The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the final day of the 2019 NFL Draft—which is set to commence—having addressed what they evidently believe to be the three weakest areas of their roster, trading up in the first round to add inside linebacker Devin Bush before going wide receiver and cornerback in round three with Diontae Johnson and Justin Layne.
These also happen to be the three areas that they addressed in free agency with Mark Barron, Donte Moncrief, and Steven Nelson. But there are several positions of relative need—or at least ‘want’—the Steelers have yet to address in any meaningful way this offseason that have been left up to the third day of the draft to handle.
The most concerning, to me, is the lack of depth at the outside linebacker position, an area of the roster in which we could see Bud Dupree leave in free agency in 2020, and top reserve Anthony Chickillo could also well see only the first of his two-year contract with his high year-two cap hit. T.J. Watt is pretty much proven already, but we have nothing of note to go on with Olasunkanmi Adeniyi at this point in time.
I certainly would have liked to have had a shot at Chase Winovich, but it was only natural for the New England Patriots to take him a few slots ahead of the Steelers’ second third-round pick. Ben Banogou and Jachai Polite were two more names that went in between that gap that existed from the Steelers’ first pick of Day Two and their second.
Tight end is another position group with a pretty significant hole after losing Jesse James in free agency. For reasons that remain unclear, they also released Bucky Hodges yesterday, who spent 2018 on the practice squad. Foster Moreau and Isaac Nauta may be the likeliest names on the board remaining after seeing everybody from Irv Smith to Josh Oliver and Drew Sample come off the board yesterday.
Less critical is a number three running back, but there are still some names out there such as Bryce Love and Trayveon Williams. David Montgomery, one of the team’s pre-draft visitors, was yet another player who went off the board between their two picks in the third round.
Then there is the safety position, where a starter could be needed in 2020 if they do not retain Sean Davis as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. In the meantime, they would like to add a dime player, and guys like Nasir Adderley and Taylor Rapp went off the board late in the second. The safety position may offer the best value remaining, though, with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Amani Hooker, among others.
And don’t forget the fact that they still have to add another defensive lineman, as they’ve only retained five from last season. The kicker and punter positions could be considered fair game from the sixth round on, during which period they have four selections heading into the day.