the need for quality back-up. Justification:
recent below the line OL play, Roethlisberger's age; Leftwich being potentially injury-prone; Batch's age; someone to push starter to the next level. Speculation:
Leftwich re-signed; QB on radar in rounds 4-6.
Redman; Batch. Justification:
Redman more compatible with current overall athletic ability of OL; north-south runners generally under-appreciated; career avg 4.5 yards per carry vs. Mendenhall's 4.1. Speculation:
With abundant supply of RB's league-wide, Mendenhall will be UFA in 2013, probably not be back at current salary; Batch per brief 2011 training camp and mental makeup, might have more upside then anticipated (3rd down back, Moore replacement).
Cochery; Brown as #1 receiver. Justification:
Cochery under-appreciated his whole career, mentally tough; Brown wants greatness. Speculation:
Cochery re-signed to multi-year deal; WR drafted in later rounds for depth; Wallace retained.
Miller; the need for a second athletic TE. Justification:
Miller complete TE, 12.4 yards per catch; league-wide use of TE's to force match-up problems for D. Speculation:
With Saunders out early, one added in FA or the draft.
the line as a whole. Justification:
in post-Cowher era, it's plug and play (skill players, defense gathering cap dollars, see OL of Super Bowl winners); maybe one quality player away from being at or above the line assuming Colin stays healthy; line takes rap from Ben holding on to ball. Speculation:
G chosen in first 3 rounds; OL ripe for undrafted pick-ups; FA bargain bin signing.
Heyward, the need to keep Hampton one more year. Justification:
Heyward's upside as reflected in 2011 spot duty; lack of depth at NT, ACL recoverable for potentially productive 2012 (unlike RB position). Speculation:
(or certainty) NT drafted in first 3 rounds (see Washington's Ta'amu); with Hood coming off a below the line 2011, Heyward pushing on both sides; Keisel fills Farrior's leadership void.
Worlids; lack of depth at ILB. Justification:
Worlids came on strong at end of 2011; Foote coming off below the line 2011 as half-time starter. Speculation:
(or certainty) ILB drafted in first 3 rounds (see Alabama's Hightower); Worlids a potential Harrison replacement in 2014.
coming off a solid 2011, at the line starter; being such a visible position, easy to under-appreciate average CB's. Speculation:
Re-signed as younger talent develops; late round DB drafted for depth.
see post-season, Denver. Speculation:
With both backup safeties UFA in 2013, and both starters in their 30's, S drafted in later rounds.
inconsistent post-season play throughout career. Speculation:
Competition brought in.
For the current roster and salary cap room in spreadsheet format see: http://steelersspreadsheet.wordpress.com/