There are certain players who the Steelers should take off their board because of their high bust potential. With the franchise teetering on the brink of mediocrity, the Steelers can't afford to draft a bust in the early rounds.
Pittsburgh figures to have immediate needs at running back and wide receiver if Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace leave in free agency.
On defense, the Steelers are getting old and have forced just 35 turnovers over the past two seasons.
It would behoove the Steelers to stock their defense in the 2013 draft. They chose just three defensive players out of nine picks last year. One of them was cut in training camp and the other two haven't played a down yet.
Because they missed the playoffs, the Steelers are picking at No. 17. These players all could be available to the Steelers in the first round or later, but drafting any of them would be a mistake.
The Steelers haven't drafted a bust in the first round since the turn of the century. Coming off a non-playoff season is no time to break that streak.
Weight: 274 pounds
The Steelers can't afford to gamble with their top pick, and that's just what they'd be doing if they drafted Ezekiel Ansah.
Ansah comes with a ton of upside, but with just one year under his belt as a full-time starter, he's still raw.
The native of Ghana tried out for basketball and ran track at BYU. He joined the football team in 2010, even though he was concerned about the physicality of the game.
When he began playing football three years ago, according to NFL.com, Ansah said he regarded his body as a "delicate flower." At face value, that's probably not what NFL scouts want to hear from prospects.
Ansah registered on the draft radar in 2012 with 62 total tackles, 13 for loss, 4.5 sacks and nine pass breakups.
The problem is, all are 4-3 defensive ends. The Steelers run a 3-4. Not only is Ansah a bust risk, but he might not be a good fit in Pittsburgh.
Weight: 320 pounds
Assuming they lose Casey Hampton in free agency, the Steelers would be better off starting Steve McLendon at nose tackle in 2013 or seeing if Alameda Ta'amu's light goes on upstairs.
Johnathan Hankins' productivity slipped between his sophomore and junior seasons. He went from 11 tackles for loss to four, and from three sacks to one. He was fifth on the team in 2012 with 55 tackles.
Hankins commits a lot of penalties, according to NFL Draft Scout, and often gets tired and "takes plays off."
He also needs to watch his weight.
NFL Draft Scout didn't directly compare Hankins to Vernon Gholston and Dan Wilkinson, but did point out that Hankins went to Ohio State, just like those NFL busts.
The Steelers shouldn't be the team that gives Hankins a chance to distance himself from those names.
Weight: 240 pounds
Barkevious Mingo might be off the board when the Steelers choose at No. 17 in the first round.
If he somehow falls, the Steelers should pass on him.
NFL.com labels Mingo as "boom or bust," and the Steelers aren't the type of franchise that rolls the dice like that.
Mingo projects as an outside linebacker at the next level, according to NFL Draft Scout, even though he's never played the position.
He's another player whose numbers went down from his sophomore to his junior season, but is entering the draft nonetheless. He went from 46 tackles, 15 for loss and eight sacks in 2011 to 38 tackles, 8.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2012.
Mingo was at or near the top of NFL Draft Scout's prospect rankings at the beginning of the 2012 season. Now, NFL Draft Scout ranks him 24th on its "Big Board" of top-64 draft prospects, saying "at this point he remains a largely unpolished product who relies on natural tools rather than technique to make plays."
According to NFL.com, "he failed to show much overall growth in his game over the course of his career."
Weight: 260 pounds
Sam Montgomery led LSU with eight sacks in 2012 and also made 37 tackles, 13 for loss.
Like teammate Barkevious Mingo, Montgomery's skills didn't develop all that much during his time at LSU.
Montgomery likely would have to gain about 20 pounds to be a defensive end in the Steelers' 3-4 defense.
Weight: 206 pounds
The Steelers will need to beef up their receiving corps if Mike Wallace signs a big contract and runs a go-route out of Pittsburgh.
They should avoid Da'Rick Rogers, who has "character concerns" written all over him.
Is the Steelers roster filled with choir boys? No.
However, after what happened with 2012 draft picks Alameda Ta'amu and Chris Rainey, the Steelers need to be extra careful in the 2013 draft when it comes to character.
Ta'amu was arrested on several charges in October after allegedly driving drunk, crashing into several cars, injuring a woman in one of those cars and trying to flee, according to ESPN.com.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ta'amu was arrested for driving under the influence in 2011 when he played at the University of Washington, but the Steelers drafted him anyway.
Ta'amu is still on the team, unlike Rainey.
The Steelers waived Rainey last month after Rainey was arrested and charged with simple battery stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend, according to NFL.com. Rainey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor stalking when he played at Florida, but the Steelers gave him a chance.
Before the 2012 season, Rogers transferred from Tennessee to Football Championship Subdivision Tennessee Tech after being suspended indefinitely by Volunteers coach Derek Dooley.
Rogers told the Associated Press via USA Today that failed drug tests prompted his exit from Tennessee.
His laundry list of transgressions didn't end there.
Rogers was arrested during his freshman season for his part in a brawl that involved teammates, according to NFL Draft Scout. He also skipped several workouts with teammates and had run-ins with then-Tennessee receivers coach Charlie Baggett.
After what happened with Ta'amu and Rainey, the Steelers no longer have the latitude to draft guys like that.
Weight: 197 pounds
Andre Ellington seems like more of a third-down running back at the next level. The Steelers will need more than that if they lose Rashard Mendenhall.
Ellington ran for 1,081 yards on 212 carries (better than five yards a carry) with eight touchdowns in 2012.
However, Ellington is undersized and his less-than-ideal upper-body strength makes him prone to fumbles, according to NFL.com. Also, his blocking needs work. According to NFL.com, he "lays down at the feet of defenders instead of holding his ground."
According to NFL Draft Scout, Ellington battled hamstring injuries throughout his college career. Those injuries can linger.