Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Talk


Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

 

Just when you thought the Pittsburgh Steelers were done making free agency moves, they go off and sign two more, one of them a pretty notable name. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was brought in on a one year contract, same goes for CB Brice McCain. Both had horrible seasons last year, and both are safe to make the 53 man roster, even with Heyward-Bey’s first round status. Neither should make much of an impact, and they were brought in simply for depth if they do indeed make the 53 man roster.

With these two signings, however, its shaping up what the Steelers draft plans intend to be. Even though one can never predict what teams do in the draft, the Steelers are incredible thin at several positions that need future starters due to old starters leaving through free agency and veterans on their last leg with the Steelers.

With the two most recent signings by the Steelers, the most obvious thing that they tell me is that the Steelers will be taking a cornerback in the first round. Before, it was up in the air between a cornerback and a wide receiver, but with the signings of both Lance Moore and Heyward-Bey, both veterans of the game, the Steelers intend to make wide receiver less of a priority in the draft. Also, wide receiver is incredibly deep, making it easy to find one later in the draft. Cornerback is also a very deep position in the draft, but the Steelers need a starter as soon as next season, and there are two very talented cornerbacks that could fall to the Steelers that would be hard to pass up on.

The second thing that free agency told me about the Steelers draft plans is defensive end is now a need. I truly thought that the Steelers would be able to retain either Ziggy Hood or Al Woods and be apart of their long term plans at DE, but now that both are gone, there is no clear cut starter at LDE. Cam Thomas was brought in to play DE, a position he has never played before, but looks like he will not start. Brett Keisel can still be brought in, which is probably the most likely option at this point, but what about the 2015 season. Stephen Tuitt could be available in the second round, and if he is, pick him up and have him rotate in for a season, then take over when Keisel leaves after one more season.

Another scenario that could be on the Steelers mind is starting Brian Arnfelt or Nick Williams. To me, Williams would be the most likely. As a seventh round rookie, he didn’t make it out of the preseason healthy, but the Steelers put him on IR instead of flat out cutting him. That means they see something in the kid, and let me tell you, the kid is a monster. When I went to the Steelers training camp, my jaw dropped when he walked by. By far the biggest human being I have ever seen. If John Mitchell could ever get this kid developed, he could be an absolute beast. Look for Williams updates in training camp.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft 2014 NFL Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers

  • datdudedre’

    I agree with your accessments about the draft and our needs. I’ve been telling anyone who’d listen that we must take a corner in the 1st round. It is our most glaring weakness. We lack depth, and we have no one who can make plays on the ball. Ike Taylor (as well as William Gay) should be playing his last season in Black and Gold. Ike’s replacement MUST be found in May, which is why we have to get the best available player at the position that we possibly can. If we don’t get a corner in the 1st round, then we should add 2 corners by no later than the 5th round to guarantee some quality. But only if the top 2 corners in the draft are gone by the 15th pick, should we go in another direction in the 1st round. If that happens, we should draft a DE, an ILB or a TE. We should NOT take a WR. Defensive end is our next biggest priority outside of corner, which is why I was hoping we’d find a way to sign ex-Bill Alex Carrington during free agency. I disagree with the notion that Cam Thomas will play at DE. The guy is 6’4″ 335 pounds, he needs to be at nose tackle. Maybe he could provide depth at end, but nose is the position he would play best. I still believe Steve McLendon would make a good DE. He’s the perfect size (6’4″ 280) for a 3-4 end, and his quickness off the snap would be better suited outside. Cam could then start at NT, with a rookie backing him up. McLendon would slide to nose on obvious passing downs, and against teams that throw a lot. Apparently, the Steelers coaches disagree. They like McLendon at the nose. We will still draft a NT to add to the mix, but DE has to be figured out first. Nick Williams still looks a future starter, but for now he and Brian Arnfelt would be rotational guys.