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Grading the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason heading into minicamp

The Pittsburgh Steelers are wrapping up OTAs, and it’s time to put a grade on their offseason so far.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason has been unique, to say the least. For once, the team hasn’t had to deal with any suspensions or major injury news (I just knocked on wood for those superstitious readers out there). But it doesn’t mean there haven’t been speed bumps along the way.

The Le’Veon Bell saga continues, Ben Roethlisberer’s comments on Mason Rudolph ruffled feathers and, of course, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) attendance is always at the top of the headlines, even though the workouts are completely voluntary.

Off-field distractions aside, the Steelers have also gotten their first look at their 2018 NFL Draft class and undrafted, free-agent rookies. Needless to say, the reports have been solid, even though it’s nothing more than football in shorts.

Mason Rudolph was lauded for his command of the huddle and arm strength, while James Washington’s deep play ability has been on display during team drills. Terrell Edmunds’ overall football intelligence and communication skills seem to be a great addition to the secondary.

Thinking of all this made me wonder just how fans would grade the offseason so far, and if their grade changed at all since the 2018 NFL Draft wrapped up.

I noticed an article recently in Sports Illustrated grading every team’s offseason so far, and this is what they said about the Steelers:

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

2017 record: 13-3

Crucial veteran additions: S Morgan Burnett, LB Jon Bostic

Crucial veteran losses: WR Martavis Bryant, S Mike Mitchell, OT Chris Hubbard, DB William Gay

What improved?

Theoretically, Pittsburgh did their best to get younger and faster in the secondary, though this is still an offseason consistent with the club’s measured approach. The Steelers are still built to win now, which means striking the delicate balance between developing their young players and massaging their core of star offensive players.

What needs work?

Pittsburgh’s offense spent part of last season lost in the woods before hitting hyperdrive. It’s a foregone conclusion each year that Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell will form one of the NFL’s most maddening offenses, but for how long? Roethlisberger spent a portion of the offseason steamed about the team drafting his possible successor. Bell, for another year, will enter the season with no long-term contractual stability. When will the personalities, expectations and disappointments become too big to handle?

What can we expect?

Barring a Lamar Jackson takeover that revolutionizes Baltimore’s offense, this is still a Steelers team that can (and probably will) win the division. Though, how much longer is this a safe bet? With Roethlisberger turning 36, vacillating between retirement and a career resurgence, embattled by internal squabbles, what do we really know for sure about the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Fact/tidbit/piece of news learned from OTAs/minicamp: Per the great Ed Bouchette, the Steelers are experimenting with their rolodex of pass rushing, outside linebackers. After the Steelers defense was torched multiple times in big spots last year, the push is on to find a solution.

Letter grade: B. The Steelers are a great organization, and it’s nearly impossible to pacify three offensive megastars, especially one like Roethlisberger. And yet, here we are picking them to win the AFC North again.

A grade of “B” seems pretty accurate, depending on how you felt about the team’s additions and subtractions this offseason. When I think about where the Steelers were last season, and where they are now as the offseason continues to roll on, I have to admit I’m excited about this team.

I’m excited about the athleticism which is the Steelers’ secondary, offensive playmakers at every turn and a lot of new coaches who could make an impact on the field. Given these offseason additions, I think this team will be one to be reckoned with again by the time the regular season comes to a close.

Grade: B

What grade would you give the team at this point in the offseason? Vote in the poll below, and be sure to explain yourself in the comment section!

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers heading into minicamp?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    A - This team is going to be great
    (332 votes)
  • 49%
    B - Nothing spectacular, but they will contend
    (461 votes)
  • 12%
    C - This team needs some work
    (118 votes)
  • 0%
    D - This year could be a struggle
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    F - The world is ending
    (5 votes)
923 votes total Vote Now