The NFL draft is right around the corner and all the talk of who’s going where will finally come to end. The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 15th pick of the draft after finishing the season 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
A lot of talk has been swirling over which direction the Steelers will go in the first round of the draft. Many of those talks have shifted toward wide receiver or cornerback.
Recently it’s been reported that the organization has informed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that they’ll pursue a tall wide receiver in the draft. They didn’t say what round, but surely the first round is an option.
Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert said the organization wanted to surround Roethlisberger with talent. The underlining message was that Roethlisberger’s no longer the young gun he once was and as every season passes his miles increase.
Roethlisberger’s most likely good for another four to five seasons but with his style of play and the constant struggles of the offensive line, who knows what could happen to Big Ben. The Steelers know this and if giving Roethlisberger a taller receiver will help land this team another Super Bowl, then they may be willing to spend that pick in the first round.
So what receivers are out there for the Steelers to try and snag with the 15th pick?
The big names are Mike Evans out of Texas A&M and Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State. These two might not even see pick number 15 and could go somewhere in the top ten. Both men stand at 6-5, which is plenty of height for Big Ben.
However, should one or both of these players fall it would make sense for the Steelers to take one of them if they chose to pursue a receiver.
Other potential receivers include Sammy Watkins (6-1), out of Clemson, Allen Robinson (6-3), from Penn State and Marquise Lee (6-0), out of Southern California to name a few. These are all solid receivers in the six-foot range but you have to believe Roethlisberger wants the Steelers to eye a 6-5 guy.
Eyeing a receiver in the first round is one way to go, but I believe it’s the wrong way to go. The Steelers need help on defense more than offense, especially in the secondary.
The draft is filled with great corners and safeties that could easily help the Steelers’ reeling secondary improve. I personally would be ecstatic if the Steelers managed to get Justin Gilbert, a cornerback out of Oklahoma State.
The offense started last season slow but found a rhythm toward the end, Roethllistberger’s arsenal is already pretty good. Antonio Brown’s proven to be an excellent receiver despite his size and if Jerricho Cotchery is resigned then hopefully he can carry his success over from last season. The offense can manage, the defense cannot.
Veteran Ryan Clark will most likely be gone next season while cornerback Ike Taylor will need to take a pay cut to remain on the team, with a lot of experienced players headed out the Steelers need to find youth for their defense and start building it up.
Along with Gilbert other cornerbacks include Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State, Jason Verrett out of TCU and LaMarcus Joyner from Florida State, to name a few.
This year’s draft is deep when it comes to the secondary so if the Steelers did take a wide receiver in the first round they could most likely snag a quality secondary player in the second round.
I personally feel the secondary needs to be the primary focus whether or not the Steelers agree with me will remain to be seen. Expect a wide receiver or defensive secondary player to come off the board early for the Steelers.