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PFF Lists Steelers Top 3 Biggest Needs After FA



Steelers Draft Khan Tomlin

There are a few players still left on the market that might peak the Pittsburgh Steelers’ interest, but free agency is pretty much done now. Teams have turned their focus to the draft later this month.

With free agency in the rear view mirror, Pro Football Focus believes the Steelers’ top three biggest needs heading into the draft are at offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback.

“Pittsburgh has to find starters at center and tackle before the season begins,” Dalton Wasserman of PFF wrote. “Broderick Jones can play either tackle spot, giving the team some flexibility. The Steelers also need a wide receiver now that they’ve traded Diontae Johnson to Carolina. Solidifying their quarterback room allows the Steelers to focus on these weaknesses.

“Joey Porter Jr. also needs some help at cornerback after that group ranked 27th in the NFL in overall grade. Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan and Levi Wallace are all free agents, so the Steelers likely need to add multiple players from a draft class with a lot of talent at the position.”

Wide receiver, center, offensive tackle and cornerback are widely considered the Steelers’ top needs heading into the draft. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hinted at the NFL owner’s meetings that the wide receiver position most likely will be addressed in the draft. This year’s draft is loaded at receiver, and it’s a position that the Steelers typically do well at in the mid-to-late rounds. Selecting Antonio Brown in the sixth round in 2010 is a prime example.

“You know, we’ve got a lot of options there,” Tomlin said about the wide receiver position at the NFL owner’s meetings. “There’s still a lot of capable guys on the market. The draft is probably unusually deep at that position and has been for the last several years. I just think that receivers and those that cover them come probably a little bit more ready in today’s game than maybe in year’s past. I think it’s the evolution of seven-on-seven football for high school kids. I just think their development, the skills relative to their positions come with a higher floor. Much like AAU Basketball probably transformed basketball. I think seven-on-seven has had a significant impact on the passing game and those that participate in it. And I think that’s why there’s always a lot of wide outs that appear to be game ready, corners that appear to be game ready. They’re playing football and working on skills relative to football over the course of a 12-month calendar during significant developmental age groups now.”

So far, the Steelers have brought wide receivers Ricky Pearsall of Florida, Xavier Legette of South Carolina and Malachi Corley of Western Kentucky in for pre-draft visits. They also have a visit scheduled with USC wide receiver Tahj Washington. 

Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson and West Virginia center Zach Frazier are popular potential first-round pick candidate for the Steelers, along with Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims. All three have been linked to the Steelers in numerous mock drafts. Slot cornerback is also a major need, but most likely won’t be addressed in the first round. It sure seems like it will be an offensive tackle or wide receiver for the Steelers in the first round, and possibly a center depending on how the picks breakdown.