During the lead-up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we’ve had you covered breaking down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster by position and looking to how that corresponds to what they might do during the draft later this week.
But the Steelers aren’t the only team in the league, nor are they the only team in their division. And they lost three games to division opponents last season, including in the first round of the playoffs, which prematurely ended their most promising season since 2011, at least.
With that in mind, it will be valuable to break down each division opponent’s roster and take a look at where they are in need in terms of rebuilding through the draft. Let’s start with the Baltimore Ravens, who defeated the Steelers twice last year, including in the playoffs.
First, let’s break down what the Ravens are looking at in the draft. They will have 10 total selections, all in the first six rounds. They will have their natural picks in the first four rounds, each the 26th pick in the round.
Beyond that, they have added an additional fourth and fifth via their trade with the Detroit Lions for Haloti Ngata, the 23rd and 22nd in those rounds, respectively. They also recoup a compensatory pick in the fourth round, giving them three total selections in the round.
They also net two fifth-round compensatory picks while having the Lions’ fifth, giving them three fifth-round picks as well. They round out with a sixth-round pick that originally belonged to the Cowboys. With the depth of this draft, they have the arsenal to do some damage, admittedly.
But they will have to if you look at their losses, beyond Ngata. Particularly concerning has to be wide receiver, with only the aging Steve Smith a significant name after losing Torrey Smith in free agency. It’s very possible they go wide receiver on Thursday.
Interestingly, two of their biggest losses were actually ones that they could potentially weather in-house, with Ngata being one of them, although they have never shied away from bolstering the front seven. They also have the outside linebackers to weather the loss of Pernell McPhee, at least for this season, though Terrell Suggs is getting up there.
But the truth is that their needs skew toward the back end. While they may have two starting cornerbacks, the ‘may’ qualifier is legitimate, because both Jimmy Smith (newly extended) and Lardarius Webb have had trouble staying healthy. And they don’t have a lot of compelling names behind them.
It will be interesting how they view the safety position. They added Kendrick Lewis, but he is more of a stopgap. Matt Elam has yet to merit a starting position, but perhaps Will Hill has. Might they add here?
On offense, it seems likely that they want to add a running back and a tight end. After losing Bernard Pierce and Owen Daniels, respectively, and with neither Justin Forsett nor Dennis Pitta, again, respectively, a lock for a starting role (despite the latter’s success), they will want to provide insurance for all of their offensive skill positions. They can’t rely on the prospect of Pitta giving them a full season at this point.