If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010 and hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since ’08 (XLIII), they basically have to find a way to knock off the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Mike Tomlin’s club has not fared very well against Tom Brady and the team’s productive attack, hence the emphasis on defense these last two years in the draft. In 2016, the Steelers’ first three selections –cornerback Artie Burns, strong safety Sean Davis and nose tackle Javon Hargrave, all wound up in the starting lineup.

In late April, Pittsburgh added eight more players via the draft and again emphasized defense. And now general manager Kevin Colbert is watching his 2017 class signed by the organization.

Four down, four to go

The defending Afc North champion Pittsburgh Steelers have already inked half of their 2017 draft class to the customary four-year contracts. And it’s just a matter of time before the entire class is done. Signed, sealed and delivered (and all contract terms courtesy of Spotrac) are inspirational running back James Conner (Pittsburgh) – the second of the team’s two third-round picks. Meanwhile, fifth-round cornerback Brian Allen (Utah), sixth-round choice/long-snapper Colin Holba (Louisville) and seventh-round linebacker Keion Adams (Western Michigan) also agreed to four-year deals.

While no terms were immediately available for Conner, the Steelers signed Allen to a $2.63 million deal, Holba to a $2.52 million contract and Adams to a $2.46 deal.

What’s left to do?

With the 30th overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers opted for University of Wisconsin pass-rushing threat T.J. Watt. All told, it was the fourth time in five years that Colbert and the franchise decided to select in the first round.

He played a limited amount of games with the Badgers and needs some work. So the sooner the better when it comes to getting his name on that all-important piece of paper. One round later, the club drafted wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (USC). While Conner is now under contract, the Steelers’ first third-round pick was University of Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton. And both he and college teammate/quarterback Joshua Dobbs, a fourth-round pick, remain unsigned. But probably not for long. All told, this is a franchise that goes about its business very steadily.