The Steelers haven't drafted a corner in the first round since Chad Scott in 1997. Brice McCain is already gone, Cortez Allen has been a disappointment and the team is likely better off without an aging Ike Taylor. Michigan State's Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters of Washington are widely considered to be the two best corners in the draft. GM Kevin Colbert would be fortunate to land either at 22nd overall, but Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson would be a solid consolation prize. LSU's Jalen Collins is also getting attention, but he only started 10 games in his collegiate career. The wild-card here is Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who was widely considered a first-round pick before tearing his ACL last season. He would be a steal in the third round.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsScott Olmos
If the Steelers don't take a cornerback in the first round, they will surely look to boost their pass rush. Kentucky's Bud Dupree may be too enticing to pass up if he falls to 22. Also keep an eye out for a slide by Nebraska's Randy Gregory after he tested positive for marijuana at the combine. If Pittsburgh decides to wait, Washington's Hau'oli Kikaha and Lorenzo Mauldin of Louisville warrant consideration in the third round while Georgia's Ray Drew falls into the late-round sleeper category.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsMark Zerof
With the sun setting on Troy Polamalu's time in Pittsburgh, the time is now to upgrade the safety position. Mike Mitchell is coming off a disappointing first season under Mike Tomlin, and Shamarko Thomas is an injury waiting to happen. The prize of the class is Alabama's Landon Collins, the only safety with a consensus first-round grade. Cody Prewitt of Ole Miss could be target in the second; at the very least he'll give Steelers fans another flowing mane at the back of the defense.
The constraints of the salary cap make it unlikely that the Steelers will be able to keep their starting offensive line together over the next two years, as everyone not named Maurkice Pouncey or Marcus Gilbert becomes eligible for free agency. If there is an early run on pass rushers and corners, LSU offensive tackle La'El Collins would be a prime target at 22nd overall. If the Steelers decide to wait, keep an eye out for Oklahoma offensive tackle Daryl Williams in the third round.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Heath Miller isn't getting any younger, so it might be time to start grooming his replacement. Minnesota's Maxx Williams is the only tight end worthy of a first-round selection, but the Steelers will likely focus on defense early. Don't count on a second-round selection of Clive Walford either, but a mid-round pick of Penn State's Jesse James or Nick O'Leary of Florida State is likely more realistic.