2011 NFL Draft | Pittsburgh Steelers Team Needs
Pittsburgh was just one game away from their “Stairway to Seven”. Terrible Led Zeppelin references aside, they played a hard fought Super Bowl, but fell just a bit short.
But there is no question that they are one of the toughest teams in the NFL, and all 32 teams fear them mostly thanks to their punishing run defense that also does a fantastic job of putting pressure on the quarterback. There aren’t many holes on the Pittsburgh depth chart, but they will look to find gems as usual and groom them into dominant players to continue their run at the top of the AFC North.
Biggest Needs: OT, OG, RB
We’re still trying to figure out just how Ben Roethlisberger survives with this poor offensive line play. Pittsburgh has never had a great, or even good offensive line when it comes to pass protection. But look for that to change after the 2011 NFL Draft. They need help with both tackle and both guard spots. They have faced a ton of injuries to the offensive line, and it’s hard to grasp just how they overcame all of the adversity.
Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, and Nate Solder are all excellent options if they fall to pick 31 to play either of the tackle spots. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers reunite the Pouncey brothers by drafting Maurkice’s twin brother Mike Pouncey, who was a dominant guard, and improving center at florida. They have played next to each other all of their lives, and are both physical and cerebral players.
The Steelers also should look to grab a scat back type player in the middle rounds to compliment Rashard Mendenhall. They need somebody who can play on third downs and excel in pass protection. If Kendall Hunter makes it to round 3, you bet they will take a hard look.
Biggest Needs: DE, CB, NT
The loss of Aaron Smith for much of the season hurt the defensive line. While Ziggy Hood filled in well against the run, he didn’t take up space and hurt the pass rush of James Harrison. Look for a defensive end to be filled in the middle rounds, as they seem to groom middle round defensive lineman into studs.
Cornerback is a huge need for the Steelers. William Gay is a free agent, and is average at best. Anthony Madison is a work in progress, and Ike Taylor is still just an above average corner and also a free agent. They need a physical stud who can help out in the run game, but play well in press coverage. A guy like Kendric Burney in the late 2nd or late 3rd round would be ideal, but they’ll take a look at a few guys to groom.
As for nose tackle, Casey Hampton is aging, and Chris Hoke is a free agent. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a big body in the middle to fill in for Hampton at times, and to groom into the next dominant nose for the Steel Curtain defense. Guys like Phil Taylor, Muhammad Wilkerson, or Jerrell Powe would be great mid round additions to help bring youth to the defensive line.
Overall, it shouldn’t be a secret by now that the Steelers are one of the most talented and well coached teams in the league. Even without a draft, they might still give another strong run at a Super Bowl in 2011. With bright minds and great leaders, another solid draft should make the Steelers even better going into next season.