NFL draft watch: Steelers have big needs in front of Big Ben

NFL draft watch: Steelers have big needs in front of Big Ben
April 19, 2012, 9:28 pm
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No doubt when it comes to the Redskins this season, NFL mock drafts are drama-free. For Washingtons 2012 opponents, now thats another story. Therefore, leading up to the first round on April 26, we will look at the needs and the projected selections from the pundit class for those on the Redskins upcoming schedule. Next team under the microscope, the Pittsburgh Steelers, owners of the 24th pick. See the bottom of the page for a list of teams previously featured.Needs: Offensive line, inside linebacker,nose tackle,running back, secondaryNobody will argue should the Steelers use their first pick on a pass protector, especially with four games against the Ravens and Bengals defenses. Frequently banged up but almost always getting up quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 42 times last season. Expect tackle options for them to choose from in the 20's, though one gets the sense evaluators are not falling in love with the those not named Matt Kalil. On the other side, theSteel Curtainparted ways withinside linebacker James Farrior and are seeking youth at nose tackle and secondary depth. Free agent wide receiver has yet to sign, but if the Steelers are going for a skill player, it will be at running back as RashardMendenhall's mends from a torn ACL and the remaining depth is spotty.Charley Casserly, NFL.com:Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. "Youth is needed at offensive tackle."Evan Silva, Pro Football Talk:Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford. "Pittsburgh passes on line help to draft the best player "left."Rob Rang, CBSSports: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State. "Nowhere was the Steelers' age and lack of quality depth more obvious last season than along the offensive line. Rookie Marcus Gilbert played well and the team still has the versatile Willie Colon capable of lining up at right tackle or inside at guard. With the depth at tackle in the 2012 draft dropping off sharply, Pittsburgh might be wise to heed the early run at the position with Adams."Notes: Rang's call of Adams came before Thursday's revelation that the massive Buckeye tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. Not sure if the news drops him down or out of the first round, but again, the Steelers need more big uglies up front...I get the best available theory and smart teams win with that strategy, but with all due respect to my pal Evan I would be stunned if the Steelers went tight end in round no matter Fleener's impressive down field ability. That is not a Heath Miller endorsement, just other areas require attention...My mock draft prediction is Alabama ILB Dont'a Hightower and thedefensive tackle prospects (Dontari Poe, Michael Brockers) willbe enticingif available...In the second, Casserlysent another offensive lineman tothe Steel city withMidwestern State guardAmini Silatou while I currently project Iowa State guard Kelechi Osemele.Previous Redskins 2012 opponent recapsBaltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland BrownsBen Standigblogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C. area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.netand follow him on Twitter @BenStandig