With the Steelers apparently done with their flurry of free agent signings and things dying down in the Ben Roethlisberger saga - it has been nearly two weeks and no charges have been filed - it's time to start thinking more seriously about the draft.
The Steelers met with a number of rookies at the combine and will have more visiting Pittsburgh in the coming weeks. Normally, their draft picks come from the group of players they've checked out the most - though there have been exceptions to that rule over the years.
Here are the players with first-round or high second-round grades who they've already spoken to or will bring into Pittsburgh soon. I'm sure there are more, but these are the guys we know about so far:
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Rolando McClain, ILb, Alabama
Earl Thomas, FS/CB, Texas
Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Of those players, the last four would make the most sense to me.
With the signing of Antwaan Randle El, the Steelers really don't have room or the need for Tate, though I think he's one of the best offensive playmakers in this draft.
Robinson, to me, is more of a low-first, second-round pick. I watched him play a couple of times last season and just wasn't that impressed with him.
Weatherspoon could be added as the future replacement for James Farrior and if he were eventually paired with Lawrence Timmons, would perhaps give the Steelers more speed at ILB than they've ever had. But the signing of Larry Foote would make both he and McClain luxuries.
McClain has been viewed as a possible top-10 pick, but his admission to having Crohn's disease at Alabama's pro day recently, could cause his stock to drop. Fatigue, weight loss and abdominal pain are just a few of the symptoms of the disease and none are anything you want a player to suffer through during a grueling 6-month long season.
McClain would provide value at pick 18 to be sure, but like Weatherspoon, he would be something of a luxury item on this roster at this point.
That brings me to the last two guys who the Steelers have or will talk to.
Thomas played free safety for Texas and picked off eight passes last season. But he has the speed to line up at cornerback. In fact, he's actually faster than the player considered the top CB prospect in this draft, Florida's Joe Hayden.
The only knock on Thomas is his height. He's 5-10. Then again, so is Troy Polamalu.
Thomas would fill a definite need for the Steelers, even with the signing of Ryan Clark and Will Allen, particularly if he could be used immediately as a CB.
He would give the Steelers an immediate upgrade in terms of ball skills, something that is seriously lacking in the current group - Polamalu aside.
As for Iupati, frequent readers of this blog will remember that prior to the Senior Bowl, I touted the big man as a player to watch at the Senior Bowl as a possible first-round pick for the Steelers.
Nothing has changed in that regard. He's an excellent run blocker and though his pass blocking needs some work, that is often the case with kids coming out of college. His size and demeanor cannot be overlooked.
For the Steelers, a first-day pick – remember, the draft is three days long this year - of Iupati or Thomas would be outstanding.