forward to comments (snarky and otherwise). God Bless.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Can’t trade Sanders since nobody would want him as a half-year rental before his contract expires. Best option is to wait for a comp. pick in 2015 since it is the only option.

  • jacksonbrown

    How do the Steelers get out of the salary cap problem? If some of these guys with fat contracts can’t see the writing on the wall , it may be time to start replacing them or trading them.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Well, I was one of the few who explained at length three years ago why the should have allowed Woodley to walk. I knew that mega-deal would destroy this team, and unfortunately my worst fears came true.