The Pittsburgh Steelers have had the luxury of having four selections to make over the course of the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, within the top 105 spots. Utilizing those resources, they have been able to bolster four key positions, split evenly on both sides of the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball, they landed a top prospect with enormous upside in pass-rusher T.J. Watt in the first round, and they were able to improve the secondary by taking Cameron Sutton in the third round, a cornerback who likely will be able to function both inside and outside who improves their ability to play man, of particular concern from the slot position.
In contrast to last season, Pittsburgh also injected some significant resources into the offensive side of the ball, using a second-round pick to add JuJu Schuster-Smith, and ending the third round in the compensatory portion by adding Pittsburgh running back James Conner, whom they view as a supplemental performer to his friend, Le’Veon Bell.
Those are some pretty significant and priority positions of value that they were able to address during the first two days of the draft—though the actual ‘draft value’ of the picks themselves is being hotly debated as we speak. But now we turn to Day Three, where they have four more picks to make, one in each round.
Some positions of note that the Steelers were unable to address over the course of the first two days of the draft are inside linebacker and tight end, which are the two that I am especially looking toward, personally. It may be too late to add a notable safety, but coming back to double up on a pass rusher or a cornerback is certainly very possible. A defensive tackle should also be considered in play, especially in the second round.
With that in mind, here are some things that I would be looking toward heading into the final day of the draft. In particular, some players that would be particularly appealing to me in the fourth round for the Steelers would include tight end George Kittle, cornerback Corn Elder, or outside linebacker Carl Lawson, who remains available despite being projected to go on Day Two.
Taking a broader view beyond slot-specific targets, other tight end targets could include Bucky Hodges, Jordan Leggett, Jeremy Sprinkle, or the injured Jake Butt. Kittle is my favorite of the group, however, and I would feel much better about this draft with him included.
Aside from Elder, Howard Wilson or the slot cornerback Damontae Kazee could have the Steelers considering a double dip in that talent pool. Jaylen Myrick’s blazing speed has also been on their radar as a pre-draft visitor.
Inside linebackers such as Blair Brown, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Elijah Lee could come into play relatively soon, while the likes of Carroll Phillips and Samson Ebukan, both of whom, will be considered to add to the edge-rusher stock.
Unfortunately, we have to consider the very real possibility that the Steelers could be tempted to swipe up Nathan Peterman, Brad Kaaya, or Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round—even trading up for them—from the quarterback position. The name Jerod Evans has passed the lips of more than a few relevant people as well.
The Steelers didn’t show great interest in late-round prospects among the defensive line or at safety, but two that they did visit with are defensive tackle Treyvon Hester and Montae Nicholson, so look for them in the late rounds or in undrafted free agency.