Part II of Steel Curtain Rising´s analysis of the Pittsburgh Steelers needs in the 2014 NFL Draft brings us to the position of tight end.
- Tight end is a position area where the Steelers situation is straight forward, but with a twist.
In Heath Miller the Steelers have one of the NFL’s top all around tight ends and one of the most underrated players in football. Some would say that Miller, with his ability to both be an asset in the blocking game and act as a threat down field is part of a dying breed.
Miller, who played a key role as a rookie in Steelers upset win vs. the Colts in the ’05 playoffs, is now 31 and turn 32 during the middle of the coming season. Miller was coming off of a knee injury in 2013, and if his return boosted the Steelers sagging fortunes, he was at times shaky. But Rod Woodson would attest, ACL injuries take more than a year to heal.
- The Steelers extended Miller for 3 years, and you can count on him to finish that contract.
Behind Miller the Steelers have Matt Spaeth, who returned along with William Gay as part of the Steelers ’07 draft reclamation project. Spaeth was lost for most of the year with a Lisfranc injury, but his return saw Le’Veon Bell rush for his first 100 yard game. Hardly an accident.
Filling out the bench the Steelers have David Paulson and Michael Palmer. Paulson had a strong rookie year in 2012 followed by a very unlucky ’13, where he struggled in the blocking game and his most memorable catch ended in a fumble. The Steelers picked Palmer up as a training camp cast off and thought enough of him to bring him back to camp.
- Taken at face value, the Steelers need at tight end is very scant.
Certainly, the team would look to add depth late, if a quality player made himself available, but the Steelers have no pressing need at tight end.
- But that wouldn’t and shouldn’t stop the Steelers from taking a tight end early.
Both ESPN’s Scott Brown and The Irwin Observer-Reporter’s Dale Lolley have linked the Steelers to North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. Ebron stands 6’4” and weighs in at 250 and has excellent speed. The Steelers are looking to boost their depth at receiver the distinction between receivers and tight ends is quickly blurring in the NFL.
- Steelers need at Tight End in the 2014 NFL Draft: Low- moderate.
However, Ebron is projected to be a mid-teens pick, and the Steelers are picking 15th. If he’s the best player on the board the Steelers might be wise to pick him