Good news, folks. The 2018 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and the most important impact that will have is watching the draft projection coverage die. Yes, we relay that information and even generate it ourselves—it’s simply the only thing you can do between free agency and the draft—but there comes a time when you just want to get the show on the road.
We’re still not quite there yet, though, and so we still find outlets churning out draft needs. For Pro Football Focus, they identify the Pittsburgh Steelers’ three biggest needs as all being on the defensive side of the ball. The listing of (inside) linebacker and safety are of no surprise, as they have been the primary topic of conversation since…December.
The listing of edge might be a little more surprising, but I think most here do see that as a need as well. “The Steelers still have a need for pass-rushers”, the article reads, “as Bud Dupree has disappointed”, though it notes that T.J. Watt “got off to a solid start”.
We have shone some light on the need on the edge this year, with Alex Kozora even writing an article about some of the prospects that he believes would fit there. As we get closer and closer to the draft, it might be easier to buy that picking up Dupree’s fifth-year option does depend on what we see happen later this week.
Still, the biggest hole is at inside linebacker with the loss of Ryan Shazier. “A chase-and-run linebacker should be an early target”, the article reads, and in the accompanying image with the Steelers’ entry in the article is highlighted Tremaine Edmunds, whom they rank as third at his position in the class behind Roquan Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.
While the piece of complimentary of the Steelers’ addition of Morgan Burnett at the safety position, the performance of Sean Davis is taken to task. He “has failed to make the desired impact after being drafted in the second round in 2016”, it reads. For some, that would be putting it mildly, though I am not so harsh on him, at least when it comes to what I believe he is capable of doing in 2018.
During their expansive seven-round mock draft, the site actually had the team drafting Josh Allen in the first round, however, and the article does talk about the quarterback position. Every team’s entry on the list has a specially designated question answering whether or not the position is a need, separate from the rest. They “should be dabbling in the quarterback market”.
Fear not, ye weary. Soon enough we will actually be talking about draft picks rather than draft prospects. We are now in Draft Week. Start checking the days off your calendars.