I love the draft. The possibilities this year are seemingly endless. But, before you get to0 invested in players, keep the following in mind...
Defensive playmakers: We did not force many turnovers nor get enough pressure on the QB last year. This will be addressed. Look at athletic pass rushing freaks early and DBs who have instincts, ball skills, and cause turnovers (i.e. lots of college ints and/or FF) throughout the draft. If Ziggy Ansah, Jarvis Jones, or Dion Jordan fall in this draft we will scoop them up, even if we have to trade up a little. I don't believe the Steelers will like Mingo and Damontre Moore as much. Mingo did not produce enough as a pass rusher (even with great talent around him). And Moore did not succeed in the Von Miller (rover) role that is so much like a 3-4 linebacker. Moore only found his way when he was moved to the base end position (and I think he'll put on some weight and play DE in the pros). DB playmakers the Steelers should like include safeties Matt Elam, Cyprien, and Phillip Thomas and cornerbacks Trufant, Amerson, Poyer, Slay, and Jamar Taylor.
OL: We are switching to a straight zone scheme. We will no longer be looking at plodding 330-350 pound offensive linemen. They will be looking for athletic, trimmer guys that can bend, redirect, and run. They will also be looking at smarter, more technique savy guys, I believe. I understand they met with Jonathan Cooper and Lane Johnson at the Combine (per Walter Football). These types of players and guys like Kyle Long, Barrett Jones, and Menelik Watson in round 2 are the new prototype. Later round targets could include Joe Madsen of WVU, Vinston Painter of VA Tech, and Tanner Hawkinson of Kansas.
RB: Again the zone scheme runners will be high on the list. These guys have good vision and anticipation. They are known for making one cut and hitting the hole quickly. We will also be looking for a 3rd down/change of pace guy after losing Rainey. Zone runners will include Eddie Lacy, Mike Gillislee, Montee Ball early. And, Michael Ford, Rex Burkhead, and Cameron Marshall in middle to late rounds. Change of pace runners with good receiving skills and zone running ability include Gio Bernard and Joseph Randle early, then Kerwynn Williams and Kenyon Barner in the middle rounds.
This is a fantastic TE draft. There will be great value in the middle rounds. Eifert, Escobar, and Ertz will all go in the top two rounds. But, some of the other athletic, basketball-type TEs like Fauria, Toilolo, Kelce, and Vance McDonald should be available late on day 2 or early on day 3. This type of player can play inline and out wide and is effective in the red zone and on 3rd down. Furthermore, our new zone scheme could make more use out of these types of weapons than before.
WR-This WR class lacks top end talent. But the class has enough depth that drafting a WR in the middle rounds could provide good/better value. For the life of me, I have no idea what type of WR Todd Haley would like to add to Brown, Cotchery, and Sanders. You'd think he'd like a burner, but he really didn't use Wallace in that role. So, I guess that is not a priority. Look at guys that run great routes and have solid hands like Steadman Bailey, Markus Wheaton, Quinton Patton, Terrance Williams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Ryan Swope. Or, less likely, guys that create after short catches like Austin, Ace Sanders, or Chad Bumphis. I'd love a big physical guy like Patterson or Cobi Hamilton. But, I don't see it happening.
ILB: Timmons' ability to play all three down affords the team the ability to choose a 2 down run stuffer or find someone athletic enough to stay on the field in passing situations as a blitzer or coverage guy. This is a decent ILB draft. There are a lot of 240 pound linebackers who would fit nicely next to Timmons. Minter, Te'o, Khaseem Greene, Gerald Hodges, Jon Bostic, Ty Powell, and Vince Williams are all possiblities. I believe Ogeltree will be off their list after the DUI so close to the draft.