With the playoffs underway, many fans are sitting on the outside looking in as their teams are officially in the offseason, and with the offseason comes the excitement and anticipation of the NFL draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a position heading into this year's draft that they usually aren't. Rather than being able to draft for the future, the Steelers find themselves needing help at multiple positions now. There are holes on every level of the defense and some potential areas on offense that could need addressing.
However, the most important need to address in terms of where the Steelers will be drafting initially is the safety position. Anyone who watched Pittsburgh play this year will be able to tell you about the constant change in the two starting safeties from week-to-week.
Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, the two starting safeties on the depth chart, were only together for a handful of games this season, with backups Ryan Mundy and Will Allen filling in at various times. The position is getting older and injuries are catching up with the stars. Because of that, this year should be the year that new talent is brought in to bolster the position.
"The main focus of this draft for Pittsburgh should be defense. Despite a number one ranking, Pittsburgh looked old and beaten at times. They broke at the wrong times, too many times. Pittsburgh could use this pick on a linebacker, corner, defensive tackle; all of the areas could use it. However, after seeing the revolving door at safety due to injury, Kenny Vaccaro of Texas should be on the Steelers radar. Texas has produced some great defensive backs over the last few years and Vaccaro is the next one. He plays well in run support and pass coverage, and is enough of an athlete to stay with the tight ends of the NFL. He is also a smart guy who could pick up the Dick LeBeau defense well. Keep an eye on this one."
While some argue that it's too early to take a safety, there are other needs or that he isn't the best safety, I disagree. The 17th pick is in the area where the Steelers took Polamalu all those years ago, and they even moved up for him.
While there are other needs, Vaccaro could come in and learn behind two great players and step in immediately whenever they go down, and we all know that'll happen eventually.
As for the best safety, it seems to be a matter of opinion between Vaccaro, Matt Elam of Florida, and Eric Reid of LSU. Vaccaro comes from a good program and would look good in the Black and Gold.
Todd Swoope is a contributing writer for Bleacher Report and a co-founder and main columnist for National Football Direct.