The belief: The Steelers will draft for need at No. 31
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Leading up to the NFL draft, Sporting News writers will debate one key belief for each team.
Today's belief: The Pittsburgh Steelers will draft for need with the No. 31 pick
Mike Pouncey could play with his older brother in the NFL if the Steelers draft him.
Skeptic: Vinnie Iyer
Although the Super Bowl runner-up Steelers have immediate concerns on the offensive line and in their secondary, they won't reach for any such players at the end of the first round. That's especially true of interior linemen, including the draft's best pair this year, Baylor's Danny Watkins and Florida's Mike Pouncey, who is brother of Steelers second-year center Maurkice Pouncey.
We believe this instead: A reason the Steelers remain consistent contenders is their philosophy of not playing youngsters before they're ready in favor of developing them slowly until they're ready to fill a void.
What else we believe: The Steelers are strong candidates to trade up. If they like a special player, such as Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green or Alabama's Julio Jones, they won't be afraid to do so. Either would be an exciting eventual replacement for Hines Ward.
Believer: Russ Lande
Why we believe: While we do not believe the Steelers will "reach" to fill a need, we believe that two of the Steelers' biggest needs are the OL and DL and because of the talent at those positions there will be a quality players available when they pick. The Steelers' defensive line is getting older and could use an injection of youth, so players like Cameron Heyward or JJ Watt would be good fits at DE at No. 31, or NT Phil Taylor could be the long term replacement for NT Casey Hampton. If they choose to go OL they could choose between Watkins, Pouncey or Penn State center Stefen Wisniewski.
What else we believe: The Steelers will continue their long held philosophy of drafting players who were elite college players who fit their scheme even if they do not have the ideal height/weight/speed Like LaMarr Woodley.
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