Steelers Draft Preview Capsule
20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-6-1)
LAST SEASON: Late collapse following 7-2-1 start forced Pittsburgh to miss playoffs for first time since 2013 and set stage for wide receiver Antonio Brown’s highly public divorce. Though Brown’s decision to bail on teammates before Week 17 game against Cincinnati and churlish behavior in aftermath grabbed headlines, there was plenty of blame to go around for Pittsburgh’s sluggish finish. Defense failed to create takeaways or get critical stops; kicker Chris Boswell dealt with significant case of “yips”; and while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led NFL in yards passing for first time, his 16 interceptions were also tops in league.
FREE AGENCY: Despite having more money to spend than usual, Pittsburgh again took pragmatic approach on open market. Steelers bolstered secondary by bringing in CB Steven Nelson from Kansas City, took another shot at filling void left by Ryan Shazier’s back injury by signing LB Mark Barron from Rams, and added WR Donte Moncrief to take up some of slack created by Brown’s departure.
THEY NEED: CB, WR, OLB, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, DL, S.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Devin Bush, Michigan; CB Byron Murphy, Washington; CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia.
OUTLOOK: While it might be tantalizing to grab wide receiver in first round, Steelers proved last year offense can move even without established stars. James Conner and rookie Jaylen Samuels thrived in absence of Le’Veon Bell. Finding true difference maker in secondary has to be top priority after Pittsburgh’s defensive backs combined for just five interceptions. While LSU’s Greedy Williams would be best fit, he’ll likely be gone at No. 20, leaving Murphy and Baker — Jim Thorpe Award winner in 2018 as best defensive back in nation — as next best options.