NFL Mock Draft 2013: Steelers could land top safety Kenny Vaccaro

USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers probably need to get a young, defensive playmaker in the first round to bolster an aging defense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell flat for the first time in years in 2012. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unremarkable, and everything felt a little stale. As such, they're picking right about middle of the pack in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Steelers also lost top target Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, creating a huge need at the wide receiver position. Fortunately, one of the top targets should still be available when the Steelers pick at No. 17, and they could definitely elect to go in that direction with the pick.

That's what Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation had them doing, taking Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Don Banks of SI.com released his mock draft on Wednesday and he has them going a different direction, however, with the selection of Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro:

With no Barkevious Mingo or Jarvis Jones to target at No. 17 in this scenario, the Steelers will grapple with a decision between Vacarro and Tennessee receiver Cordarelle Patterson, as the deep-threat replacement for Mike Wallace. But this is Pittsburgh we're talking about, and defense still rules. Vacarro is the draft's top safety, and he can both hit and cover. There's no way he's getting out of the teens.

Vacarro would definitely be a strong pick for the Steelers. They're trying to force a youth movement on defense, given that their unit has been regarded as "aging" for several seasons now. Vacarro would come in and be an instant starter for years to come, if all goes as planned.

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