Which positions will need bolstered in the draft and FA?
There are the obvious thin positions and then there are the iffy ones, where we aren't really sure if a current player is capable of being a solid starter or not.
- Safety. If Clark is gone, but Troy returns, how much of a priority is safety? Is the team confident the Shark will become a solid starter, or will they feel the need to draft one in the first 3 rounds? I just don't know. We know he can hit, but can he cover well enough? Are Golden and Allen possible quality starters?
- NT. I see some think McClendon is no where near good enough, and others say he graded out much better than Casey. What is the truth? I don't know. But I think it's safe to say they will add another body at NT. I have seen some think Fangupo could be legit. Again, IDK. At 6', 325 he seems built for a 3-4 NT. He hit 36 reps of 225, so he has power. My guess is they will pick another body up to try to upgrade at NT, but how high a priority? They might go here fairly early if there is someone they really like.
- DE. I know it's going to pain some of you, but with Keisel and Hood likely gone, they are going to have to spend a fairly high pick on DE, again. But as I posted previously, we used to get our DEs in the mid and later rounds. Our best DEs in the last few years - Aaron Jones and Keisel - were later round picks. Can they once again find quality out of the top two rounds? I hope so, but I don't know if they feel they can risk it, being that we are losing two of former starters.
- CB. This is real murky. Ike is getting old. Gay has played better than most all of us thought. I would say they will be going CB pretty early. Brown has proven 100% incapable as a CB, even 4th string is beyond his ability. Cortez seems solid. But talk about thin. They may need to draft two CB or actually sign a decent free agent, but that is quite rare. Leboo wants to groom his CBs from day one of their NFL career, and then needs 3 yeas before he thinks they can play. I am guessing the staff thinks Ike is still a top CB. But there is no way they can deny they need something better than Brown and Green.
- OT. Surprisingly, with the emergence of Beachum, we might not be in dire straights at OT. I still expect them to draft another body, but it might not be top priority at this point.
- OLB. This is also murky. Do they bring Woodley back? Do they try to sign Worilds to a medium-priced deal? Can they assume Jones will make the leap and get bigger and stronger and truly fill the roll as a starting OLB? I doubt they gamble and lose both Woodley and Worilds. One will be back. But the whole team is built on those OLBs. If they aren't top shelf, the D can't cut it. How high do they draft another body?
- ILB. Timmons is a stud; I don't care what anyone says. But is Williams capable of being a solid starter? IDK. I read the piece where he said how overwhelming it was to understand the D as a rookie. Now he isn't a rookie, so he could pan out to be quality. Then we have the long shot in Spense coming back. Might have to draft one all things considered.
- WR. Sanders will be gone. Cotchery will get signed back. (He isn't going to want to go to a new team. He fits in with Pgh.) Wheaton could emerge if he is healthy. They still need another WR, but they have proven they can get quality WRs after the 3rd round, which I expect them to do once again. I also like that kid Brown but I am not sure Moye will cut it. He dropped that pass in the endzone. That doesn't mean anything? IDK, the ball hit him in the hands and he failed to catch it, ala Sweed, who just never was able to catch anything.
- OG. DD started playing like the guy we thought we drafted, and Foster is capable of being acceptable. Not a glaring need compared to all of the above positions.
- TE. Miller finally came on in the last 4 games; he was not ready when he first came back and had to knock some rust off, but the old Heath finally emerged. We have nothing after him, tho. I expect him to be the old Heath in 2014, but Spaeth is mostly worthless and Paulson's hands are iffy.
Realistically, they are an 8-8 team which is who they are. Looking at the roster, we are in pretty thin shape in too many areas. I know they got kind of hot down the stretch, but that in no way means they will start where they left off with so many positions with so many question marks. They need to really kill this draft in order to avoid more non-winning seasons. The only positions that we are set at, barring injuries, is QB, HB1, WR1, TE1, ILB1, CB1,2, SS, LOLB (barely, Woodley not really getting it done). There are legit concerns at NT, OLB, FS, WR2, ROT, DE, CB....lots to keep them up at night.