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Ranking the Steelers team needs heading into the 2017 NFL Draft

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A lot has changed with free agency, and it is time to update the Steelers’ team needs heading into the 2017 NFL Draft.

When it comes to team needs, a lot can change throughout the offseason. Free agency can single-handedly alter a team’s plans as they head into the NFL Draft. Although the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t big players in free agency, which they never are, their team needs certainly have shifted as the draft quickly approaches.

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert recently told media their activity in free agency won’t impact their approach to the draft, and this is a logical approach, but at the same time when the team adds veteran talent, it makes some positions on the team much more important, and vital, to address in the upcoming selection process.

With that said, it is time to update the team’s needs heading into the draft, and it should be noted these rankings could certainly change as the draft approaches and the team hosts their 30 official pre-draft visits.

Now for the rankings:

1. OLB

Although it seems James Harrison can carry the load at the age of 39, drafting a solid pass rusher to help spell him would only make the defense that much better. To me, this is priority No. 1, but it has to be the right prospect.

2. CB

Speaking of right prospect, there is a chance the Steelers flip flop these two positions, depending on who is available. However, the team should target a physical cornerback capable of playing press man-to-man coverage, something Mike Tomlin spoke about at the NFL owners meeting.

3. Defensive Line

Life without Cam Heyward was no fun at all. Yeah, eventually the team was able to recover, but building more depth should be a goal for the team during the draft. Stephon Tuitt, Heyward and Javon Hargrave are a nice 1-2-3 punch, but adding young depth will be key.

4. RB

Let’s take a quick look at the depth chart: Le’Veon Bell, Knile Davis, Fitzgerald Toussaint and a bunch of other guys who likely won’t make the 53-man roster. Let’s be honest, Davis is a kick returner who can play some running back. The team needs to add a running back who can be the No. 2 if Bell is injured, or needs a break.

5. WR

The reinstatement of Martavis Bryant certainly throws a wrench into the plans for this specific position in the draft. If he is reinstated, the team doesn’t have as big of a need for a wide receiver early in the draft. If the team doesn’t think he will be back, or his reinstatement is denied, then this position would move up the rankings. I think he will be back...

6. ILB

You don’t just lose a player like Lawrence Timmons and not feel the effects afterwards. Vince Williams is the guy they will trust alongside Ryan Shazier, but they should also look for another young linebacker who can help be the future alongside No. 50.

7. QB

This quarterback class just doesn’t impress me very much. The Steelers clearly have a need at the position, but you don’t want to draft a player just to draft a player. With Ben Roethlisberger playing in 2017, you are ensuring yourself another year with No. 7 under center, but the class of quarterbacks in 2018 has a much better look to it. If the team takes a quarterback this year, he will likely be a project for a couple years, or until Roethlisberger retires.

There you have it. Feel free to give your list of draft needs in the comment section below!

I talk about this, and more, in the above podcast. Give it a listen!

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