Evan Silva

Draft Analysis

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NFL Draft Needs: Steelers

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

 

Steelers Team Need No. 1: Linebacker

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

ILB Ryan Shazier’s 2017 spinal injury ruined the Steelers’ defense down the stretch and left Shazier’s career in doubt. He won’t play football this season. Outside linebacker is also a need, even after Pittsburgh hit on 2017 first-round pick T.J. Watt. 2015 first-rounder Bud Dupree has been an inconsistent disappointment.

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Steelers Team Need No. 2: Defensive Back

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

The Steelers’ secondary is undergoing a needed makeover after coughing up far too many big plays. Morgan Burnett was signed to play strong safety, while Sean Davis and Cameron Sutton are the top in-house candidates to replace Mike Mitchell at free. Davis finished 89th among 89 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ 2017 safety grades. LCB Joe Haden is expected back for another year, but Haden’s on-field performance no longer matches his pay.

Steelers Team Need No. 3: Defensive Line

 

Silva’s Analysis

 

Pittsburgh’s front line wore down over the course of last season; RE Cameron Heyward and LE Stephon Tuitt were forced to play far too many snaps due to poor defensive line depth. The Steelers simply did not have enough useful bodies to give Heyward and Tuitt breathers and keep them fresh. Additional arguable Steelers needs are running back depth behind franchise-tagged Le’Veon Bell and quarterback depth behind 36-year-old Ben Roethlisberger.

 

 

Norris’ Mock Draft

 

Round 1 (28): S Justin Reid, Stanford - Reid is receiving plenty of interest from mid- to late-first round teams. He’s super athletic, a trend for multiple first and second round picks for the Steelers in recent years. Sean Davis, Morgan Burnett and Reid would form a nice trio.

Round 2 (60): LB Darius Leonard, South Carolina State - Adding speed at linebacker is imperative for the Steelers this offseason. It was imperative after losing Ryan Shazier. Leonard is a very talented player with size, and the Steelers selected a hit with Javon Hargrave out of the same small program a few years ago.

Round 3 (92): RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State - The Steelers are interested in running backs, and I could see one being drafted in any of the first three rounds. Penny certainly has his fans. His performance against Arizona State was top notch, as he displayed uncommon breakaway speed for a big running back.

Round 5 (139): WR Deon Cain, Clemson - Martavis Bryant’s contract is up after the season, so another big bodied vertical threat could be added to the list. I have no gauge on where Cain will land in this draft.

Round 5 (156): DL Bilal Nichols, Delaware - Nichols looked good during Shrine week and offers interior disruption.

Round 7 (194): CB Donovan Olumba, Portland State - Corner depth, and one specifically with length.

Round 7 (220): T Jamar McGloster, Syracuse - The Steelers might be the best in the league at developing swing tackles. McGloster could be their next one.



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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