2012 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Top 5 Positional Needs and Candidates

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2012 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Top 5 Positional Needs and Candidates

Historically, the Pittsburgh Steelers have shown great aplomb in using the NFL Draft to maintain a stellar roster.  This pattern of excellence has allowed the franchise to continue an unparalleled tradition of winning that dates back four decades. 

Historians and passionate fans remember the Black and Gold's 1974 draft class—arguably the greatest in NFL history.  From Mike Webster to Lynn Swann and beyond, a great Pittsburgh team put the finishing touches on a dominant roster, thus ascending from contention into champions and, ultimately, a dynasty.

The game has certainly changed with the advent of free agency, but the college ranks still serve as the most lucrative pool with which to stock a roster with a discerning eye on the long-term future.

Players like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are testaments to the type of impact a solid draft choice can have on a franchise's future.

Conversely, every NFL team understands the risks involved, even with the new rookie salary scale implemented under the new collective bargaining agreement.  Wasting a top tier selection on mediocrity or worse can throttle a squad into the league dregs for years.

So, what areas of improvement should the Steelers focus on in the upcoming draft? 

While many of the team's holes will get the bandage of free agency, the draft is the best forum to address a franchise's most glaring needs. It present the long-term opportunity to mold a fine young athlete into the type of player and man that fully embodies the great Black and Gold tradition.  

The following are the top 5 positional needs best addressed by the 'Burgh during the NFL Draft on April 26-28, 2012.  Additionally, we'll look at two candidates for each position: one for consideration if the Steelers focus on the position in the first round and another more realistic draftee for the order I would recommend.

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