I would like to start by complimenting the frequent and informative posts made by our resident draftniks. As someone who resides north of the 49th parallel my knowledge of NCAA football and potential prospects is derived entirely from regurgitated information on the interwebs, this leaves me at somewhat of a disadvantage come draft season. Try as I might to poke around and find quality draft information, I find that most of the mainstream news outlets are simply throwing out the same tired mock drafts over and over without much in the way of true analysis or thought. I was hoping that we could pool our knowledge of quality draft news sources and help lead draft neophytes away from the talking head nonsense.
As for my take on the Steelers draft needs, I don't see the Steelers taking a NT in the first round. I could see taking Ta'amu in the second but the coaching staff has seemed content with Mclendon and (with a restructured contract) a two-down Hampton.
Offensive Tackle is another one that I don't see, with Colon returning, Gilbert playing above the line and the question mark combination of Starks and Scott all having the potential to play winning football. Is it a need, yes. Is it a first round need with the other glaring holes on this team, I say no.
Ben's mobility and pocket awareness is fantastic when it comes to outside rushers, problems arise with interior pressure through 'A' gap blitzes and stunting edge rushers as well as pass rushing tackles. The guards we have are not able to consistently handle pressure up the middle and our run game suffered from a lack of interior push by the line. As we all know, when you are able to consistantly produce by running at the strength of the defense, good things happen. Keeping this in mind, I see guard as our biggest need. Big, mean, nasty, hit you in the mouth and laugh kind of guard. We have seen what Coach Kugler is able to do with cast off scrubs (Foster, Adams, Legursky) and what he can do with talent (Pouncy), I believe that with one more key piece we will finally be able to turn our snakebitten, much maligned offensive line into one that Lombardi himself would smile to look at.
Our other glaring weakness in my eyes is inside backer. Much has been made of the decline of Farrior and Foote and the need for a play-calling thumper in middle and I agree with most of it. No, I don't believe that Farrior is done, he still has huge value against the run and for recognition and adjustment prior to the play. His lack of speed is however a huge liability in this increasingly pass based league and with speedy pass catching tight ends being in vogue. Drafting someone like Burfict or Hightower would help alleviate this problem.
Anyways, that's my two cents, Comments are encouraged and criticism is welcome, hate and tolling are not.