2011 NFL Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

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2011 NFL Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Last week I broke down the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive draft needs. Yet again, the Steelers need help along their offensive line and could use improved depth at tight end and running back.

The Steelers defense is still in good shape, but they must re-sign cornerback Ike Taylor once a CBA is reached. Even with Taylor in play, Pittsburgh will need to upgrade their defensive backfield.

Another area of concern is the age of the defense with long-time starters Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, James Farrior and James Harrison all another year older. With so many important pieces to one of the best defenses in the league on the downside of their careers, it is necessary that Pittsburgh adds youth.

Last year, the Steelers did find a couple of potential keepers in linebackers Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester, but those are only two potential future starters, if they develop.

Pittsburgh wins with great defense and to continue to do so, they must reload their defense. They cannot wait until the aging pieces fall apart leaving gaping holes. Do not be surprised if the Steelers try to make the strongest unit of their team even strong with this year’s draft.

Each position on defense will be analyzed and I will rate the draft need on a 1-10 scale with a “1” meaning that there is no need, a “5” meaning more quality depth is needed at the position, and “10” meaning there is an immediate need to upgrade the position. Here are the defensive needs:

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