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Lack Of Skill Position Players Among Pre-Draft Visits Should Change Before Draft

If you take a gander at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ list of pre-draft visits that have already been verified in one way or another, which is conveniently compiled for you right here, one thing is immediately obvious, and that there is a pronounced focus on defensive backs, both cornerbacks and safeties, although the safety position is the dominant group. The defensive linemen represented are filling in nicely as well.

Equally notable, however, due to its absence, is the stark lack of any sort of meaningful representation by offensive skill position players, outside of speculation of a couple of local prospects that do not count toward the Steelers’ allotted 30 pre-draft visits. The only two offensive players so far represented or rumored to be visiting in the near future are a pair of offensive linemen.

With roughly 20 pre-draft visits already accounted for—or two-thirds of their allotment—it would seem obvious that they are not exactly in the market for a heavy investment in any of the skill positions. Not that that should be surprising, as, at least for the 2016 season anyway, those positions are among the most complete on the roster.

If you take a look back at the Steelers’ 2015 list of pre-draft visitors—also handily compiled for your reading ease right here—you will see that there was a pretty strong correlation between the sort of players that they brought in and the relative value that the position received in their draft picks.

After looking at more than a half-dozen outside linebackers, they ended up with one in the first round. Nearly double-digit cornerback visits yielded a pair of them drafted in the first four rounds. Heavy representation from wide receivers and tight ends turned into one each in the third and fifth rounds, respectively. They also added a couple of those wide receivers and tight ends as undrafted free agents.

It will be interesting to see how the final third of the team’s allotted pre-draft visits fills up in terms of the positions represented. One might think that a couple of wide receivers or running backs might find themselves heading toward the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex before long.

Although the Steelers have a wealth of wide receiver talent, one has to wonder what that will look like in 2017. For starters, the team will have to get a long-term contract done with Antonio Brown during that offseason, which would make re-signing Markus Wheaton that much more difficult, if even feasible. And it goes without saying that Martavis Bryant’s future is very much in jeopardy.

At the running back position, there are only two meaningful names, with Le’Veon Bell, of course, at the top (and entering the final season of his rookie contract), and then DeAngelo Williams, who will be on the second of a two-year deal during his age-33 season, and you have to believe there is not much tread on the tires beyond that point.

So while there may be an utter dearth of representation from skill position players thus far in the Steelers’ pre-draft visit plans, don’t be surprised if we see a couple of names injected late into the process, with perhaps one or two from those positions being drafted on day three.

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