Steelers draft prospectus

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

As the NFL draft nears, AFC North teams are narrowing their lists of prospects to take with the first-round picks. This week we look at those players and how each would fit with their teams.

Thursday we look at potential prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who own the No. 32 overall pick:

1. Alex Mack, C, Pittsburgh Steelers

Starting center Justin Hartwig is in the final season of his two-year deal, so Pittsburgh will eventually need a long-term solution to work with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Mack could develop into that type of leader for the Steelers. Every good team needs at least six or seven solid offensive linemen. The Steelers were fortunate to be able to replace starters Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons when they were injured last year. Both of those players are now gone, which means depth is needed.

2. Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut

This is a deep year for cornerbacks and receivers, which is good for the Steelers because they should have a pick of solid players at either position with the final pick of the first round. If all things are equal, Pittsburgh could choose corner over the other skill position after losing starter Bryant McFadden to Arizona. Butler could be a good fit.

3. Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

If Pittsburgh wants to go for bigger-school experience, Smith could be the pick. He was the other stud defensive player for Wake Forest last year, opposite linebacker Aaron Curry. Smith (5 feet, 9 inches tall) is undersized, but he makes it up with aggressiveness and great speed. The Steelers could also look to take the best available offensive tackle here if the right player slips down the draft board.