The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is a work in progress, but the defensive unit improved tremendously throughout the course of the 2016 season. A large part of the improvement was the trio of defensive starters who were all rookies. Artie Burns, Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave all blossomed in their rookie seasons, and capped off a tremendous draft class for the black and gold.
With the offseason now upon us, the Steelers are now looking at their team needs as they approach the yearly selection process. Will the team focus primarily on the defensive side of the ball, or will the Steelers look to add a quarterback or receiver in the higher rounds of the draft?
The latest mock draft at WalterFootball.com has the Steelers focusing on the defensive side of the ball yet again. This time, they draft an outside linebacker and cornerback in their first two picks of the draft.
See the selections and the reasoning behind them:
Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA James Harrison is playing out of his mind right now, but the Steelers have to be aware that this won't last much longer. They'll need to find someone to replace Harrison as a starter across from Bud Dupree in the near future.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU This is a great value pick for the Steelers, as Jourdan Lewis is a steal at the end of Round 2. Besides, it's not like they couldn't use some depth at cornerback.
It makes sense for the Steelers to look for an outside linebacker/defensive end/edge rusher in the high rounds of the draft. This particular class is extremely deep at that position, and even picking 30th the team could find a player who could play a big role on the defense in his first year.
However, for the team to take a cornerback in the second round, it would have to be the perfect fit. The Steelers should be looking for a player who is versatile enough to both play the outside and the slot, but also compliment the defense with the ability to play both zone and press-man coverage schemes.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the Steelers choose to spend their first two picks on the defensive side of the football, but don’t rule out a quarterback or game-changing wide receiver sneaking their way up the draft board before all is said and done.