When most fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers talk about team needs approaching the 2016 NFL Draft, most would probably have cornerback and safety at the top of their lists. However, one position of need would be none other than the defensive line.
In 2015, the Steelers had to rely on Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward for a ridiculous amount of snaps throughout the season, and the main reason was due to a lack of depth. The team wasn't confident in L.T. Walton and Cam Thomas to come into the rotation on a regular basis.
To put a cherry on top of the Steelers' defensive line needs is the fact Steve McLendon is about to hit free agency, leaving only Daniel McCullers to reside over the nose tackle position. The Steelers will be looking for more athletic and versatile linemen in the upcoming draft who will fit into their sub packages and allow them to spell Tuitt and Heyward when the team deploys only two down linemen.
For all these reasons, the latest mock draft has the Steelers targeting Vernon Butler, an athletic nose tackle from Louisiana Tech, with the 25th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
See what our friends at WalterFootball had to say about the seleciton:
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Vernon Butler, NT, Louisiana Tech
Casey Hampton isn't walking through the tunnel anytime soon, which hurts for the Steelers because they were weak at nose tackle this past season. Perhaps they'll take one at the end of the first round this spring to bolster the interior of their defensive line.
Butler would be a good fit for the Steelers, but the question remains whether he will be on the board when it is time for the Steelers to make their selection. Butler was incredibly impressive in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama as he dominated some of the best offensive linemen entering the draft and made a home in the opposition's backfield. Butler showed the impressive ability to rush the passer, as well as take up running lanes to slow down the opposition's rushing attack. On top of that, Butler has the versatility to play multiple positions along the defensive line and isn't the traditional nose tackle entering the draft.
Butler is a player who should be on the Steelers' radar, and if he were to fall to them with the 25th pick, he would be a tremendous improvement in an area of the defense which needs quality depth.