Pittsburgh Steelers: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Ben Roethlisberger

With a possibility of 2 or 3 of the top QBs in this draft class available by time the Steelers pick at No. 30, it could be time to select the player who could become Roethlisberger’s heir apparent.

After 13 seasons the Pittsburgh Steelers are getting dangerously close to saying goodbye to Ben Roethlisberger. With a possibility of two or three of the top quarterbacks in this draft class available by time the Steelers pick at No. 30, it should be time for G.M. Kevin Colbert to take this looming issue seriously enough and select the player who could become the heir to their future Hall of Fame signal-caller.

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Key additions

  • DL Tyson Alualu
  • WR Justin Hunter

Key subtractions

  • ILB Lawrence Timmons
  • WR Markus Wheaton

Priority needs (Offense)

  • QB…Even though Ben Roethlisberger is most likely returning next season, his indecision on the subject must be a major red flag for the organization as they look ahead at life without their future Hall of Fame signal-caller. Better to be safe than sorry of they’ll leave themselves with Landry Jones and lots of second-guessing.
  • WR…Since the Steelers shouldn’t wager on a successful return of Martavis Bryant from suspension and with Bryant also set to become a free agent after the season, G.M. Kevin Colbert should take a long look at selecting a big play weapon as insurance. Signing Justin Hunter is a smart move because he’s the type of prospect that could be a great fit here, but that can’t be enough. Also, keep in mind the Steelers missed both Bryant and Markus Wheaton, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. If Colbert neglects to draft a receiver and anything happens to Antonio Brown this position will be a huge issue.
  • TE…Jesse James is not Heath Miller and Ladarius Green is concussion prone. Enough said.

Priority needs (Defense)

  • LB…With Lawrence Timmons gone and James Harrison turning 39 this season the Steelers will be looking early for players here.
  • CB…Senquez Golson hasn’t played in his two seasons with the Steelers thanks to a shoulder injury his rookie season and a foot injury in year-two. Even though veteran William Gay had a strong season he’s 32 and not getting any younger.

Final analysis

Colbert has tried three times to grab a difference-making linebacker in the first-round since 2013 without the desired results. He missed early on Jarvis Jones who turned out to be a huge disappointment and was then free to bolt for Arizona while Bud Dupree has failed so far to take that next step. Ryan Shazier has experienced some hits and misses so the jury is still out on that pick too. This leaves me to believe Colbert would be wise to skip spending another first-round pick on a linebacker and instead go with the top offensive skill position player on his board.

Top first-round options

  • QB DeShone Kizer
  • QB Patrick Mahomes
  • QB Deshaun Watson
  • WR Cooper Kupp
  • TE David Njoku
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