By Colin Dunlap

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The Pittsburgh Steelers need help at inside linebacker. We know this because we don’t know if Ryan Shazier will ever play football again. If you made me bet one way or the other as I sit here today, I’d say his career is over. That’s a terrible thing to both think and say, but it feels like a reality. I’m hoping we see the guy walk again — that would be a victory as far as I’m concerned.

That said, again, the Steelers need help at inside linebacker. Lots of it. But that can wait until the Steelers’ second selection of this coming draft. On top of that, the Steelers should really think about taking an inside backer with more than one of their picks. Stockpile a few of them and hope one turns out for you. If more than one does, what a bonus!

Know what they need to do with the first pick they have, which should come around 29th or so? The Steelers need to select Ben Roethlisberger’s successor.

Quit screwing around with the inevitable.

The time to take Big Ben’s replacement is now — because this franchise cannot get caught left in a lurch needing to count on Landry Jones and/or Joshua Dobbs. Both of those gentlemen seem as if they are fine backups, but the time to take the real next starter is in this draft.

And you know what? I’ll go a step farther. If the Pittsburgh Steelers need to trade up to get someone they foresee as a franchise quarterback in the future, that should happen. Don’t be afraid to sell off some future assets for being sure that you have a high-end talent at what is, undeniably, the most important position on the football field.

Heck, the guy might be a bust, but you must take a top-end talent with some pedigree and take that risk — and do it now.

If you have to trade up to get a guy like Josh Allen from Wyoming, you do it.

If you have a chance to get Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma or Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State, you do it. And you do it early. Heck, you make a trade for either one of those guys to move up a few slots if you have to.

What cannot be stressed enough is the future of this franchise without Ben Roethlisberger. The day Roethlisberger retires — even if they continue to employ both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown — the Pittsburgh Steelers will fall off drastically to about a .500 football team if Jones or Dobbs (or some veteran retread) is the organization’s solution. Even if you take one of the aforementioned men I mentioned (Allen, Mayfield or Rudolph) there will be a steep learning curve and the Steelers will understand a downtrend when Roethlisberger does finally call it quits.

But taking one of those guys in the first round of the draft gives you an instant plug-and-play guy right now if this is Roethlisberger’s final year. If it isn’t, it gives you the undeniable next man who will be the starter, in time, for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Either way, whatever Roethlisberger decides, the decision should be made up for this franchise. They should take a quarterback with their top pick this coming draft.  ​