By now, we should know that missing on the first pick isn’t really something that Steelernation should be worried about. It is exciting, when the moment arrives, to find out who is going to be the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sometimes though, it’s quite disappointing when it’s not the guy that I thought they should take, like when they picked Ryan Shazier over C.J. Mosely, buy hey, what do I know? Throughout the years, after they finally decided to stop trading draft picks for aging veterans with little left in the tank, which coincided with the arrival of Chuck Noll, the Steelers have done pretty well with their first round draft picks, except for maybe Mark Malone and Huey Richardson, and this year should be no exception. What may disappoint a lot of fans however, is if that first pick is not a cornerback or a safety. The Steelers are lucky in the fact that they have an unfathomable number of GM’s within the fanbase who know that, this year, it makes the most sense to address the secondary first, and then the defensive line. The reason being that there is an impressive amount of depth at defensive line talent in this draft, as opposed to secondary talent.
Starter quality talent, that can contribute almost immediately, will be available in the third round, among the defensive line prospects in the upcoming draft, whereas that kind of talent thins out, for the most part, after the middle of the second round as far as cornerbacks are concerned. There is no doubt that Andrew Billings or Vernon Butler would make a great addition to the defensive line, in the first round, but cornerbacks William Jackson III or Eli Apple make more sense with the losses of Brandon Boykin and Cortez Allen. Either way, the Steelers top three picks should all be used to add to what has gone from one of the league’s oldest defenses, to one of the youngest. Everyone in Steelernation has their idea of how the Steelers draft should unfold, and it’s no different here, where the focus is on the first four rounds.
1st Round: William Jackson III – University of Houston – CB
2nd Round: Miles Killebrew – Southern Utah – Safety
3rd Round: Chris Jones – Mississippi State – DE
4th Round: Tyler Boyd – University of Pittsburgh – WR.
With Jackson, Killebrew and Johnson, the defense would be adding three players who have the ability to make an impact in year one, while Tyler Boyd would give Ben Roethlisberger another explosive weapon on offense. Boyd may not be the fastest receiver, but yet he always seems to be on the other end of a big play, and would be a nice replacement should the Steelers decide to move on from Markus Wheaton, or even Martavis Bryant, should his stint in rehab fail to help him overcome his issues.
For the Steelers to keep their window of opportunity open to win more championship hardware, during the remainder of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, it is important that they nail it in this draft. To nail it, they have to get the first four rounds right. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin should use the first three rounds to address the defense, since the offense is pretty much set at just about every position. Rarely though, do the Steelers do what it is that they are expected to do, come draft time, and it is hard to argue with the success they have had. With three trips to the Super Bowl since 2005, they have showed that they know what they are doing. Entering this year’s draft, the Steelers are going in as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, and if they want to capitalize on that, they have to address their primary concern, which is in the secondary. That is why the Steelers will be putting in a phone call to William Jackson III, if he is still available, when the time comes to make their selection. If not though, Artie Burns, Xavien Howard or Kendall Fuller would be acceptable alternatives. Either way, this will be the first time, since Chad Scott in 1997, that the Steelers take a cornerback with their first round pick.