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The Pittsburgh Steelers went 13-3 last year but were upset at home in their first playoff game against the Jacksonville Jags. A fine regular season went down the drain with that loss. As a Steelers fan I was confident of their chances of going back to another Super Bowl until Ryan Shazier suffered his tragic injury on MNF late in the season. He was their best defensive player and was all over the field. The replacements for him were adequate at best. The offense with Big Ben- Bell, Brown and Company were not the problem for the Steelers it was their defense- even with Shazier they were suspect. The Steelers are a linebacker driven defense and going into this draft they have used 4 of the last 5 first rounders on the linebacking position. Other needs- Bell has become a problem not with his ability but with his holdouts and salary demands. I expect that they will address that position in round 2 or 3. They could always use help in the defensive backfield and Big Ben isn’t getting any younger but I’d be shocked to see the Steelers- who have to be among the favorites in the AFC this year drafting a player who would sit for a year or two. With Shazier’s injury and I expect it to have been a career ending one- they need help at linebacker again and I expect they will draft one. Hopefully the pick will be a better one than some of the recent first rounders. In 2013 Jarvis Jones turned out to be worthless, 2014 Ryan Shazier was a great pick, 2015 Bud Dupree is running out of chances and is probably in his final Steeler season in 2018. Last year TJ Watt had a decent season for a rookie who started in his first game but based on his first season looks more like he will be a quality player but not a big impact pro bowl type.

With the 28th overall pick in the NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select inside linebacker Rashaan Evans Alabama 6’2″ 232 4.63 in the 40. The Steelers draft for a need and Evans should be there at pick 28. He is a good all around talent with a fine skill set of size, speed and physicality. It wouldn’t be a shock to me if he walks in and becomes a starter but even if he isn’t immediately ready he will get a lot of playing time. I look for the Steelers also to get a running back in this draft and go for a wide receiver. They have had great success finding receivers in the later rounds in this decade.