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1. Pick a Junior First
Dating back to Heath Miller in 2005, the Pittsburgh Steelers have chosen a senior just once in the past eight drafts (Ziggy Hood, 2009). It’s safe to bet that they will look to add an underclassman in the first round.
2. Alternate Sides of the Ball in First Round
The Steelers have rotated offensive and defensive selections since they selected Rashard Mendenhall in 2008. Since last year’s choice was guard David DeCastro, it’s the defense’s turn this year—if the trend proves true.
3. Go Back to the Well
Pittsburgh has traditionally favored certain schools over others when they look to draft players. Look for them to check out Ohio State and Florida products in particular, if recent history is any indicator.
4. Double Dip
The Steelers have made two choices at the same position every year in recent history except one, in 2003, when they gutted their draft coffers to move up for Troy Polamalu. Granted, it’s not always the exact same position—they drafted Lawrence Timmons as an inside linebacker and LaMarr Woodley as an outside linebacker in 2007, for example. Still, the team casts a wide net when they isolate an area of need, so I look for them to do the same this year.
Addition: Take the Best Available Player
The Steelers understand that it's talent that determines football games when all else is equal. They look for the best value wherever they pick.
With this framework in place, let's check out how the Steelers’ 2013 draft might shape up.