The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Which positions would you exclude from a Best Player Available strategy in the first round?
The NFL Draft and the strategies behind building a roster is a complicated and often heated topic of discussion. Sometimes it seems as though the draft is more exciting to some than the actual games that the drafted players are drafted to play.
There are some who believe you should exclusively draft for need, even if you have to trade up or down to hit the right value. There are others who believe you should (at least almost) exclusively draft the best player available to you, or make a trade if there is an outlier you want to reach, or trade back if there are enough evenly-graded options at your spot.
The Steelers are a Best Need Available team more often than not. In the past, that has often aligned well for them with the likes of Cameron Heyward, Maurkice Pouncey, and others. Sometimes it has resulted in Artie Burns and Jarvis Jones.
Pittsburgh worked hard during free agency to try to ensure that they don’t have any glaring needs, but even with the addition of Mark Barron, most still point to inside linebacker as the biggest area of concern. This has caused many to insist that they have to come away from the draft with a top linebacker, the most likely name being circled as Devin Bush.
It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they draft him should they have the opportunity, but failing that, they have enough security that they can feel free to simply add a talented player. Some obvious positional exclusions would be kicker, punter, long snapper, and for now, probably quarterback.
What other positions might the front office disregard when it’s their time to pick in the first round? A defensive end might be a bit of a surprise, though a tweener who would fit in their nickel defense would change that story. A first-round running back I can’t see happening. A tackle or center would also be a surprise to me. Even guard, but less so due to Ramon Foster’s age.