The 2019 NFL Draft has officially concluded, and with all 32 teams moving onto 2019 with their fresh crop of draft picks and Undrafted Free Agents, there are still some questions lingering from 2018 for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But let’s back up a second.
After the drama surrounding Le’Veon Bell’s no-show and Antonio Brown forcing his way out of Pittsburgh, the Steelers stayed silent. Mike Tomlin didn’t call a press conference while being thrown under the bus, and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t take to the airwaves while is name and stature was being tarnished.
They stayed quiet. But the time to answer questions was coming.
In typical Mike Tomlin fashion, he dodged questions like a pro at the NFL Owner’s Meetings, and even in his pre-draft press conferences, but every now and then Tomlin will give the fan base a little bit of meat to chew on. He did so while talking to ESPN’s Trey Wingo after the draft.
When Tomlin was asked about the departure of both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, his response was candid. “There’s been a cleansing, if you will.”
Mike Tomlin tells ESPN's Trey Wingo, "There's been a cleansing, if you will" when asked about the departures of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. #Steelers— Ryan Recker (@RyanRecker) April 27, 2019
There is something to be said about having less drama, less antics and less turmoil surrounding your team. Even if you lose two All-Pro talents, could the team actually improve as a team without them? You know, the classic addition-by-subtraction theory?
Unfortunately, that answer won’t be known until the 2019 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers takes the field and a new core of players attempt to write their own story — one without Brown and Bell.
Will James Conner continue on his upward trajectory and prove Bell is more than replaceable? Will a combination of Donte Moncrief, James Washington, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald, Diontae Johnson and Ryan Switzer prove they can, as a group, pick up the slack left by Brown as he jettisoned to the Raiders?
Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure...I don’t think Mike Tomlin will miss No. 26 and No. 84, and all that surrounded those two players, in 2019 and beyond.