Team Needs: Pittsburgh Steelers
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. CB - 4.0
2. OG - 3.5
3. DT - 3.0
4. OT - 2.5
5. WR - 2.5
6. LB - 2.0
7. S - 2.0
8. DE - 2.0
9. RB - 1.5
10. QB - 1.5
Quarterback - Batch, Leftwich, and Dixon are all free agents. The team is expected to let Dixon walk and Batch could retire, making Leftwich the best candidate to be re-signed as the No. 2. But he's not the most durable option, but that's why they also have Troy Smith on the roster to compete there. They might look at a young developmental guy in the late rounds. NEED: 1.5
Running Back - Mendenhall's late season ACL tear will likely put his 2012 season in jeopardy, or at least delay it. It will be the final year of his contract. The team seems fairly confident in Isaac Redman, who had 213 yards in the two games where he was essentially their starter at the end. They could definitely add more depth, but Redman will likely be given every opportunity to lock down the starter spot for 2012 and potentially beyond. NEED: 1.5
Fullback - Todd Haley will likely try and reintroduce this position back into the offense which was phased out under Bruce Arians. David Johnson was adequate here, but not ideal. NEED: 1.5
Wide Receiver - Losing restricted free agent Mike Wallace is definitely a possibility given their lack of cap space. Although Antonio Brown had a breakout year, and Emmanuel Sanders is a solid No. 3 option. Losing Wallace would likely make drafting another speedy wide receiver a high priority. Otherwise if they can lock him up long-term they are pretty set here. NEED: 2.5
Tight End - Weslye Saunders flashed potential as the backup to Heath Miller, who is entering a contract year. They could add another insurance policy, but will likely give Saunders an opportunity to prove himself as an eventual successor. NEED: 1.0
Offensive Tackle - Max Starks was a serviceable stopgap when they were forced to move Marcus Gilbert to RT to replace an injured WIllie Colon, who has now missed 31 out of 32 games the past two years. If Colon returns at full health, they can move Gilbert to the left side. Jonathan Scott gives them some depth and insurance there, but they could definitely add another guy to the mix that can either push Gilbert or provide depth behind Colon. NEED: 2.5
Offensive Guard - They've already parted ways with left guard Chris Kemoeatu. Doug Legursky was miscast as the starter there last year, and is ideally suited for a reserve role. Ramon Foster is capable on the other side, although they could probably upgrade that spot too. NEED: 3.5
Center - Pouncey missed time for the second straight year, although Legursky gives them a capable backup there. NEED: 0.5
Defensive Tackle - The Steelers seem intent on keeping Casey Hampton for one more year, the final year of his deal. While they've tinkered with the idea of putting Ziggy Hood here permanently, they are potentially better off using one of their higher picks for a true blue plugger to potentially take over for Hampton in 2013 allowing Hood to do what he does best, which is be a utility guy. NEED: 3.0
Defensive End - Cameron Heyward will slide in to replace Aaron Smith, but the team needs to be worried about finding another body to groom behind Brett Keisel, who has two more years left on his deal and will be 34 in September. Although if they can find a good nose tackle, it would likely free them up to keep Hood here. But more depth and bodies won't hurt. NEED: 2.0
Linebacker - Larry Foote is expected to replace James Farrior in the middle. But he turns 32 in June and has just one more year left on his deal. Stevenson Sylvester is the likeliest candidate on the roster to develop as a potential starter in 2013. If they can find another good developmental player in the middle rounds, they'll likely jump over him. On the outside, they are fine with Worilds developing behind Woodley and Harrison. NEED: 2.0
Cornerback - Their scheme is reliant on lock-down man corners, and while Ike Taylor was effective for most of the year, it's sad when a soon-to-be 32 year old is by far their best guy. They already cut Bryant McFadden, leaving free agent William Gay as the only other starter on the roster, and Gay is a better fit in the nickel. They need some good young guys here. NEED: 4.0
Safety - Polamalu's durability has become a concern and he's on the wrong side of 30. Ryan Mundy has had his moments as an injury replacement, but lacks the savvy and playmaking ability that Polamalu had. Ryan Clark is a solid complement, but at 32 is nearing the end of the road. Finding a young stud here in the draft would be a smart pickup going forward. NEED: 2.0
Kicker - Shaun Suisham just never has developed the clutch gene at any point in his journeyman career. They gave him a four-year deal last summer, but it might be in their best interest to boost the competition next summer. NEED: 1.5
Punter - When Sepulveda has played, he's been good, but he just can't stay on the field due to knee injuries. He's a free agent that they are expected to let walk given Jeremy Kapinos has been solid for them. NEED: 1.0
Return Specialist - This has been a problem area for years, until the arrival of Antonio Brown, who managed to increase his production despite rule changes. But if he takes a bigger role on offense, they will need to find another option here. NEED: 1.5
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