2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for Pittsburgh Steelers

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Draft Priorities

NFL Draft
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With less than two weeks to the 2013 NFL draft, the picture of who the Pittsburgh Steelers are targeting is no more clear than it was a month ago. This has been an offseason that has been highlighted with a lack of direction by the Steelers front office. Typically no matter how things go, there always seems to be a focus that fans can start to see. But this offseason seems to be more of a re-build for the franchise, and for some Steelers fans this is troubling.

This list is my top 5 positions of priority in this draft for the Steelers. It wasn’t easy to narrow it to 5, and obviously depending on one’s perspective they could have a completely different list. Here is the rationale I used in determining my top 5.

First, I looked at the positions the team has brought in as potential free agent signings and private workouts. I also looked at which players this team has lost via free agency, and that is a long list. I also looked at the positional units as they stand now, and thought about them in terms of whether or not the team would be more likely to being in a rookie or a veteran to fill that void.

A good example is along the offensive line. While I feel like adding talent to the offensive line is a smart move, this line is very young so it makes more sense to me to add a veteran rather than another rookie. On the other side the running back position has some veteran players, so I’m good with adding a rookie to get carries.

So here my list of the Steelers top 5 priorities for the 2013 NFL draft.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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5-Running Back

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SPORTS

I put running back 5th, but there are two or three other spots that could easily have been in this spot. The missing link from this running back unit is an explosive playmaker. No matter what the offense does next year, it has to have that home run type of player back there. This is a deep and talented running back group with lots of players who would fit the bill.

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4-Inside Linebacker

NFL Draft
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While linebacker Lawrence Timmons is great, the Steelers inside linebackers have very little beyond him. Larry Foote was re-signed for this season, but the future is a mystery. This isn't a great draft for inside linebackers, but there are some interesting mid-round prospects who would fit quite well in a 3-4 defense.

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3-Outside Linebacker

NFL Draft
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I consider rush outside linebacker a greater need than most. But this is from having no confidence in Jason Worilds. I would have no problem with the Steelers using any of their first 3 picks in the NFL draft on a player to line up outside and rush the quarterback.

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2-Safety

NFL Draft
Crystal LoGludlce-USA TODAY Sports

The safety position for the Steelers is tenuous at best. Age and injuries have caught up to the unit. With the loss of two key backups, immediate help is needed. The Steelers have had pre-draft visits from safeties and even looked at some veterans. This safety class is very good. Whether it's round one or two, I won't be shocked if the Steelers draft a safety very early.

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1-Wide Receiver

NFL Draft
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, this need is elevated under the assumption that the Steelers do not choose to match the offer to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. If the Steelers lose Sanders that only leaves wide receiver Antonio Brown with any real talent. This is one of those positions the Steelers may need to draft early and sign a veteran free agent in order to put together a viable unit. But this receiver class is talented and deep and diverse so the Steelers should be able to get whatever type of player they want, but they must do it early.


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