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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicting the Impact of Every Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Pick

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Predicting the Impact of Every Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Pick

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In need of a big NFL Draft after back-to-back seasons of finishing 8-8 and missing the NFL playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to address their needs while favoring defense over offense. Needing help on the lines at wide receiver and in the secondary, the Steelers picked up players at all those positions while adding some explosiveness on offense. Here's a look at the impact each draft pick will have on the Steelers.

9. Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts

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9. Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts

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Drafted in the seventh round, any production at all from Blanchflower would be a welcome addition for the Steelers, where Pittsburgh is set with veteran Heath Miller, along with backups Matt Spaeth and David Paulson. It doesn't seem likely that Blanchflower is going to challenge for one of those spots, and special teams is likely his ticket to a roster spot. Otherwise, Blanchflower could reside on the practice squad at best.

8. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

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8. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

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Just based on his mammoth size, McCullers should fill a need for the Pittsburgh Steelers in years to come and will eventually be a starter. At 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds, McCullers comes closer to replacing longtime Pittsburgh great nose tackle Casey Hampton than anyone else. The Steelers haven't defended the run as well since Hampton left, and McCullers is the perfect kind of replacement to shore that up.

7. Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA

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7. Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA

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An outside linebacker at 235 pounds, Zumwalt is already behind the eight-ball given Pittsburgh's selection of Ryan Shazier at the same position in the first round. If Shazier challenges Chris Carter for the left outside linebacker spot as expected, Zumwalt isn't going to displace Jason Worilds or Jarvis Jones on the other side. Zumwalt may succeed in the NFL, but it probably won't be in Pittsburgh. He could be a trade target down the road.

6. Wesley Johnson, T, Vanderbilt

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6. Wesley Johnson, T, Vanderbilt

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A bit of an undersized tackle at 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, Johnson's outlook wouldn't be as good if he had been drafted by other NFL teams. But in Pittsburgh, where healthy, durable offensive linemen are a true rarity these days, Johnson steps into a situation where with a good camp and preseason, he can be a starter. He'll certainly make the roster and if recent history holds, he'll get plenty of snaps as a rookie.

5. Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona

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5. Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona

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Projected to go in the sixth or seventh round by NFL.com, the Steelers might have reached a bit by taking Richardson in the fifth round. He's got decent height for a corner and is the latest to try and find a home opposite Ike Taylor in the Steelers' secondary. At best, he's the fourth corner on the roster behind Taylor, William Gay and Cortez Allen. He could see time in dime packages, but will make little if any impact this season.

4. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

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4. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

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Bryant, who was in the shadow of the likes of Sammy Watkins and Deandre Hopkins at Clemson, will be a steal in the fourth round. Bryant is 6-foot-4, giving the Steelers a tall target in the passing game, he ran a 4.42 40 at the Combine, and in three seasons at Clemson, averaged a whopping 22.2 yards per catch. If he works hard, Bryant will make teams regret passing on him multiple times. He could start by the end of the 2014 season.

3. Dri Archer, RB, Kent State

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3. Dri Archer, RB, Kent State

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Calling Archer a running back is a misnomer in a sense. He isn't going to bang between the tackles like new teammates Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, but that makes Archer a great pick in the third round. Diminutive (5-foot-8, 173 pounds), Archer ran a blistering 4.26 40 at the Combine and made a habit of making people miss in his MAC career. He'll take some of the return load off Antonio Brown, making Archer an impact player immediately.

2. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

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2. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

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Tuitt brings help to the defensive line that is in rebuilding mode with the departure of longtime standout Brett Keisel. There is a starting spot available to Tuitt right away if he does the work and has a good camp plus preseason. He faced top competition at Notre Dame and should be able to make the step up to the NFL.

1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

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1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

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Like Zumwalt, Shazier is a bit of an undersized linebacker, but much more is expected of Shazier, who wasn't forecast to be taken as high as the Steelers got him with the 15th overall pick. He had a strong final season at Ohio State and given Pittsburgh's ability to develop linebackers, especially pass rushers on the outside in recent years, Shazier should be a standout for the Steelers for a while, perhaps becoming an All-Pro by his fourth year.