2012 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Still Have Needs for Last 4 Rounds
After spending a lot of time and two draft picks firmly addressing the weaknesses of their offensive line, the Pittsburgh Steelers shifted to defense in the third round, picking up a linebacker.
While the Steelers have had one of their finest draft efforts so far, there are still some needs that must be worked on in the final four rounds. Here's a look at what we should see in today's final four-round extravaganza.
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Current Veteran Roster: Casey Hampton, Steve McLendon
This is the team's biggest remaining need. There's little room for error here, and I was surprised that the Steelers didn't address this need with a selection after dealing with the offensive line so decisively. Perhaps it was Mike Martin, a player I've coveted for Pittsburgh, coming off the board just before their final selection on Day 2.
There's still a lot of value at the position, but Pittsburgh should move quickly and address this in the fourth round. They don't want to get caught without a defensive tackle prospect if Casey Hampton isn't ready to start the season.
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Current Veteran Roster: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery
With the uncertainty around Antonio Brown, this is an area that the Steelers will want to focus on at some point with their remaining seven picks. Antonio Brown's contract situation is going to become an issue soon as well, so there's little time to waste, as it isn't likely that both Wallace and Brown will remain in Pittsburgh if the team's cap situation doesn't change.
The Steelers also need to pad their roster in case of injury. Emmanuel Sanders hasn't proven his ability to stay healthy. This could turn out to be a major problem because the Steelers don't have that excellent depth that they had last season.
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Current Veteran Roster: Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown
Without William Gay, there will be some competition opposite Ike Taylor for the other starting corner position. Taylor is solid, but there's nothing certain opposite him. That's a scary proposition.
The Steelers don't have the league's best secondary. They had a mostly lucky season in 2011, as they did not face many top quarterbacks. There has been little intense focus here in recent seasons, and it's starting to show.
At this point, Cortez Allen has the likely inside track for the starting job, but the team needs to get a corner or even two to shore up some of their depth.
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Current Veteran Roster: Isaac Redman, Rashard Mendenhall (injured), Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch
The departure of Mewelde Moore and the uncertainty around Rashard Mendenhall's injury has plunged something that might have been a strength into a problem area. Isaac Redman now figures to shoulder most of the load behind that revamped offensive line.
Behind him, there's not much we can be sure of with the roster. Baron Batch is versatile, but he missed his entire rookie year to injury. Jonathan Dwyer has been injury-prone, and John Clay is a goal-line back at best.
The Steelers really could use some more competition from one of the many excellent backs that remains.
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Current Veteran Roster: Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, Troy Smith
I don't buy the current depth chart at all. Two of the players behind starter Ben Roethlisberger (Batch and Leftwich) have injuries and age against them, while Smith isn't an accurate or strong thrower, so he probably will not be much of a help if needed.
The Steelers could get a young quarterback late in the draft and groom him for a year behind Batch. I get the feeling there will be some kind of competition between the three current backups and any potential additions. That can only help a team with a starter that loves to play a rough, athletic brand of football.
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Current Veteran Roster: Shaun Suisham
Shaun Suisham has leant a quiet presence to a position that used to be manned by a loud, somewhat crazy guy, but he doesn't possess the leg or the accuracy that can really make a difference in games. The Steelers, a team that often relies on the kicker, need someone a little more promising.
Blair Walsh is my pick for a late-round selection to help inject a little competition for the position. Competition can't hurt a team that doesn't have a lot of starting jobs in turmoil, and it is something that Mike Tomlin likes to create to keep his team in top shape.