2015 NFL Draft: AFC North Preview, Pittsburgh Steelers

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May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) holds up his jersey after being selected as the number fifteen overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2015 NFL Draft just days away, the division with the most combined wins from a year ago looks to continue its dominance atop the NFL in 2015.  This draft preview will look at each team in the division over the next few days.  We begin with the 2014’s AFC North champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2014 Record

11-5, first in the AFC North, Playoffs: First Round loss to Baltimore (30-17)

Key Losses

S Troy Polamalu (retired), DE Brett Keisel, CB Ike Taylor (retired), LB Jason Worilds (retired), and Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Key Gains

RB DeAngelo Williams, LB James Harrison (re-signed), S Will Allen (re-signed), TE Matt Spaeth (re-signed), and QB Tajh Boyd.

Selections

22, 56, 87, 121, 160, 199, 212, and 239.

Needs

Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Cornerback, Safety, Wide Receiver and Tight End.

Analysis

The Steelers seem to be one of the only teams in the NFL unaffected by offseason moves, and as long as Ben Roethlisberger is at the helm, all is good in Steeler Nation. This offseason, however, is a little different than others. With so many players “hanging it up” after a decade long run in the steel city, the Steelers are going to have to do some work come this weekend.

Recent drafts have shown the Steelers slowly anticipating the end of the Dick LeBeau All-Pro defense that has been a cornerstone of the NFL for so many years. With picks like Ryan Shazier last year, and Jarvis Jones the year before, the Steelers are preparing to go from one of the oldest teams in the NFL to one of the youngest.

The Steelers seem un-phased by all of the recent offseason losses. They seem to feel like the core group of Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and the timeless James Harrison, is enough to complete the transition from no playoff wins since 2010, to Super Bowl contender. The Steelers certainly have their work cut out for them in this draft and could really go in any direction. Look for the Steelers to draft the best available player (at positions of need) until all of their needs are met.

Next: Could Shane Ray Drop to the Bengals?

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