Pittsburgh Steelers: Evaluating the Defensive Free Agent and Draft Priorities

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Pittsburgh Steelers: Evaluating the Defensive Free Agent and Draft Priorities
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With James Harrison being a possible cap casualty, the Steelers must upgrade at outside linebacker.

After a slow start to the 2012 season, the Pittsburgh’s Steelers saw their defense of old return to form. They finished at the top of the league in yards allowed and passing defense and second in the league in rushing defense.

But even though their rankings were impressive, the Steelers defense still needs to get better if they want to be one of the league’s elite.

Maybe the biggest area in which they must improve is in creating more turnovers. This was particularly evident considering the Steelers had a minus-10 turnover differential on the season.

Team president Art Rooney II believes that there is a simple solution to creating more turnovers

"We have to get more pressure on the quarterback," Rooney said (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "Anybody will tell you that creates turnovers."

Rooney also believes that the defensive backs need to be “more ball aware.”

Finding playmakers to rush the quarterback and young safeties are just two of the priorities that the Steelers will have this offseason.

In the second of a two-part series examining the free-agent and draft priorities, I will examine the priorities on defense.

Free agency and draft priorities will be rated as “low” if the Steelers need a minimal investment in the position such as a veteran at a league minimum or a sixth- or seventh-round draft choice. They will be rated “medium” if they need to spend on a mid-level free agent or a draft choice between the third and fifth round. “High” means the Steelers need to spend a significant amount in free agency or address the need with a first- or second-round selection.

Here is a position-by-position look at Pittsburgh’s priorities on defense.

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