Pittsburgh Steelers Must Now Shift Focus To 2014 NFL Draft

By Jeff Hartman
Mike Tomlin
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers are not used to this free agent frenzy they are following this offseason. The Steelers typically keep their own and grow players through the draft, but this year has been different. After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, Mike Tomlin and the front office have decided to blow up the roster and see how they can improve their team through free agency.

When looking at the roster once free agency got underway there were glaring positions of need. Those positions in no particular order were: cornerback, wide receiver, defensive line, running back, safety and linebacker. Those were the most glaring areas on a team that suddenly looked as thin as ever.

The Steelers didn’t just sit around on their hands; they went out and made key acquisitions. Mike Mitchell at safety, Lance Moore and newly acquired Darrius Heyward-Bey at wide receiver, LeGarrette Blount at running back, Arthur Moats at linebacker, Cam Thomas at defensive tackle and veteran Brice McCain at cornerback were all added this offseason.

Take a look at that list again and you see they found not only some key contributors, but depth at all those positions of need. That’s what good teams do in free agency — fill holes.

The work isn’t done for the Steelers, though, as they now turn their focus away from the free agent talent pool to the 2014 NFL Draft. The Steelers were granted three compensatory picks from free agent departures last season, and those picks will come in handy in a draft that is extremely deep in talent.

Look for those same needs that were addressed in free agency to be addressed in the draft. The Steelers’ first two picks should be spent on players who can contribute in 2014 and not “projects” that will take years to develop. After the first two rounds, finding players who can make the roster for added depth will be a crucial part of the team’s success in 2014.

After back-to-back mediocre seasons, the Steelers have made moves like a desperate team. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures. Let’s just hope those measures lead to success in 2014 for the black and gold.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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