- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter put down his BlackBerry for a few minutes to address the Steelers' draft in his latest mailbag. This is what Schefter had to say when asked about Pittsburgh's priority in the draft:
This draft is so deep at defensive tackle that it's easy to see the Steelers looking in that direction on draft day. The one thing about Pittsburgh's defense is that it's aging, quickly -- the Steelers need an infusion of youth and talent. Then again, they also could use some reinforcements to help protect Ben Roethlisberger. But the needs along the defensive line would seem to be the most pressing and if there's a bona fide prospect available, Pittsburgh could pounce on him.
There's no question that the Steelers have depth issues on the defensive line. Nose tackle Casey Hampton (ACL) might start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which would sideline him for the first six games. Defensive end Aaron Smith was released and longtime backup nose tackle Chris Hoke retired.
According to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., the top defensive tackles in the draft are: Memphis' Dontari Poe, LSU's Michael Brockers, Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Cincinnati's Derek Wolfe. Poe and Cox are expected to be drafted before the Steelers pick at No. 24. Most mock drafts have the Steelers taking Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower in the first round.