Steelers News

Steelers In A ‘Dead Heat’ Between OT, CB In 1st Round, Fittipaldo Believes, Says Depth Favors Taking OT

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a little more capital at the top of the draft than usual, earning the 32nd-overall pick from the Chicago Bears by virtue of their dealing wide receiver Chase Claypool last season. They also hold the 17th pick in the first round.

Exactly how they will use that premium pick, as always, is unknown. There tend to be two schools of thought that dominate the discussion—either take a cornerback or take an offensive tackle. Those seem to be largely the most ideal positions that their offseason moves have set themselves up for. So which way might they lean, all else being equal? It’s hard to say—even for those on the beat. Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example, recently painted the odds as virtually dead even.

I can’t make a call on that”, he admitted during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller. “If you really, really wanted me to take an educated guess I would say offensive tackle at 17, but that would only be because they have a very deep cornerback class that they can go ahead and get a starter at 32, or maybe even 49. But I think it’s a dead heat right now between those two spots”.

While Fittipaldo readily admits that he has no clear picture as to which direction the Steelers are leading, his logic is sound. There are more cornerback prospects in the second and third rounds who are more likely to develop into capable, full-time starters than there are offensive tackles.

It would seem, under ideal circumstances, more advantageous to draft a tackle in the first round and then come back for a cornerback in the second. Then again, how often does the draft ever break in any way that resembles the ideal?

In terms of team need, I’m not sure there is a clear pressing need greater than the other. Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor are both serviceable-at-best, young starters who can easily be upgraded at the top of the draft at the tackle position.

Likewise, cornerback Patrick Peterson is talented but losing a step and nearing the end of his career, while we are only assuming that Levi Wallace will be the other starting cornerback. And will Arthur Maulet see the bulk of the snaps in the slot?

One would hope that the Steelers can manage to land a starter at both positions later this month regardless of which order they are brought in, and realistically, they do have a good chance of doing that. That’s the good news.

With the draft getting closer and closer and opinions continuing to crystalize, which position do you believe would be the ideal to address first, between tackle and cornerback? Specifically, which do you feel more comfortable waiting on with the confidence of being able to select a high-quality player later on?

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