2013 Draft

Steelers 2013 Draft – Early Positional Analysis Of The Offense

By Christopher DiMarino

The level of excitement for the 2012 NFL season continues grow as the season opener draws nearer. Accordingly, the time for draft scouting is also about to begin. Getting a jump start on next year\’s draft class is important and will help garner a general interest in college football for Steelers fans. There are many factors that prevent any accurate, in-depth analysis being done until the end of the season (injuries, not announcing draft eligibility, etc.). I, however, like to watch film if possible on prospects, and what better time to do it then when they are playing during the year.

The first step in this process is identifying likely draft scenarios. This means making educated guesses of which positions the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to draft next offseason. The best player available theory is always valid, but again, this exercise is just to learn about the positions the Steelers might want to address. This analysis will only be valid for the first few picks (rounds 1-3) as its hard to guess later round picks. I will be looking at the quality of the starter as well as if any high round picks have been spent on that position lately. I will also consider the cap situation to gauge if certain players may become expendable and leave a void.

In this first segment I will focus on the offensive side of the ball for the Steelers and the likelihood that they will address the position in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger is no spring chicken at 30, but he still has many years left in the tank. The need is still there for a competent young backup, but that shouldn\’t factor into an early round selection.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? No Chance

Running Back: This is an interesting position for the Steelers. Isaac Redman is primed for a breakout year and there are many intriguing names backing him up. However, assuming Rashard Mendenhall doesn\’t return next season, there are no high round players involved behind the two. More importantly, there\’s the looming question of if a game changing 3rd down back currently exist on the roster. Is Baron Batch that player? When you combine both of those factors, I think the Steelers could look for a running back early in the 2013 draft. This position will be in flux during the season and will need to be followed closely.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? Good Chance

Fullback: No one should draft a fullback this early.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? No Chance

Wide Receiver: The Steelers have arguably one of the best sets of wide receivers in the league. That being said, there are certain situations that could lead to Mike Wallace being gone if he does not sign a long-term deal. Add in the fact that Jerricho Cotchery will only have one season left under contract following the 2012 season, and that Emmanuel Sanders needs to prove that he can stay healthy, and the wide receiver position could get some consideration as a cheap replacement. However, given the Steelers success drafting later round gems, I don\’t think anything above a 3rd round pick will happen.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? Decent Chance

Tight End: As with this past draft, the need for a tight end is there to back up veteran Heath Miller. A backup isn\’t worth a pick this early, but the trend in the NFL is to get multiple, pass catching tight ends currently. If the Steelers are in a situation where there is value, it would not surprise me to see them grab one.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? Decent Chance

Tackle: The left tackle spot is a question mark heading into this season. With such a heavy focus on the offensive line early on in the last three drafts, it would be easy to guess that the Steelers won\’t consider an offensive lineman early. At tackle, the Steelers have two 2nd round prospects that are considered capable of starting at their positions. Accordingly, I don\’t think one will be taken before the 5th round for the next couple years.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? Low Chance

Guard: The Steelers drafted a young man named David DeCastro who looks primed to be a perennial Pro Bowler. The issue is not with him, but instead the guard spot opposite of him. Willie Colon has made the move to left guard from right tackle, but is too volatile of a player to put too much stock in right now. With two consecutive seasons ended by injury, he is a concern health wise. The restructuring of his contract this offseason will make him tough to cut though without creating dead money issues. Ramon Foster is in a contract year as are swing men Doug Legursky and Trai Essex, so the need for another young guard could exist.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? Decent Chance

Center: Maurkice Pouncey remains one of the best centers in the game and is still very young. He is under contract for the next 3 seasons, and it wouldn\’t surprise me if he made a trip to Hawaii in each of those seasons.

Addressed In First 3 Rounds? No Chance

Your feedback will guide my research going forward. This is my thoughts on the state of the offense as it relates to the draft just under a year from now. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

Follow me on twitter @chrisdimarino

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