During Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert’s annual pre-draft press conference on Monday afternoon, Tomlin was asked about how the Steelers’ free agency additions might affect their plans for the draft.
“Our goal always is to address all needs and so that we can let the field come to us in the draft and we feel comfortable that we have quality and capable guys at each and every position and that’s what we desire,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube channel. “That way, we can go into the draft and not feel undue pressure in terms of reaching positionally, etc.
“We had a very productive free agency period, we were excited about the guys we were able to acquire. Obviously, just beginning to get to know them as professionals and football players, but in terms of how we acquire talent, free agency and then the draft, we think that free agency has really set us up nicely to have a good draft.”
The Steelers went out and addressed their biggest needs in free agency, bringing in Mitch Trubisky at QB while making major additions across the offensive line. Pittsburgh signed former Vikings G/C Mason Cole and former Bears G James Daniels while also resigning OT Chukwuma Okorafor. Defensively, Pittsburgh brought back some of their own, resigning DT Montravius Adams, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, S Miles Killebrew, and most recently, S Terrell Edmunds. The Steelers also added LB Myles Jack after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and CB Levi Wallace from the Buffalo Bills. In addition, the Steelers added some depth at receiver by signing former New England Patriots WR Gunner Olszewski and claiming WR Miles Boykin off waivers from the divisional rival Baltimore Ravens.
Prior to free agency, it was clear that quarterback and the offensive line were the Steelers’ two biggest needs. However, Pittsburgh shored up the offensive line enough where it would be a mild surprise if they took a lineman in the first round. In addition, Trubisky brings starter experience to the table, which makes the need for a starting quarterback less pertinent. It’s still widely expected Pittsburgh will take a quarterback, and likely early, but Trubisky provides a solid veteran presence. On the defensive side of the ball, Jack is a likely upgrade over Joe Schobert, who was released by the Steelers, and Wallace and Witherspoon helped improve a shaky cornerback room pre-free agency. Bringing back Edmunds also doesn’t make safety a must-have early in the draft, although he did only sign a one-year deal so it wouldn’t be surprising if Pittsburgh did target the position.
With the draft on Thursday, the Steelers have done a great job in making sure they don’t have any glaring weaknesses and, as Tomlin said, don’t have to reach on a particular position. Who do you think the Steelers will take in the first round on Thursday night? Let us know in the comments below.