The 2016 NFL draft is mere days away and the Steelers go into it with several needs and seven picks to fill those needs. Due to the trades for Brandon Boykin and Josh Scobee, the Steelers do not have a 5th round pick this year or an earlier 6th round pick but they still have enough opportunity to collect the talent they require to fill both immediate needs and build for the future at the same time.
First Round: The Steelers pick 25th overall and with this pick they absolutely need to draft a member for their secondary, preferably a top tier corner. If they don’t go corner, they could go safety but I believe they will wait until later to do so. Either way, they need to shore up that secondary asap.
Second Round: The second round sees the black and gold pick 58th overall and with this pick they need to consider the secondary again whether it be safety or even another corner. The pass defense has been troublesome for several seasons now so it needs to be addressed. They have a Super Bowl offense with a defense trying to catch up. If they go secondary here, they’ll probably grab a defensive tackle as they need to improve the defensive line as well.
Third Round: 89th overall should again see the Steelers go defense. Basically they’ll go defensive tackle, safety or another corner here. The first three rounds should break down this way in some form or fashion if the Steelers want to be a contender in 2016.
Fourth Round: 123rd overall could go in a few directions. I think they’ll stay on the defensive side of the ball again and grab a linebacker, perhaps one who can replace Jarvis Jones soon as it seems to me the Jones experiment is coming to a conclusive end in the next season or two at most. That said, don’t be shocked if they grabbed a wide receiver here to replace the suspended Martavis Bryant.
Fifth Round: No pick
Sixth Round: The Steelers pick 220th with a compensatory pick and here they could look for a quarterback of the project variety who can serve as a third stringer for a few years behind Landry Jones. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took an offensive lineman here either as they feel, correctly so, that you can never have enough of the big boys up front.
Seventh Round: Nine picks later, with the 229th pick, the black and gold will look to bring in some camp guys who can potentially make the practice squad or possibly be a deep bench guy on game days. Obviously this pick could go in a variety of directions including a running back to sit behind LeVeon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, possibly a defensive end and maybe, just maybe, a full back.
Seventh Round: The Steelers final pick comes at pick 246 and the idea at pick 229 will echo here as well meaning they can go in any direction to provide, at a minimum, bodies in camp.
We are just a few days away from the picks but it will take several seasons to determine how the black and gold truly fair with their class of 2016. For now, the immediate idea is to improve the team in need areas that can help them capitalize on the Super Bowl window they’ve appeared to open.
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.