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What do the Steelers do now in the Draft? My analysis on the Steelers' 2013 NFL Draft Needs after Free Agency

It has been a difficult Free Agency period for Steeler fans. Mike Wallace signs with the Dolphins, Rashard Mendenhall signs with the Cardinals, and Keenan Lewis signs with the Saints. Add that to the cuts of James Harrison and Willie Colon, and you got a whole bunch of holes to fill of you are the Steelers. Even I (who recently posted a rant about being relaxed about football) am a little downcast because I still love the Steelers to my core. Lets look at the options we have at each position.

Quarterback

The Steelers are set at Quarterback right now with Big Ben starting. There is no need to draft a Quarterback early. Even our backup spot may be set now thanks to the recent signing of Pittsburgh native and former Bengals backup QB Bruce Gradkowski. I think they still might draft a QB in the later rounds though, just to give a little depth to go with Charlie Batch (if they indeed resign him).

Projected Round based on need - 6th-UDFA

Running Back

I don't know about the rest of you, but personally I am not all that comfortable with Dwyer, Redman, or *gulp* Beanie Wells being our starting RB in 2013. Those 3 RBs are essentially the same RB in different packages. They are all power backs (with Dwyer being the most athletic) who are best served being short down specialists or change-of-pace backs. The Steelers should invest in a RB this Draft. I wouldn't spend higher than a 2nd unless Gio Bernard or Eddie Lacy fall to us in the 2nd Round, which isn't likely.

Projected Round based on need - 3rd-5th

Wide Receiver

Now this is where I am starting to panic a little bit. We seem to be extremely thin at WR right now. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are the only reliable WRs on the team at the moment. Jerricho Cotchery is good in small doses, but we don't know what he can do with extended playing time at this point in his career, while Plaxico Burress was scarcely used last year. David Gilreath is the only other young WR and he has been a career practice squad scrub. Now, I would only take a WR in the 1st Round if other needs aren't there (such as OL and Pass Rush). Patterson is the stud of this crop, but he could be gone in the Top 10-15. Keenan Allen is the next best up on my list and I wouldn't be sad if he was taken at 17 (again, as long as he is BPA).

Projected Round based on need - 1st-3rd

Tight End

Heath Miller's ACL injury really puts a lot of questions at this position. Behind him, all we have is Davis Paulson (aka Mini Heath) and David Johnson, who is coming off an ACL tear last year, thanks to The Assassin (aka Marcus Gilbert). The Steelers are reportedly in contract talks with Kellen Davis, which could bolster our depth, but I still think the Steelers could Draft a better receiving TE to help out early with Miller's injury.

Projected Round based on need - 4th-6th

Offensive Tackle

At Tackle, we are set (at least for now). Gilbert should be given the chance at LT while Adams is our best option at RT. I have no idea what has gotten into the heads of some of the people on here who seem to think we should go after Lane Johnson, but I am telling you right now, that the Steelers aren't going to Draft a Tackle in the early rounds. Admittedly though, we are a little weak for depth, so it wouldn't surprise me if they get one on Day 3 to bolster our depth.

Projected Round based on need - 5th-UDFA

Offensive Guard

The loss of Willie Colon hurts, even though it was a necessary move. I am also not sure if the Steelers are completely comfortable with Foster starting based on his contract. Kelvin Beachum also is a little green right now and would be better served to be a Trai Essex-type backup who can play every position on the line. We should Draft our starting Guard this year. Now, I am not hoping for Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper to be there for us in the 1st, so realistically speaking, we should only go for one in the 2nd Round.

Projected Round based on need - 1st-3rd

Center

We are more than set at Center with Maurkice Pouncey. I also think Legs is our best bet as backup right now. Beachum could also fill that spot if necessary. There is absolutely no need to Draft a Center at any point in the Draft as long as we keep Legs.

Projected Round based on need - UDFA

Defensive End

Brett Keisel is old and could be a Salary Cap casualty next offseason, Ziggy Hood is an Unrestricted Free Agent after next season, and Cam Heyward has also had very little playing experience. There is a lot of uncertainty here that has flown under the radar a bit in the eyes of Steeler fans, but I wouldn't be surprised if they go here early on. Maybe not in the 1st Round, but the 2nd or 3rd Round wouldn't be a surprise.

Projected Round based on need - 2nd-4th

Nose Tackle

I think the Steelers are going to give Steve McClendon a shot as the starter in 2013. He has certainly earned it with his play last year. As for depth, they have Alameda Ta'amu (though we don't know for how long) and Loni Fangupo. They could even sign Hampton for the veteran minimum if need be, so I don't think they will go NT in the first 2 Rounds.

Projected Round based on need - 3rd-5th

Pass Rush

Woodley is our starter on the Weak Side, but Harrison's departure leaves Jason Worilds, Chris Carter, and Adrian Robinson as our only options on the Strong Side. Neither Worilds nor Carter have shown that that they are good enough against the run so that rules them out (at least in my book) as starters. Robinson is also a very raw player at this point in his career. I think this is a priority that the Steelers should be willing to trade up for in the 1st Round if they are able to. This is just too important of a position for our Defense to rely on marginal starters. We need someone to come in and contribute in a big way.

Projected Round based on need - 1st

Inside Linebacker

Lawrence Timmons is on the verge of being a superstar in this league. He is probably our best player on Defense at the moment (considering Troy's age and injury issues, as well as Woodley's ineffectiveness last season). We also were able to resign Larry Foote to a deal, so that holds our starters in check for at least next season. At depth however, we are pretty thin. Sean Spence is coming of a bad knee injury and reports out of Pittsburgh say his rehab is slow. We also let Stevenson Sylvester go. I think the Steelers should seriously look into finding our future Buck Linebacker to replace Foote when the need arises.

Projected Round based on need - 2nd-4th

Cornerback

The loss of Keenan Lewis hurts more than anything, but it looks like the Steelers are prepared to rely on Cortez Allen to man the spot opposite Ike Taylor after the strong season he put together last year. They also just signed William Gay to be our nickle CB, so it doesn't seem like they are going to take someone in the 1st Round. They might go for depth later on, but it isn't worth investing a 1st or 2nd Round pick over, even if Xavier Rhodes falls past Miami, Tampa, Carolina to us.

Projected Round based on need - 3rd

Safety

It is clear to everyone in Steeler Nation that Troy Polamalu's days in the NFL are numbered. He is also the type of player who is smart and humble enough to retire early even if he could push himself to play for a few years if he wanted to. Ryan Clark's body also will not hold out much longer after all of the hard hits he has doled out to players. They are both on the wrong side of 30 and need replacing soon. The Steelers have met privately with Kenny Vaccaro, the top Safety as well, so that makes you think that bringing in a young safety is a priority for them. This is a ver deep Draft for Safeties, so they don't necessarily need to grab one early.

Projected Round based on need - 1st-4th

Special Teams

Shaun Suisham improved dramatically last year and proved himself to be a consistent kicker for us so I think he has the starting spot locked up next year. He could be a Cap casualty soon, but there is no need to Draft a kicker. Drew Butler has also shown flashes as a Punter. He has all the leg strength in the world, but he needs to get more consistent in placing the ball. He should have another chance to start. As always, they will bring in some competition, but I don't think they will Draft someone like Dustin Hopkins or Brad Wing.

Projected Round based on need - UDFA

**Writer's note** This post comes out to a total of 1578 words.

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