The 2013 NFL Draft is only a month away and with it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking ahead to the 8 picks they will have to work with in an attempt to improve their team. Free agency hasn’t been very fruitful with far more players leaving than signing. With that, we can glean a few things about the potential upcoming draft.
The Steelers haven’t brought in many players to work out this offseason, but they have looked at the wide receiver, outside linebacker, safety and running back positions. Could this be the direction they go in the draft? Let’s look at some scenarios.
Wide receiver became a need when starter Mike Wallace was not re-signed. Fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is a restricted free agent and has not signed his tender. With only a 3rd pick if a team would choose to sign him, it’s not out of the question to think the Steelers could look at a wide receiver in the 1st or 2nd round.
Outside linebacker became a position of need when James Harrison left as a free agent as well. Harrison’s agent has said he would be willing to return, but the Steelers appear to have moved on. As it now stands, the Steelers have their starters at outside linebacker. However, there is no real depth behind them, so this is certainly a top priority.
The Steelers chose not to sign free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall and release running back Chris Rainey. This leaves them with 2 backs with starting experience in Isaac Redman and Jonathan Stewart, but it’s almost certain that they Steelers will want to add a more dynamic presence to the run game.
The final position of need is safety, as this team has had some serious turnover among the unit. Two key backups are gone. With age and injuries catching up to starters Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, adding a player who can provide depth now and be ready to start soon has to be part of the equation as well.
If one looks just at where the core of the free agent movement has been, these would be what appears to be the top 4 draft needs. However, I would caution that these needs simply be the ones the Steelers believe they can fill the most easily in free agency whether it’s before or after the draft, and the Steelers could take the entire draft in a different direction.