One of the things we pride ourselves on here at SCB is being honest. We want to give you our honest opinions about the Steelers strive to do that every time we write. That said, this is one of those moments where I can be brutally honest. I really don’t know who the Steelers are targeting with the 25th pick in the NFL Draft. I believe they have it narrowed down but because there is so much that can happen in the 24 selections ahead of them, it’s beyond difficult to peg just one guy.
I do however think there might be a way to figure this all out though. When in doubt, the ‘process of elimination’ makes too much sense doesn’t it?
First, the Steelers have never selected a cornerback in the first round under the leadership of Mike Tomlin. Furthermore, they haven’t selected a corner during the tenure of General Manager Kevin Colbert. The last corner taken in round one by the Pittsburgh Steelers was Chad Scott in 1997. Therefore, we can cross cornerback off the list of potential candidates.
Next, we have the position of nose tackle. It’s not happening folks and most of you already know why. The Steelers just don’t use the nose as often as they once did. Had Casey Hampton, the last NT to be drafted in the first round by the Steelers, were in this year’s draft, his value would be much less significant than it was when he picked. A true nose tackle is just not going to happen.
What about another linebacker you ask? Well, in the last three seasons the Steelers have used their number one pick to select Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree. All three are still on the roster and have made positive contributions to an extent but all three have also lacked consistency. While we should never rule out an outside backer for the Steelers, we must apply similar rules here as we have to the nose tackle position. With the 3-4 not truly the base D any longer, has that changed what the Steelers want in terms of an edge rusher? I believe it has.
At this point you must be figuring that safety will be the selection then right? Well, not so much. Not since 2003 have the Steelers used their first round pick on a safety. Even then, they traded up to get future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu and I’m not convinced there’s anyone in this draft worth doing that for at the safety position. It’s a deep draft for safeties but I wouldn’t say there’s anyone worth spending the 25th overall pick on.
At this point, I’ve narrowed things down quite a bit but let’s rip through the obvious positions we know it won’t be in the first. There won’t be a QB or a running back or a wide receiver. I hold out small chances for an offensive linemen or tight end but those would be very, very small and would require the draft ahead of the Steelers to have gone crazy.
With all of this laid out and as of this day (April 12th), I believe the Steelers will select a defensive lineman. Andrew Billings, Shaq Lawson, A’Shawn Robinson or Sheldon Rankins are the names I have it narrowed down to. The major factor here will be whether which of these guys can play multiple positions along the front.
Through the process of elimination, this is what I see right now for the Steelers in round one. Ask me again in two days and I could have a totally different take.