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Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Steelers go defense-heavy in Rounds 1-3 of NFL Draft

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It is mock draft season, and the ESPN expert has interesting selections for the black-and-gold.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl - Alabama v Oklahoma Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NCAA College Football season is over, and with the NFL offseason going full throttle, attention now turns away from the play on the field, to the characteristics and intangibles off the field.

Yes folks, it is mock draft season!

While mock drafts are nothing more than lofty projections for teams, the analysis of diagnosing team needs can be a valuable one.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have some glaring needs on their football team, and most reside on the defensive side of the football. Below is an early ranking of the Steelers’ top three needs which could, and probably should, be addressed in the upcoming draft:

1. Cornerback
2. Inside Linebacker
3. Wide Receiver

While there certainly are other team needs, including running back and EDGE pass rusher, most would agree the team should have a very defensive oriented draft class while looking at their current roster. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. took a stab at the Steelers picks in Rounds 1-3.

Check out what Kiper said about the selections:

Round 1 (20): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Round 2 (52): Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama
Round 3 (66): Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
Round 3 (83): Will Harris, S, Boston College

Draft Academy

Draft Academy documents the journey of six prospects: Nick Bosa, Marquise Brown, Drew Lock, Tyree Jackson, Jarrett Stidham and Josh Jacobs. Watch on ESPN+

The Steelers have lost some star power this offseason, but they still have the talent to compete for the AFC North title. Where are Pittsburgh’s biggest needs? I look at cornerback, where former first-round pick Artie Burns had a disappointing 2018, and inside linebacker, where it still hasn’t replaced Ryan Shazier. So as the GM here, that was my plan. Baker is my top-ranked corner, a steady and reliable lockdown cover defender. Wilson is a sure tackler can slide into Shazier’s former role.

The Steelers have the No. 66 pick from the Raiders (in the Antonio Brown trade), and they could find a starter at the top of Round 3. Hall was Drew Lock’s deep threat at Mizzou. He averaged 23.5 yards per catch over the past two seasons, which led all FBS players with at least 35 receptions. Harris could compete to start at one of the safety spots.

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It is at this point where Steelers fans can debate the prediction, but also the team needs moving forward. Let us know what you think of the selections, as well as the areas of need, in the comment section below!