2015 NFL DRAFT

2013 Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers spotlight

By Jeff Reynolds | NFLDraftScout.com

Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 draft picks: 17, 48, 79, 115, 150, 186, 206 (comp. pick), 223

Primary needs: OLB, RB, WR, DL, DB

General manager: Kevin Colbert, 13th season

Recent draft picks that clicked:

--WR Antonio Brown, 195th overall, 2010

--WR Mike Wallace, 84th overall, 2009

--CB Keenan Lewis, 96th overall, 2009

--LB LaMarr Woodley, 46th overall, 2007

Matching the Emmanuel Sanders offer sheet from New England on Sunday decreases the chances of adding veterans and amplifies the pressure on GM Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin to maximize the Steelers' draft assets.

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw is scheduled to visit the Steelers a second time prior to the draft, but signing him isn't an option at present. The team was left with only $700,000 of salary cap space after matching Sanders' $2.5 million deal.

Tomlin said the "new ingredients, especially significant ones" should be viewed as a coaching challenge.

"It's up to us to make it come together," he said.

And it'll be up to Colbert to score a few starters in 2013.

Five players that should be on the Pittsburgh Steelers draft radar:

Player, school (overall rating, position rating)

LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia (16, 3)

James Harrison is gone, LaMarr Woodley had a down season in 2012. The Steelers aren't betting on Sean Spence playing in 2013; his injury is to be considered career-threatening until proven otherwise. The last time the Steelers went linebacker in the first round, they went with Lawrence Timmons (15th overall in 2007. Three years into his career, he became a regular starter. This year, Colbert and Tomlin need an instant impact. Jones had 19.5 tackles for loss last season and 13.5 sacks in the SEC. His pro day workout was forgettable, but the same was true of Terrell Suggs in 2003.

RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama (28, 1)

Rashard Mendenhall is gone and the Steelers are in dire need of a No. 1 back. The mix-and-match committee used last season didn't work -- Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are seen as complementary backs. The Steelers need a horse and they likely will try to get one in the draft. Lacy isn't a home-run threat, but he'll restore the running game the Steelers have lacked for the better part of two seasons.

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee (57, 7)

When Plaxico Burress is a moderate threat to start, depth is a four-alarm issue. Sanders is no more than a slot receiver and Brown has never been a No. 1 option. TE Heath Miller's recovery from a torn ACL could stretch into training camp. Hunter fits the mold of a No. 1 receiver -- 6-4, 200, 40-inch vertical, 4.36 40-yard dash -- even if there are only flashes of that in 2013. Ben Roethlisberger hasn't experienced an elite receiver since the early part of the 2011 season.

SS Shawn Williams, Georgia (104, 4)

Williams isn't a superb athlete, but he's a heady, instinctive player who could provide added flexibility to Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme because of a his skill set. He's definitely not Troy Polamalu -- think Bernard Pollard -- but with age and contract questions lingering, it's time for the Steelers to consider who's next.

DE Joe Kruger, Utah (20, 257)

At 6-6, 270, Kruger could be the next Aaron Smith in the Steelers' 3-4 at defensive end or be tried at left outside linebacker as a Willie McGinest-type of edge-setter with sneaky burst.

 
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