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Defensive back and defensive line are the two position areas that the Steelers are expected to address in this week’s NFL Draft.

Here are eight players—four at each position—who could fit into the team’s plans.

Cornerback
The Steelers need a top tier cornerback that can improve the quality of their depth chart with Ross Cockrell and William Gay as the only players at the position that have played any meaningful snaps in the NFL. A pair of 2015 draft picks, Doran Grant and second round pick Senquez Golson, return but Grant played sparingly and Golson missed the season with a knee injury. The Steelers defense was solid against the run last season but 30th against the pass. More consistent play from the cornerback position would go a long way toward solidifying the defense.

Eli Apple, Ohio State
Apple is a 6-1, 200-pound corner who is capable of matching up against the increasingly tall and powerful wide receivers that have become in vogue in the NFL. Apple's size does not compromise his agility, speed, or playmaking ability – an aspect the Steelers have been lacking in the secondary over the past few seasons. Apple is a willing tackler, but his technique can get better. He’s currently seen as a late-middle to late first-round pick.

William Jackson III, Houston
The 6-0, 190-pound Jackson has top flight speed (ran a 4.37 at the combine), was productive in the biggest games (two interceptions in the 2015 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl) and is an above average run defender, which is critical in Keith Butler’s defensive scheme. Jackson relies on his speed a little bit too much and he tends to try to jump routes a little too much, His fundamentals can get a little sloppy but that can be coached up on the next level.

Late round possibilities include Ken Crawley (Colorado) and Daryl Worley (West Virginia). Crawley has the length, speed and instincts the Steelers like, but he has a slim frame and lacks elite playmaking ability. Worley has the size, deep speed and ball skills to be a perfect fit in the Steelers defense, but he may have trouble with smaller slot receivers due to his agility limitations. He could be moved to safety.

Defensive line
The Steelers lost Steve McClendon to the New York Jets earlier in free agency and they could use more depth along the defensive line. Scouts say that the 2016 draft class seems to be one of the deepest at the position in recent memory. The Steelers can afford to use the “wait and see” approach to address the defensive line during the draft.

Austin Johnson, Penn State
Johnson is a 6-4, 324-pound nose tackle that was a very productive with the Nittany Lions with 87 tackles, 15 tackles for losses and 6 ½ sacks last season. Johnson is a great tackler at the point of attack and he is quick for his size. He is knocked for lack of natural strength that you expect at the zero technique nose tackle, but he makes up for it with quickness and technique.

Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
A 6-4, 325-pound lineman capable of playing nose tackle or defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme, Butler fits into the Steeler’s scheme. The team’s 4-2-5 defensive alignment uses versatile down linemen who drop into coverage at times and also have the ability to rush the passer – skills that Butler has.

Other potential fits for the Steelers later in the draft include Bronson Kaufusi (BYU) and Jihad Ward (Illinois). Kaufusi is a developing prospect who flashes enough on tape to believe that some of his production could translate to the NFL. He needs to bulk up if he wants to be a 3-4 defensive end. Ward is a developmental prospect that can fit the Steelers scheme, but he needs to develop a mean streak to match up with his effort and athleticism.

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