The Pittsburgh Steelers have several needs heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. While some fans will convince other the needs are strictly on the defensive side of the football, there are needs on the offensive side of the ball as well. The most glaring need on the offense would be along the offensive line. Pittsburgh is extremely thin in regards to depth at both the guard and tackle positions. Along with the offensive line, running back, wide receiver and backup quarterback are other positions which could be targeted by the Steelers at some point in the selection process.
The key words in the previous sentence are "at some point". In my opinion, there is no reason for the Steelers to even consider an offensive player until the 4th round at the earliest. You can imagine my amazement when I found a recent 4-round mock draft by NFL.com which had the Steelers taking two offensive players in the first 4 rounds of the draft.
Take a look at who they have slotted to go to Pittsburgh:
Round 1 - No. 25: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson - The Steelers haven't picked a cornerback in the first round of the draft since 1997. But Alexander's talent, and the team's need at the position, might force its hand.
Round 2 - No. 58: Pittsburgh Steelers: Su'a Cravens, S, USC
Round 3 - 89. Pittsburgh Steelers: Vadal Alexander, OG/OT, LSU
Round 4 - 123. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hunter Sharp, WR, Utah State
To be quite honest, I wasn't that upset with the mock draft having Pittsburgh take the versatile Vadal Alexander from LSU in the third round. He fits the bill for the Steelers, and those who follow the team closely know how much Mike Tomlin loves versatility on his roster.
However, the team going wide receiver in the 4th round was quite the surprise. The team is now forced to prepare for the chance Martavis Bryant isn't a member of the team for much longer, and addressing this in the draft makes sense, but for the team to not draft a defensive linemen in the first four rounds certainly was head-scratching. This when the crop of defensive linemen have been lauded as the deepest in recent memory.
As for the defensive selections, Alexander certainly has the tangibles coaches look for in a cornerback prospect. Size, speed, athleticism and the experience to help him get into the rotation early in his NFL career. All things the Steelers need, and fans shouldn't be upset if this pick actually comes to fruition.
The second round pick of Su'a Cravens from USC I really like. Most would disagree, but I love his versatility and ability to play a inside linebacker/safety position. He is the type of player who can transform a defense, especially a defense like the Steelers with so many sub packages. Think about a defense with Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier, Lawrence Timmons, Cravens, Alexander, Mike Mitchell, William Gay and Senquez Golson. I'll take that as the team's base defense.
All in all, this mock draft wasn't bad, but I would rather see the team address the defensive line before going after a wide receiver prospect in the 4th round, if not earlier.