The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers’ top pick will be a wide receiver.
Explanation: It seems often enough that we’re talking about the latest draft class as being one of the greatest at the wide receiver position we’ve ever seen, but this one is certainly in the running in terms of prospects. The Steelers need a wide receiver.
Without a first-round pick, and no other picks in the top 100, it’s imperative that the Steelers get it right with their second-rounder, and the wide receiver position offers arguably the cleanest evaluations from this year’s draft, both because of the prospects and of the nature of the position.
While the group is deep this year, taking a wide receiver here is the surest way for the Steelers of getting a player who will contribute right away, and the reality is that this offense needs another playmaker. You can get quality in the later rounds, but the best wide receivers still get taken in the earlier rounds.
There may be other needs, like the offensive and defensive lines, but these are arguably either of lesser immediate significance or are at less of a premium, so don’t have to be taken as high.
The Ravens’ general manager recently said that this draft is so deep at wide receiver that you can draft a starter in the fifth round. The Steelers don’t even need a starter at wide receiver. They already have their top three guys, and they may even have some interesting players in the wings. Yes, they’ll take one, but it doesn’t have to be with their first pick.
A darkhorse possibility for me is outside linebacker. While it’s not a need for this year, it could be next year, and this has become a position that almost has to be taken early in order to get the desired results.
One thing to consider is the possibility of a trade-down scenario. I think if the Steelers trade back to get more picks, it increases the likelihood of their passing over wide receiver with their first pick, due to the depth available. And given that they only have six picks, with just one in the top 100, I would consider it a strong possibility they do trade back.