Last year, the target was defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. They dealt a sixth round pick to Washington for the rights to Ta'amu.
That decision currently isn't paying off.
This one seems more solid on paper. Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas, reportedly a former gang member, turned his direction around from where it was going a few years ago, and has turned himself into a decent member of society. To grab him, the Steelers shipped their 2014 3rd round pick to Cleveland.
Thomas is a ferocious hitter - something the Steelers don't mind at all. He doesn't have prototypical height, or really even close to it, but Steelers free safeties haven't been playmakers in the past anyway. They are strong run supporters and physical players.
That is what you see with Thomas on film.
They selected Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round, and immediately became the player who will be most talked about in the Steelers draft class. A big arm, he fell off the high level radar after a rough 2012 season in which he capped off what's seen as a decline in progression. The knock on Jones is his mental toughness. He gets rattled and struggles to recover from that, and is said to have an issue throwing when under duress.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was on ESPN speaking about his draft.
"He plays the game in the manner in which we appreciate. We had quality play from Will Allen and Ryan Mundy. Shamarko has an opportunity to provide depth initially and compete on special teams.
When asked about turnovers, Tomlin said about Thomas and first round pick Jarvis Jones, "They are the type of guys who can help us in those efforts, but it's more than just two guys. They've shown the ability to create big plays and turnovers for their teams."
Asked about Jones, Tomlin said, ""He's a seasoned and experienced guy for a college quarterback. He has 16,000 yards, which I think is a Big 10 (sic) record. He's a quality guy, a football junkie, a good young talented sharp guy to put in that room."