2017 Offseason Questions: First-Round Preference – DB Or OLB?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Would your preference be to take a defensive back first and then a pass rusher, or vice versa?

The Steelers are heading into the 2017 NFL Draft in just a few days, and they do so with at least on the outside what appears to be some pretty defined primary needs, given how many mock drafts have given them a pass rusher or a defensive back in the first round.

Most, in fact, seem to expect them to address both of those positions in the first two rounds, and that this would be a reasonable draft to use that approach for, because at least on the surface it aligns with where the quality of depth in the draft class appears to be.

If they do end up grabbing a defensive back and a pass rusher in the first two rounds, then, which would you prefer? It goes without saying that in the real world, such a question depends entirely on the players who remain on the board, but for the purposes of this exercise, we are assuming that everybody who has a reasonable shot or better of being there in either round is going to be available.

The Steelers have taken a pass rusher in the first round in two of the previous four drafts, but one of those has already fizzled out, while the other is still trying to continue to develop. In the past two drafts, they have also used a first- and a second-round pick on cornerbacks, and another second-round pick at safety. The two rookies entered the starting lineup last year, while the 2015 second-round pick has been afflicted with injuries and has yet to even play in the preseason.

All things being equal, I personally don’t know that I have a preference. I think the depth of the secondary is stronger, and you are more likely to get a better prospect there than at outside linebacker in the second round, so that may be the determining factor for me without being on the clock and having the previous picks already in.

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