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3 defensive prospects the Steelers should be targeting in the 2018 NFL Draft

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ESPN experts list three defensive prospects the Steelers should be targeting in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no questioning whether the Pittsburgh Steelers should be looking add talent on the defense in the 2018 NFL Draft. The issue isn’t the needs, but ranking of said needs. For instance, the need at safety and inside linebacker tops almost every list, but at what point do you put positional need over the fact some players are just too good to pass on.

Kevin Colbert spoke about this at the team’s yearly pre-draft press conference:

“When you pass up a highly rated player to take a player lower, significantly lower, you will end up regretting it. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve been a part of it in the past. We are all guilty of focusing on one year.”

What Colbert is referring to with his ‘one year’ comment is the inability to see beyond a team need for just one season. For instance, if the Steelers are in desperate need of a pass rusher, pulling the trigger on a pass rusher who shouldn’t be drafted in the first round will only lead to disappointment. Rather, focusing on the best players available and trusting the team and coaches can adjust accordingly is the best way to approach the draft.

So, who should the Steelers be targeting? ESPN Insiders lists three prospects for each day of the draft process, and it should come as no shock to anyone these three prospects are all defenders.

Take a look at who they would be targeting:

Day 1: Stanford S Justin Reid

Day 2: Texas LB Malik Jefferson

Day 3: Tulane DE/OLB Ade Aruna

Pittsburgh should look for an upgrade over Sean Davis and a safety to complement free-agent signing Morgan Burnett. Reid grades out as a plug-and-play starter at free safety in the NFL. He’s a ball hawk with excellent speed and athleticism. Jefferson is arguably a better fit on the outside but he’s a rangy linebacker with enough size to play inside in the Steelers’ scheme. OLB Bud Dupree is in the final year of his rookie contract and the Steelers need to add depth and competition. Aruna’s production is a little underwhelming but he flashes on tape and he tested well.

The needs on defense very well could be filled with the aforementioned prospects, but the fact remains fans should prepare themselves for an offensive player, or more, to be drafted with the Steelers’ 7 picks. While defense may dominate, offensive needs still exist. Wide receiver, offensive line, tight end and even running back all remain as areas the Steelers could be looking to bolster throughout the three day process in Dallas, TX.

Let us know what you think of these prospects, and positional needs, in the comment section, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the best NFL Draft coverage starting Thursday!