It’s been widely reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are targeting multiple positions in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, but none will be more coveted than a NFL ready wide receiver and a solid shutdown cornerback. The past scenarios that I’ve written have involved specific players who were off the board and consequently how the Steelers would then respond with their 15th overall selection in the draft.
However, what if two players who are highly touted and sought after within the Steelers’ organization are available at the 15th spot? What if a wide receiver they want and a cornerback they feel they should pick are both available — which takes precedence?
In this scenario, wide receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M falls to the Steelers as well as cornerback Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State, and the Steelers are faced with a very difficult decision as to who to select.
There is no doubt the Steelers could use another weapon at Ben Roethlisberger‘s disposal in the Todd Haley led offense, but are the team’s needs on the defensive side more important than the offensive side of the ball? That’s the million dollar question.
The Steelers’ offense has been bolstered in the offseason by free agent signings of Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey at wide receiver and LeGarrette Blount at running back.
The defense also had some parts added in terms of Jason Worilds‘ return at outside linebacker, Arthur Moats to add depth to the linebacker position, Mike Mitchell was brought in to replace Ryan Clark at safety but no one of any distinction was brought in at cornerback.
This decision comes down to what the team needs. Could they use another threat for Roethlisberger in the passing game? Certainly, there isn’t an NFL team out there that would turn down a legitimate offensive weapon. However, does the team need to get younger, faster and more athletic at the cornerback position? No doubt that needs to happen.
For that reason, and that reason alone, in this scenario the Steelers do not must select Dennard to anchor the cornerback position for years to come. The Steelers won’t ignore wide receiver, but they will rely on their skill of selecting quality wideouts later in the draft by taking a receiver in rounds 2-4.