NFL Draft: Casey Hampton Deal May Turn Steelers' Focus Elsewhere

David KlinglerCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2010

PITTSBURGH - MAY 01:  Casey Hampton #98 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches the rookies during rookie training camp at the Pittsburgh Steelers Practice Facility on May 1, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers' signing of Casey Hampton to a three year deal worth a reported $21.3 million, $11 million guaranteed, may change Pittsburgh's priorities come draft time.

While defensive line depth is still an area of concern, the Steelers may not feel the urgency to use their first pick on a nose tackle such as Dan Williams or Terrence Cody.

This would allow the Steelers to focus their attention on the sagging secondary, which is in need of an impact player who can contribute immediately.

Ike Taylor is adequate at best, with less than stellar ball skills.

The other corner spot was manned by William Gay last year, who struggled mightily, and was the constant target of opposing quarterbacks, particularly on third downs.

The Steelers have holdovers from last season's draft, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett. They remain prospects whose value has yet to be realized and may not for some time.

One discouraging sign is that late last season, when Gay was struggling, the Steelers turned to ageless wonder Deshea Townsend rather than give one of the two rookies a chance.

It may be worth it to the Steelers to invest an early draft pick on a cornerback, where the considerable talent difference from that of a late round prospect could pay immediate dividends in the secondary.

Thanks to Casey Hampton's new deal, the Steelers now have that option.