After making a surprise pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Steelers took an obvious one in the second, and shocked their fan base in the third.
The additions of linebacker Ryan Shazier, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and running back Dri Archer fill in a few spots of need in terms of development, or create situation-based advantages.
Round 1 - 15th overall pick: ILB Ryan Shazier
Current Depth Chart - Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin
Value - Shazier is a freakishly fast Run-and-Hit kind of linebacker, the one Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was hoping to get when he drafted Spence in 2012. Provided Spence is back to his pre-injury level of speed, the possibilities of what they can do in terms of coverage subpackages is enough to keep defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in the lab all summer. Shazier can be penciled in as a starter now, but he'll still have to prove himself against the run - an area the Steelers still value as the greatest area of emphasis on defense.
Steelers draft coverage
Round 2 - 46th overall pick: DE Stephon Tuitt
Current Depth Chart - Cameron Heyward, Cam Thomas, Nick Williams, Brian Arnfelt
Value - There's a huge level of drop-off from Heyward and Thomas to Williams, Arnfelt and now, Tuitt, so as far as competing for playing time, Tuitt is probably a bit ahead of the usual curve for players the Steelers draft at defensive end. He can also help in subpackages, similarly to how Shazier can be used. His position flexibility can be considered valuable in those areas. Moving McLendon and Heyward around to exploit the depth of their physical characteristics will come in handy.
Steelers draft coverage
Round 3 - 97th overall pick: RB Dri Archer
Current Depth Chart - Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount
Value - It's tough to see how Archer could fill in as anything but a package player and return man. His biggest attributes are his speed and agility and that's certainly not a bad combination to have. But the real risk is the team will give a game-day helmet to a player who might get two touches a game, and, short of keeping five running backs (including fullback Will Johnson) on the roster, he can't be expected to carry the ball between the tackles. As the Steelers saw with Chris Rainey, it's not exactly difficult to see the 5-foot-8, 175-pound running back entering the game to catch the ball. It can be keyed on very simply without drawing strength away from any other area.