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Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag II: What position is targeted in first round of draft?

Here is the second part of the Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with the #mail.

And away we go...

@ScottBrown_ESPN They might even if the Steelers shore up outside linebacker by re-signing Jason Worilds. The Steelers couldn’t go wrong taking a cornerback or a safety with their first selection, assuming they hit on the pick. Even if Worilds signs elsewhere and outside linebacker is the biggest need going into the draft the Steelers won’t reach for one in the first round -- especially since they could consider a number of other positions with their initial pick, including tight end, offensive line and defensive line.

@ScottBrown_ESPN ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has said Alabama’s Landon Collins in the only safety worth a first-round pick and he will likely be gone before the Steelers make their initial selection. There seem to be a handful of cornerbacks who are worthy of first-round consideration but most of them also seem to have some sort of question or issue. Marcus Peters, for example, might be the most talented cornerback in the draft, and ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Steelers taking Peters No. 22 overall in his second mock draft. But Peters got kicked off Washington’s team last season after clashing with a new coaching staff so he comes with a risk. I can’t see the Steelers drafting a running back early. A backup behind an every-down player such as Le’Veon Bell is simply a luxury they cannot afford.

@ScottBrown_ESPN Boy, would Justin Houston provide a jolt to a pass rush that needs one. But I don’t think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to let Houston hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. The Chiefs could sign him before March 10 or tag him at the end of February, which would allow them to retain exclusive negotiating rights with Houston or receive significant compensation in the form of draft picks from the team. Even if Houston hits the open market it’s hard to see the Steelers engaging in the bidding war that would surely ensue. That is not how they operate and they don’t have a ton of room under the salary cap anyway.

@ScottBrown_ESPN I like your thinking on Nate Washington a lot and Jordan Cameron even more. Pat McManamon, my ESPN colleague in Cleveland, doesn’t think Cameron wants any part of the Browns. He would be perfect to pair with Heath Miller for a couple of seasons and eventually anchor the Steelers at tight end. Cameron is only 26 years old and the Steelers surely remember that he burned them for 102 receiving yards and a touchdown last October in Cleveland. I’m not sure what he will command on the open market but if his price is reasonable the Steelers should show interest. Washington would be perfect as a No. 4 wide receiver if he is willing to accept a reduced role. He can still get deep -- Washington averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season with the Tennessee Titans -- and the Steelers would find a way to use him if there is mutual interest in the veteran wide receiver returning to the team with which he spent his first four NFL seasons.

@ScottBrown_ESPN I don’t get the sense at all that Worilds wants out of Pittsburgh, which takes us back to your first question. The Steelers aren’t going to pay him in excess of $9.7 million, which is what Worilds made last season after the Steelers used a transition tag on him. But I think the fifth-year veteran and the Steelers can reach common ground on a long-team contract that would provide Worilds some long-term security and allow the organization not to overpay for a player who is a good but not elite edge pass-rusher. I’m thinking a five-year, $30 million with $12 million in guaranteed money deal might get it done though I am just thinking out loud. Worilds again has some leverage since Jarvis Jones is the only outside linebacker on the roster right now who has NFL experience and is signed for 2015.

@ScottBrown_ESPN If all things are equal I take the latter. Nothing makes a defensive backfield better than if the front seven consistently generates pressure on the quarterback and the Steelers have to upgrade their pass rush. The interesting thing is they don’t have a history of taking cornerbacks or outside linebacker prospects in the first round so don’t be surprised if they address another position with their first-round pick.