NFL Analyst Sees Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith As ‘Excellent Fit’ For The Steelers

After failing to sign Bud Dupree in free agency and releasing Jamir Jones this week the Pittsburgh Steelers depth at EDGE is very thin. With only a couple weeks until the NFL Draft, it seems more and more likely the Steelers will address the EDGE position come draft time.

However, the question is when will they address it. Consensus is Day Two, but there have been some mock drafts that the Steelers will go with an EDGE rusher on Day One at pick 17. One person who paired an EDGE with the Steelers at pick 17 was’s Charles Davis when he paired Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith with Pittsburgh, which our own Josh Carney wrote about a couple of days ago.

Yesterday,’s Sherree Burruss echoed Davis, and explained why she thinks that Smith would be such a great fit in Pittsburgh.

Well Nolan Smith would be an excellent fit for the Steelers,” said Burruss. “All of the Steelers brass was there, I’m talking head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Omar Khan, even defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. He was so nimble is what the scouts were telling me, you really saw his agility…He was a team captain when he was hurt with a torn pec muscle, Kirby Smart challenged him to be a coach off the field and that totally fits the Steelers type; I was told they like to bring in guys that are team captains. So what he does on and off the field could be a perfect fit there in the Steel City.”

An athletic EDGE who finished his collegiate career with 11.5 sacks and 113 tackles, Smith would be great depth behind starting EDGE rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Last season showed how ineffective the Steelers’ backups were when Watt went down and the team struggled to sustain a consistent pass rush.

However, the issue with that is can you really justify drafting depth in Round One? Both Watt and Highsmith have shown to be elite/extremely good pass rushers and Highsmith will likely be offered an extension this offseason.

At 17 you want a starter who can either slot in immediately or at the very least be a projected long-term starter. While Smith has potential to be very good, Watt and Highsmith are not that old so I’m not sure Smith would be the smart choice there.

In addition, the Steelers have some very big needs at cornerback and offensive tackle, so drafting an EDGE rusher who probably won’t even see half the snaps for at least two seasons (and possibly more) in the first round just seems like a mistake.

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