They needed to secure the inside linebacker position, traded Antonio Brown to the Raiders, watched Le’Veon Bell go to the Jets via free agency, and tried to fill some voids on the team with free agents like Mark Barron, Steven Nelson and Donte Moncrief.
After trading up to draft Devin Bush with the team’s first round draft pick, most would assume both he and Barron would be more than able to solidify the linebacker position which has remained shaky since Ryan Shazier’s injury in 2017.
Drafting Benny Snell Jr. helped add another horse to their stable of backs, which was certainly a need heading into the offseason, but even after the addition of Moncrief, and drafting Diontae Johnson in the third round, do the Steelers still have a hole on their roster left by the traded Brown?
The fine folks at Football Outsiders, via ESPN, have labeled where each team’s weakness is on their current roster. But first, here is the rationale for their list:
Some NFL teams draft for need, and some draft strictly with an eye on talent. Either way, most teams still have weaknesses on the roster after the draft is over.
Football Outsiders looks at the biggest hole on each roster following the 2019 NFL draft. Many of the advanced stats referenced below are explained here.
So, back to the weakness on the Steelers’ roster...according to Football Outsiders there is no way the Steelers have done enough to get Brown’s 15 touchdowns. In other words, the wide receiver position is the glaring weakness on the Steelers roster.
See what Football Outsiders had to say about the position:
Pittsburgh Steelers: Wide receiver
The Steelers have effectively managed the downside of Ben Roethlisberger’s career by having enough great receivers to make life easy for him. With Antonio Brown gone, we’re no longer sure that will be the case. They do have options outside of JuJu Smith-Schuster, but none of the options are proven. James Washington’s first year produced a minus-25.1% DVOA even with Brown and Smith-Schuster as cover, and Ryan Switzer was at minus-11.1% DVOA despite an 82 percent catch rate. Third-round pick Diontae Johnson is a credible stab at solving the situation -- he’s explosive -- and the Steelers have shown incredible skill when drafting wideouts later in the draft. But still, they’re going to need someone to show that skill off instantly.
It is extremely hard to disagree with their thinking when talking about the wide receiver position. If you were to pick another position with a glaring need? What would it be? Safety? With both starters returning I don’t really see it as a huge hole to fill. Outside linebacker? Barring your opinions of Bud Dupree, it seems the team is confident in that position too. Tight End? You could make an argument here, but I’m not sold on the Steelers not adding to the position before the start of the season.
Plain and simple, the Steelers’ roster has been bolstered this offseason, and there aren’t many glaring holes to fill. Don’t worry, this is a good thing. If wide receiver is the least of their worries, and they still have players like JuJu Smith-Schuster and company on the field, I like the team’s chances of doing some damage in 2019.