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Pittsburgh Steelers' mailbag II: What are the team's two biggest draft needs?

4/11/2015

Here is the second part of the Pittsburgh Steelers' mailbag. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with the #mail.

@ScottBrown_ESPN I will give you defensive back, specifically cornerback, but I think outside linebacker is right up there with cornerback. I don't see nose tackle as a pressing need since Steve McLendon is solid when healthy and since the Steelers have a developmental player at the position. Now if there is some sort of crystal ball out there that tells the Steelers they can draft the second coming of Casey Hampton they shouldn't hesitate to do it. But unless a defensive tackle falls to them at No. 22 overall who has a significantly higher draft grade than any cornerback or outside linebacker prospects available, I think the Steelers should use their first pick on a cornerback or a pass rusher. I would argue that pass rusher is their most glaring need since the Steelers managed just 33 sacks last season, their lowest total since 1989, and have just three outside linebackers with NFL experience, including James Harrison, turns 37 in less than a month. The Steelers have to add young talent at a position that has been one of the glamour ones on their defense but has fallen on lean times.

@ScottBrown_ESPN Archer is listed as a wide receiver and a running back but I'm not sure he would thrive as a slot receiver. Those players have to sort through their share of traffic -- and bumps and shoves from linebackers -- after the snap, and Archer would probably struggle with that because of his size. I agree that Archer is not a full-time running back and certainly not a traditional one. It is incumbent upon the coaches to find ways to get him the ball in space, where he can use his world-class speed to exploit mismatches. I go back to the Steelers' 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last December. Chiefs rookie running back De'Anthony Thomas caught six passes for 47 yards in the game and Kansas City found ways to get him the ball in places where he could use his speed and quickness. Archer and Thomas are similar players with similar builds. That game could provide something of a blueprint for the Steelers as they try to incorporate Archer into their offense moving forward.

@ScottBrown_ESPN I won't rule out the first round since I think general manager Kevin Colbert is sincere when he says that the Steelers stick to their draft board and don't draft for need. Colbert, by the way, is not a big fan of the word "need" so it won't be a shock if the Steelers use their first-round pick on an offensive player who falls to them, most likely an offensive lineman. They could also take Minnesota's Maxx Williams at No. 22 if they really like him. The Steelers need to add young players at tight end, and Williams could be the ideal long-term replacement for Heath Miller. If the Steelers don't take Williams in the first round or move down in a trade, they aren't going to get a crack at him with where they are picking in the second round. All of that said, I think the defense will be addressed with the Steelers' first pick. It would not surprise me if they go defense with their first three picks and go get a wide receiver, tight end and running back later in the draft.

@ScottBrown_ESPN They appear to be open to it, at least. I use the word appear because Marcus Peters' pre-draft visit with the Steelers last Thursday could have been part of the subterfuge that is as much a part of this time of year as mock drafts. Maybe the Steelers brought Peters in for a visit to keep teams guessing about which cornerbacks they prefer with that position clearly in play for their first-round pick. I don't think that is the case with Peters and believe the Steelers wanted a face-to-face meeting with the Washington product before they start finalizing their draft board. The question that the Steelers -- and other teams -- have to answer is whether the run-ins with the Washington coaches that led to Peters' dismissal from the team last November were out of character or whether they are part of a pattern that will follow him to the NFL. Peters' talent is undeniable, and he might be the best cornerback in the draft. But the Steelers better be comfortable with his character to use a first-round pick on Peters. Believe me; they will do their homework on that end.