The Steelers seemed to be the opposite of what we expect from them last year. Usually when the game is on the line, Ben Roethlisberger is as clutch as they come. However, this year he made some bad mistakes in crucial situations down the stretch of the season. The pass rush that they had been known for took a step back, only getting 37 sacks, which was good for 15th in the league. They still had the 6th best defense in terms of points per game allowed, but they had the 9th worst turnover differential in the league with -10. These turnovers helped cause the Steelers to have the 10th worst offense as far as points per game goes, scoring only 21 per game. The Steelers also lost some big free agents in the offseason. Mike Wallace signed with the Dolphins, James Harrison was cut and has yet to sign with anyone, while Keenan Lewis signed with the Saints and Ryan Mundy signed with the Giants.
Jarvis Jones – The weakness on the Steelers that has been getting the most press is that of a pass rusher. With the release of James Harrison, the Steelers need help on the edge. Jarvis Jones is one of, if not the best pass rusher in this draft. Jones is an absolute playmaker off of the edge. He racked up 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for a loss last year at Georgia. On top of that, he also forced 7 fumbles even though he missed 2 games. Has great flexibility to dip under the OT and get around him. Has a knack for knocking the ball out when he sacks the QB. He is athletic enough to drop into coverage and has some experience in it. Does have the spinal stenosis that teams have to do their homework on, but without that he is an easy top 5 pick.
Kenny Vaccaro – Troy Polamalu has been one of the top players in the NFL for a while now, but his all out type of play is starting to catch up with him, getting hurt too often. Ryan Clark is also getting up there in years, he will turn 34 just after the season starts. Vaccaro is a versatile player who can drop down and cover the slot WR or drop back and play deep. He didn’t produce as many turnovers as you would have liked at Texas, making some wonder if he can be a true center fielder in the NFL. He is a very aggressive run defender and is usually reliable in the open field. Though at times he can get overaggressive and miss tackles, just watch the Oklahoma State game and watch what Joseph Randle does to him on the first run of the game.
Tags: 2013 Nfl Draft Afc AFC North FIU Florida International University Georgia Bulldogs Jarvis Jones Jonathan Cooper Jonathan Cyprien Kenny Vaccaro ND NFL NFL Draft North Carolina Tarheels Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pittsburgh Steelers Texas Longhorns Tyler Eifert UNC