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Steelers Analysis

Steelers, Omar Khan Still Have Huge Needs to Fill after Draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Omar Khan still have two big needs at outside wide receiver and slot cornerback after the 2024 NFL Draft.

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Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan
Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Omar Khan and Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin speak at a press conference at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex before the NFL Draft, Monday, April 22, 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing to add to their haul with picks on the third day of the 2024 NFL Draft, but after using their fourth-round pick on guard Mason McCormick, it’s clear what positional needs the Steelers are likely leaving to the after-draft free agency and trade markets, as well.

The Steelers came into the draft more needs than they had picks, so there was undoubtedly going to be something left behind. By taking a tackle, center, slot wide receiver, linebacker and guard with their first four picks, here’s what the Steelers have left:

OUTSIDE WIDE RECEIVER

While offensive coordinator Arthur Smith suggested on Friday that third-round draft pick Roman Wilson could play inside or outside, it seems pretty clear that his best fit at the NFL level is in the slot. The same can likely be said about Calvin Austin III and depth signing Quez Watkins.

The Steelers do have Van Jefferson in the fold with some outside receiver chops, but at this stage of his career, he seems better cast as a backup than as a leading player.

The Steelers have been connected to lots of players in the free agency and trading process, including Mike Williams, Tyler Boyd, Brandon Aiyuk and Courtland Sutton. With that much smoke, it’s pretty clear they’re interested in adding a veteran to the wide receiver room.
This should be the top priority for Omar Khan once the draft wraps — or maybe even before. They signed Chandon Sullivan in the middle of the third day of the draft last year.

It seems like things have cooled on the 49ers trade front, but the Steelers should still be pursuing Sutton at this point after the Denver Broncos added Troy Franklin from Oregon to their receivers mix.

On the free agent market, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Gallup, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and D.J. Chark could be options.

SLOT CORNERBACK

The Steelers have their top outside cornerbacks set, with Donte Jackson set to join Joey Porter Jr. They have good depth on the outside with Cory Trice Jr. returning from injury to join Darius Rush.

In the slot? They have nobody. Sullivan and Patrick Peterson, last year’s slot starters, are both still sitting there. So they could be options to return. There are also plenty of other cornerbacks on the free agent market if the team wants to go in a different direction.

Cam Sutton, who was cut by the Detroit Lions after he was charged with domestic assault, may also be an option. He has met with the Steelers but could still be facing a lengthy NFL suspension.

Outside of former Steelers, Keion Crossen, K’Waun Wilson, Daryl Worley and Tre Flowers could be options.

DEFENSIVE LINE UPGRADES

The Steelers don’t need depth along the defensive line, as they brought their entire 2023 continent back except for Armon Watts, and replaced him with Dean Lowry.

But they have a lack of players that seem to be on a trajectory to be future starters. With Cam Heyward entering his 35-year-old season, and Larry Ogunjobi maintaining a tenuous balance between his salary cap hit and his production, someone besides Keeanu Benton that could take over as a starter some day could be a benefit.

They didn’t get that in the draft, and it’s hard to see that happening in free agency, but if the Steelers are making trades, something involving a young defensive tackle coming back could be something to look out for.

How realistic is it that the Steelers will be able to make these kinds of moves? They’ve actually done quite a it of it in recent years.

Over the last two offseason, the Steelers have signed and/or traded for linebacker Kwon Alexander, tackle Dylan Cook, tackle Jesse Davis, safety Terrell Edmunds, outside linebacker Marcus Golden, safety Damontae Kazee, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Sullivan between the end of the draft and the start of the preseason.

They have plenty of salary cap space after restructuring Alex Highsmith’s deal last week. So if you’re still seeing big holes in the Steelers’ offseason depth chart, don’t fret. The Khan Artist is still at work.