The Steelers lost some big time talent this offseason, but Mike Tomlin and company will try to replace some of it in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
Head coach Mike Tomlin is desperately hoping for a more peaceful 2019 season after getting rid of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Their respective departures do leave Pittsburgh a little short of high-end talent though. Nailing the No. 20 overall selection in this year’s draft could really help correct that issue.
Steelers fans thinking they’re going to draft an offensive playmaker capable of replacing either Brown or Bell’s production need to dial those expectations way down. Pittsburgh’s front office is very likely to spend their first round pick on a defensive player. Remember, the team played all of last season without Bell and still put up plenty of points. There’s significant optimism inside the organization that JuJu Smith-Schuster can pick up the slack for Brown’s defection.
Where the Steelers lost games in 2018 was on the defensive side of the football. The franchise is still looking for an athletic linebacker to replace what Ryan Shazier gave them prior to his injury. The need to find a cornerback capable of holding down the spot opposite Joe Haden is also pressing. Of course, Pittsburgh could always look to augment their pass rush with another high impact player. This piece will detail five guys who could become Steelers on Day 1 of the draft.
5. Johnathan Abram
Abram isn’t going to solve the Steelers issues at cornerback, but he is arguably the best safety in this class. Adding a guy with his type of athleticism in the final third might help the corners currently on the Pittsburgh roster look much better in 2019.
The former Mississippi State star also has the swagger that has defined the safety position for the Steelers in the past. The franchise never really replaced Troy Polamalu. Abram doesn’t have that kind of upside, but he does have that sort of hitting ability.