The Pittsburgh Steelers, like most teams, come into this offseason process with a shopping list of positions that hope to address. In this particular cycle, they are expected to be looking at the offensive and defensive lines, at cornerback—really, the entire defense. And they’ll be adding another wide receiver at some point as well, one imagines.
That’s all well and good for them, according to draft expert Daniel Jeremiah, at least with respect to what’s going to be available. “I think their needs marry up very well with the draft”, he said of the Steelers, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The NFL Scouting Combine is only beginning today, which means that we are very early in the scouting process outside of tape work (although for most outside analysts, they’re actually very early in their tape study as well).
We still have an entire Pro Day cycle to get through, followed by in-person visits and dinner and all of those fun things, not to mention the virtual meetings that became the norm outside of the pandemic. In other words, there’s still a lot for us to learn about this class. But there’s a lot that we already know as well.
And we know, as far as we can know, that this figures to be a strong class at certain key positions the Steelers might be looking at, such as cornerback, and the offensive and defensive trenches. They shouldn’t have much of a hard time landing a potentially excellent player at a position of need at 17.
And even though their front office has changed, Jeremiah doesn’t anticipate any hiccups in how Pittsburgh does things, very minimal on-the-job training, with long-time executive Omar Khan stepping into Kevin Colbert’s general manager seat. Khan knows very well what the team looks for.
“I don’t think it’s something where you have a new GM coming in and trying to survey the landscape and figure out, you know, ‘What do we need?’”, Jeremiah said. “He knows exactly what they need, and I think they have the people there to not only pick the right people, but I think they have the coaching staff to get it out of them”.
The latter part may be a bit more up for debate among fans who see fit to call into question the Steelers’ ability to develop talent. You can find evidence of such failures in every organization, though, and it’s difficult to tell when that’s a developmental or evaluative miss, if indeed it’s either.
This particular draft is important for the Steelers in their success hitting early, because they have three selections in the top 50 picks. Even though it’s technically the first pick of the second round this year, they hold the Chicago Bears’ 32nd-overall pick in addition to their own 17th-overall pick in the first round and the 49th pick in the second. They would love to hit on three starters with those picks, and rookies have been starting for them in recent years, so it’s far from unreasonable.