What do the free agent signings and pre-draft visits tell you about the Steelers' draft plans?

The Steelers were really active in March, which is a bit of a surprise due to their philosophy of "building a team via the draft" and their lack of cap space. While they only have about $400,000 left (before Woodley's money comes off June 2nd), they are still bringing in free agents. I don't expect all these free agents to be starters. Cam Thomas and Mike Mitchell will likely start. Lance Moore will probably be a WR3. Blount will spell Bell, and perhaps get some extra work on special teams. Moats will likely be in a position battle for starting ILB, which could become even more muddled after the draft. McCain is probably just fighting for a roster spot. If the Steelers sign Darius Heyward-Bey, it would likely be for the 4th or 5th wide receiver spot.

So far, the Steelers have pre-draft visits from LB Ryan Shazier from Ohio State, RB Lache Seastrunk from Baylor, Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief, and TCU CB Jason Verrett.

We all know the team has several holes that need to be addressed. However, the argument is over which needs are the greatest. Will the Steelers address a major, immediate need or will they take the best player available and fill what may be a glaring hole in the future?

Since the Steelers didn't show any interest in the offensive line position during the offseason (aside from re-signing Guy Whimper and Cody Wallace), I think it may be safe to say they are satisfied with the play of the offensive line. There are many Steeler fans who are NOT sold on this line, not that they dictate how the Steelers will draft...but it does raise some questions on whether they are as good as they seem. I don't think they will address this position in the first 3 rounds, but if Matthews would somehow fall to 15, is there any way to pass on him?

I can't imagine the Steelers would take a QB early either.

While Heath is still a great TE, it could be time to replace him. However, with 5 TEs on the roster already, it appears the front office will look at quantity over least for this year.

The Steelers definitely have some needs at WR and RB. There's no way the Steelers take a RB in the first two rounds. I think with Bell and Blount, they have a solid twosome. However, there isn't much depth beyond that. I imagine they will look in rounds 4-6 and hope Seashrunk falls. The Steelers will definitely be drafting a WR, the only question is when? Will Evans fall to 15? Is Benjamin worth the 15th pick or should he be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick? What round is Moncrief a good value? I think this is the wildcard.

The defensive line is a big need as well. Why did they let Woods go for 2.5? Why didn't they sign Carrington? Why is Cam Thomas (a NT) playing DE? I don't think fans are sold on this unit being solid for 2014. While Arnfelt is a camp favorite, can he live up to the hype? I believe they will look to draft a DL somewhere, but I doubt it will be the first round. Hageman and Nix seem to have varying assessments, which tells me the value at 15 is a question mark at best. I think they will look for "value" picks in rounds 2-5.

The linebacker position is one big clustermess right now. Will Jones and Worilds be the formidable duo we have come to expect? Will Harrison re-sign after June 2? What the heck do they do with Williams/Moats/Spence? To make matters even more confusing, they are meeting with Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier. I don't think Shazier is the 15th pick, but I do think he's a great pick for the Steelers in the 2nd (I doubt he would fall that far). I think they aren't sold on the ILB position opposite of Timmons and they will need depth at OLB with Woodley gone.

Finally, we can get to the DBs. With last year's Shamarko pick and the signing of Mike Mitchell, you can cross safety off the "needs" list for this year. However, CB is definitely needed. Cortez Allen has been up and down and Ike is getting old. Gay is nothing but a nickel corner. I see 2 CBs going to the Steelers, with one coming early and the other coming in later rounds. That being said, I think the Steelers have to go with Dennard or Gilbert (I know...not going to happen). The only thing that could change this is if they are both gone before 15. If that happens, maybe they look at Kyle Fuller or maybe Jason Verrett is a guy they covet.

It is clear with these signings and future picks that the Steelers really want to strengthen the weaknesses of their team by any means necessary.

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