The Pittsburgh Steelers have needs, just like every other team, and putting them in order of importance can be tricky. First, you have to identify the most pressing needs on the football team, and the order can certainly be debated based on what you feel is the most important to the team as a whole.
This list is certainly not set in stone, as moves made, and not made, can alter the list. For instance, after the signing of both Steven Nelson and Donte Moncrief there is a good chance cornerback and wide receiver could get bumped down the list, regardless of what fans may think of the team’s decision.
With that said, let’s take a look at the 2018 Steelers Team Needs 1.0:
1. Inside Linebacker
I have always felt a defense was like a wheel, and the inside linebacker duo is the hub of the wheel. Everything else, the outside linebackers, defensive line and secondary stem from those two inside linebackers. This is why the loss of Ryan Shazier is still so debilitating to the defense, from top-to-bottom. And this is why I have inside linebacker at the top of the list. Finding someone who isn’t just a run stopper, but a sideline-to-sideline player is paramount this offseason.
Yes, the Steelers signed Nelson in free agency, but Joe Haden is not only aging, but set to be a free agent in 2020. This means the Steelers would be wise to take a cornerback early in the draft to help solidify the position not only for 2019, but beyond. The question will now be are there any cornerbacks who could fill that role without the Steelers passing on other players who could fill vacancies on their roster.
3. Wide Receiver
This might be higher on many fans’ lists, but at the same time you have to take a look at the depth chart and wonder where a rookie wide receiver would fit in.
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
2. James Washington
3. Donte Moncrief
4. Eli Rogers
5. Ryan Switzer
I’m not sold on the Steelers keeping six wide receivers on their 53-man roster, and if they do draft a receiver it likely means another receiver would be cut loose. However, it doesn’t mean the Steelers shouldn’t, couldn’t or won’t draft a wide receiver, but it might not be as high on the list as some other positions out of free agency.
4. Outside Linebacker
It makes me sick to constantly have EDGE rusher and/or Outside Linebacker on these types of lists year after year. For as great as the Steelers have been at drafting wide receivers, they certainly struggle picking edge rushers. The Steelers decided to keep Bud Dupree around, and I don’t see them looking for a pass rusher early in the draft, but if they can grab a pass rush specialist, like Carl Lawson, it would help them on obvious pass rushing downs. The Steelers carried just three outside linebackers the majority of the 2018 season, and a pass rushing specialist could not just add depth, but a new dynamic to the defense.
5. Running Back
James Conner is clearly the starter, and Jaylen Samuels proved enough last season to at least start the season as the backup to Conner. But after that the team doesn’t have much of anything at the running back position. The NFL has proven you can find above average talent at the running back positions in the middle rounds, and this is where the Steelers should be looking to add to their running back depth chart.
What positions do you put on the Steelers’ Team Needs list, and how do you rank them? Let us know in the comment section below!