The Steel Curtain came one failed drive away from hoisting its seventh Lombradi Trophy, losing to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. Now, Pittsburgh will have to start all over again next season.
Second place isn’t a consolation prize in Steeler Nation. It’s a slap in the face, in more ways than one.
It should be no surprise to the Terrible Towel faithful that Mike Tomlin and Co. will be focused on another successful draft in order to help push the Steelers back over the hump, as well as avoiding a Super Bowl hangover, somthing that couldn’t be accomplished two years ago. And last I checked New Orleans and Indianapolis didn’t handle it well either.
Here’s a breakdown of the first four rounds and how the Steelers might choose to improve their already solid roster.
Round 1 (Pick 31): Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
The Pouncey brothers unite! Truly, the Steelers badly need more talent and youth on their shaky offensive line, and having two brothers with basically the same skill-set and talent isn’t a bad way to go about it. The Steelers have unwisely ignored this need early in past drafts, but now is the time to address a major issue.
Round 2 (Pick 63): Jeron Johnson, CB, Boise State
There’s always something intimidating about hard-hitting safeties who carry around hammers.
Ike Taylor is a free agent and the entire secondary isn’t immune to potential upgrades.
If there is an obvious weakness to the Steelers’ defense, it’s their average corners. Johnson should be brought in to start out as a nickelback and could easily develop into a starter by his second season.
Round 3 (Pick 95): Shane Vereen, RB, California
It sounds crazy, but Pittsburgh needs to keep its offense intact, and that has everything to do with lightening Rashard Mendenhall’s workload. Pittsburgh has a smart coaching staff and knows Mendy can’t keep doing it all on his own.
Jonathan Dwyer and Mewelde Moore don’t appear to be long-term backup answers, so the explosive Vereen gives them depth and an upgrade behind their starter. Pittsburgh’s offense just got even more balanced.
Round 4 (Pick 127): Ugo Chinasa, OLB, Oklahoma State
It wouldn’t be a Steelers draft if they didn’t add another stud pass rusher, would it? No, didn’t think so. Chinasa is a versatile edge rusher and is just massive, standing at 6’5” and 260 pounds. He’s athletic and physical, and has all the tools to be another demon in Pittsburgh’s chaotic 3-4 defense.
Other possibilities: Brandon Fusco, Tyler Sash, Anthony Gray
In this particular mock draft for the Steelers, Pittsburgh gets two major needs for its offensive line and secondary, adds depth to its running game and gets another beast to groom for its excellent pass-rushing scheme.
The Steelers could definitely use another offensive lineman and some new talent for their defensive line, but if the draft shapes out anything close to this, they are walking away with four mighty talented picks through the first four rounds.
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