Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 pm30 9:37pm

Three and out: Pittsburgh Steelers' 2018 NFL draft needs, prospect fits

CLOSE

SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis and Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz discuss which teams could be looking to trade up in the 2018 NFL draft. USA TODAY Sports

CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE

In the build-up to the 2018 draft, USA TODAY Sports will take a look at each NFL team’s situation and needs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

1. They were a different team after defensive anchor Ryan Shazier went down with a spinal injury late last season. The Steelers have drafted a linebacker with their first-round selection in three of the past four years. They may very well make it four of five.

Advice: Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch or Alabama’s Rashaan Evans could be reasonable targets with the 28th overall pick. But if Pittsburgh’s search extends beyond the first round, players like South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard and Iowa’s Josey Jewell could also be solid fits in coordinator Keith Butler’s defense.

More: NFL mock draft 2018: Projecting first-round trades

More: UCLA’s Josh Rosen hardly first Millennial who could challenge NFL coaches

More: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen among 22 players selected to attend NFL draft

2. Ben Roethlisberger has pondered retirement in recent years, making the need to find the next franchise quarterback a growing priority.

Advice: The Steelers don’t own a fourth rounder, so if they pounce on a passer, it has to be in the draft’s first two days. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Washington State’s Luke Falk and Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta are among the realistic targets.

3. It may seem odd for a team with Le’Veon Bell at running back to possibly be considering replacement options. But because Bell’s ongoing contract negotiations haven’t been smooth, his long-term future with the franchise remains in doubt. If Bell and GM Kevin Colbert can’t hammer out an extension, it seems highly unlikely Pittsburgh would franchise Bell for the third straight year in 2019.

Advice: This draft is deep at running back and might even offer players with three-down skill sets close to Bell’s. USC’s Ronald Jones, Georgia’s Sony Michel, LSU’s Derrius Guice and San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny could be available on Day 2, though it’s not likely any will last until the Steelers are on the clock at No. 60. Colbert would probably have to make some kind of move to get one of them.

***

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes

2018 NFL mock draft: Projecting first-round trades

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

1. Browns — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

1. Browns — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming  Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports
2. Bills (from Giants) — Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. Bills (from Giants) — Sam Darnold, QB, USC  Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports
3. Jets (from Colts) — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

3. Jets (from Colts) — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA  Sergio Estrada, USA TODAY Sports
4. Browns (from Texans) — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn

4. Browns (from Texans) — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State  Matt Kartozian, USA TODAY Sports
5. Broncos — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

5. Broncos — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State  Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports
6. Colts (from Jets) — Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina

6. Colts (from Jets) — Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State  Rob Kinnan, USA TODAY Sports
7. Giants (from Buccaneers) — Quenton Nelson, G, Notre

7. Giants (from Buccaneers) — Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame  Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports
8. Bears — Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

8. Bears — Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama  Christopher Hanewinckel, Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
9. 49ers — Derwin James, S, Florida State

9. 49ers — Derwin James, S, Florida State  Logan Bowles, USA TODAY Sports
10. Cardinals (from Raiders) - Baker Mayfield, QB,

10. Cardinals (from Raiders) – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma  Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports
11. Dolphins — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

11. Dolphins — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia  Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
12. Buccaneers (from Bengals via Bills and Giants)

12. Buccaneers (from Bengals via Bills and Giants) — Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida  Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports
13. Redskins — Vita Vea, DT, Washington

13. Redskins — Vita Vea, DT, Washington  Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY Sports
14. Chargers (from Packers) — Tremaine Edmunds, LB,

14. Chargers (from Packers) — Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech  James Guillory, USA TODAY Sports
15. Raiders (from Cardinals) — Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

15. Raiders (from Cardinals) — Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama  John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports
16. Ravens — Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

16. Ravens — Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio  Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports
17. Packers (from Chargers) — Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

17. Packers (from Chargers) — Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama  John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports
18. Steelers (from Seahawks) — Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

18. Steelers (from Seahawks) — Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama  Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
19. Cowboys — DJ Moore, WR, Maryland

19. Cowboys — DJ Moore, WR, Maryland  Gregory Fisher, USA TODAY Sports
20. Patriots (from Lions) — Harold Landry, OLB/DE,

20. Patriots (from Lions) — Harold Landry, OLB/DE, Boston College  Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
21. Bengals (from Bills) — James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

21. Bengals (from Bills) — James Daniels, C/G, Iowa  Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports
22. Giants (from Chiefs via Bills) — Taven Bryan, DT,

22. Giants (from Chiefs via Bills) — Taven Bryan, DT, Florida  Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports
23. Patriots (from Rams) — Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre

23. Patriots (from Rams) — Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame  Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports
24. Panthers — Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

24. Panthers — Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M  John Glaser, USA TODAY Sports
25. Titans — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

25. Titans — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State  Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports
26. Falcons — Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso

26. Falcons — Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso  Ivan Pierre Aguirre, USA TODAY Sports
27. Saints — Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford

27. Saints — Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford  Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
28. Seahawks (from Steelers) — Joshua Jackson, CB,

28. Seahawks (from Steelers) — Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa  Jeff Hanisch, Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
29. Dolphins (from Jaguars) — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

29. Dolphins (from Jaguars) — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville  Melina Vastola, USA TODAY Sports
30. Vikings — Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

30. Vikings — Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville  Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports
31. Lions (from Patriots) — Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

31. Lions (from Patriots) — Sony Michel, RB, Georgia  Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports

CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE

Related posts