Dont'a Hightower strips Jordan Jefferson during the BCA National Championship game last season.
Dont'a Hightower strips Jordan Jefferson during the BCA National Championship game last season. REUTERS

The Pittsburgh Steelers had to bite the bullet already this offseason, cutting loose veterans like Hines Ward, James Farrior and Aaron Smith. With all of those veterans gone in the name of getting younger, it will be time to bring in some new talent.

The Steelers have 10 picks when the draft kicks off on April 26th, starting with the 24th pick late in the first round.

The Steelers had some serious losses throughout their team but they sorely need a nose tackle for their 3-4 defense, an inside linebacker to replace Farrior's contribution, and help on the interior of the offensive line.

Though it is difficult to know exactly who will fall to the Steelers late pick in the first round, the certainly have multiple needs they can fill.

Their ideal pick might be inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower from Alabama. Pittsburgh has a hole in the middle of their defense right now and Larry Foote and Stevenson Sylvester probably aren't reliable enough for Dick LeBeau going into the season.

The 6'2 265 pound, Hightower is a prototypical NFL linebacker. He compares favorably with Rolando McClain or Brandon Spikes as a disruptive presence on the defensive side of the ball.

If Hightower isn't there, look for the Steelers to fill up the middle of their defensive line with a player like Devon Still or Jerel Worthy.

Still is a 6'5 303 pound Penn State product is one of the safest picks in the draft. Still is projected to come in and be an immediate starter at defensive tackle. He is solid against the run and has the strength to take on NFL linemen. His lack of speed and athleticism will keep him from being drafted higher and keep him from getting many NFL sacks.

Worthy is a 6'2 308 pound defensive tackle from Michigan State. Worthy skipped his senior year to enter the draft after a solid career in Lansing. He, like Still, is ready to contribute right away. The difference between them is that while Still is undoubtedly better against the run, Worthy has the ability to pressure the quarterback as well.

It is also a possibility that the Steelers could take an offensive player with their first pick, likely an offensive lineman, but the talent remaining will probably be defensive by the time the Steelers select.