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Pittsburgh Steelers Can Re-Sign Jason Worilds Without Any Painful Cuts

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ salary-cap noose, which had been tight enough to choke even the most pencil-thin neck, is a whole lot more comfortable now that the NFL has increased the cap to $133 million.

That’s $10 million more than last season and nearly $7 million more than the projection.

This is the Steelers’ biggest stroke of luck off the field since David DeCastro dropped all the way to No. 24 in the first round of the 2012 draft.

With this windfall, the Steelers can get down to the business of re-signing Jason Worilds. They can even do it without making any of the gut-wrenching cuts that have become as much a part of March in recent years as green beer.

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2014 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers’ Wish List Remains Intact After Combine

No matter how much anyone’s stock rose at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, all the players at the top of the Steelers board remain within their reach in the 2014 NFL draft.

Sure, not everyone among Mike Evans, Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Louis Nix will be available when the Steelers pick at No. 15. But at least one of them will be.

This will not be a repeat of 2012, when Dontari Poe went to the Steelers at No. 24 in a lot of pre-combine mock drafts. Then the Memphis nose tackle blew away everyone at the combine with 44 reps in the bench press and skyrocketed into the top half of the first round, eventually going to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 11.

Current Steelers nose tackle Loni Fangupo tied for third at the 2012 combine with 36 reps in the bench press, but he’s struggling to crack the lineup. Poe made the Pro Bowl in 2013 for a playoff team. The Steelers could have used Poe in 2013. They allowed 4.3 yards per carry, the most they’ve allowed since 1999.

Not that the Steelers had to “settle” for David DeCastro in the 2012 draft. He’s on a Pro Bowl track, and if they could get him at No. 24 in 2012, they can get Evans, Gilbert, Dennard, Clinton-Dix, Pryor or Nix at No. 15 this year.

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Ranking the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 7 Worst Drafts Since 2000

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ two-year playoff absence is their longest since Kevin Colbert became the team’s director of football operations in 2000.

Part of the problem is their recent drafts. Many of them are among the Steelers’ seven worst drafts since 2000.

Not every draft on this list was a bad one. This is just the bottom half of the 14 drafts that Colbert has run. But the higher a draft is ranked on this list, the worse it is.

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Ranking the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Top 7 Drafts Since 2000

The football world has descended upon Indianapolis this week for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.

When all the bench presses, vertical leaps and 40-yard dash times for the 335 combine participants are recorded, the buildup to the 2014 NFL draft will kick into high gear.

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who began his scouting career in 1984, said in a press conference Thursday morning that this is the deepest draft he’s seen in 30 years.

There will be a ton of new data to evaluate the 2014 draft class when the combine concludes Tuesday. For now, let’s take a look back and rank the Steelers’ top seven drafts since Colbert became the team’s director of football operations in 2000.

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5 Mistakes the Pittsburgh Steelers Must Avoid During the 2014 Offseason

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of decisions to make between now and the start of training camp.

If too many of those decisions are the wrong decisions, they’ll be no better than a .500 football team for the third year in a row in 2014.

Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and the Rooneys can get the Steelers organization pointed in the right direction by avoiding these five mistakes this offseason. They are ranked in order of priority.

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Could the Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Michael Sam?

What are the chances that Michael Sam could be in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform next season?

If the Steelers draft the Missouri defensive end, it wouldn’t be for the sake of having the NFL’s first openly gay player, it would be for the sake of an aging defense that declined rapidly in 2013.

That brings us to the only question that really matters when it comes to Michael Sam. Can he help the Steelers?

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Pre-Combine Predictions

Defense must be the theme of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2014 draft. They ranked 14th in the NFL in points allowed in 2013, their lowest since 2003, and 13th in yards allowed, their worst since 1992.

The Steelers allowed 11 plays of 50 or more yards in 2013 after allowing three in 2011 and 2012 combined, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. They had just 34 sacks, their fewest since 1989, and they yielded an average of 100 rushing yards per game for the first time since Dick LeBeau became defensive coordinator in 2004.

Yet only eight of the Steelers’ 18 draft picks in 2012 and 2013 were defensive players. That ratio has to change in 2014.

The board will be in sharper focus after the NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place Feb. 22-25. This is a pre-combine look at players who should be on the Steelers’ radar.

Even though the Steelers traded their third-round pick in 2014 to draft Shamarko Thomas last year, there is one pick in each round of this mock draft with the assumption that they’ll get a compensatory pick between the third and fourth rounds. They’re likely to get additional compensatory picks in the later rounds. Subsequent mock drafts will reflect that.

NFL Draft Scout was used for statistics, unless otherwise noted.

The Steelers have the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, which will be held May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

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Who Should Steelers Fans Root for in Super Bowl XLVIII?

So what are “Pittsburgh Steelers” and “Super Bowl XLVIII” doing in the same article title, you ask?

The search engines will be more confused than Jarvis Jones was playing defense early in his rookie season.

After three Super Bowl appearances in six years, the Steelers haven’t even won a playoff game in the last three years.

Even when the Steelers aren’t in the Super Bowl, fans of the Steelers and the other 29 teams not in the big game need someone to root for. What fun is it not caring who wins?

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Kickoff Returns Need Major Improvement For Steelers

Antonio Brown finished the 2013 season in the top four in both punt return yards and yards per return with one taken back for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Steelers as a team didn’t have that same success on kick returns. Felix Jones, the Steelers top kick returner, finished 19th in both yards and yards per return in the NFL. Every once in a while the team put Emmanuel Sanders back for a return and he definitely did a better job with 26.8 yards per return compared to 22.2 for Jones. Though that was a much smaller sample size, 10 returns to Jones’ 23, you would have to think Sanders could have done a better job as the full time return man.

There are only two problems with that thinking going forward though.
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Pittsburgh Steelers Hire Mike Munchak, Convert a Rival

It wasn’t easy to watch Mike Munchak shaking hands with his assistants on that September afternoon after the Tennessee Titans had secured a Week 1 victory at Heinz Field.

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

Sure, few predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers would go 13-3 or 12-4 in 2013, but the Steelers weren’t expected to lose at home to a Titans team coming off a 6-10 season.

It was a big step for the Titans, but a Hall of Fame offensive lineman like Munchak isn’t going to celebrate by doing pirouettes on the sidelines. Instead, there was a modest sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

Those handshakes were a sobering sight for Steelers fans. While coming to grips with the fact that the Steelers might not even match our tepid prognostications, we saw a Titans team possibly taking the first step toward becoming the NFL’s annual rags-to-riches story.

Who’d have thought that one of the Steelers’ earliest tormentors of 2013 would be on their side in 2014?

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