The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of team needs heading into the 2020 regular season. Most of them would reside on the offensive side of the football, but it isn’t as if the defense doesn’t have areas where the team can improve too.
If you ask most Steelers fans, the team needs, in no particular order, would be as follows:
- Running Back
- Tight End
- Offensive Line
- Wide Receiver
- Nose Tackle
- Pass Rusher
There might be some other positions, like punter, which could be thrown in the mix, but at the same time these would certainly be higher on the priority list than a kicker. The debate which is always ongoing throughout the offseason is which position trumps them all?
A case can be made for almost every aforementioned position to be atop the list, but often people love to point to what the experts think. If you put the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF) in the expert category, then you might be interested in reading why they chose the interior offensive line as the Steelers’ biggest team need heading into 2020.
Check out what they wrote:
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: NEW FACES ON THE INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE
Secondary needs: edge defender, field-stretching tight end, quarterback
The Steelers have had one of the most stable and consistent offensive lines in the NFL over the last several seasons, but it could be time to inject some new life into the group, particularly on the interior. Ramon Foster is 34 years old and coming off the worst overall PFF grade of his career in 2019. Maurkice Pouncey is also coming off the lowest PFF grade of his career and carries a cap hit of $11 million in both 2020 and 2021. It would behoove the Steelers to start looking toward the future at those positions, especially with backup interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney entering free agency.
As for other needs, the future of the quarterback position became a clear priority with the dismal play of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges in relief of Ben Roethlisberger. No team had fewer receiving yards from the tight end position than the Steelers, so an upgrade could certainly be in order there to give Roethlisberger another downfield threat. Lastly, edge becomes a priority if Bud Dupree leaves in free agency, something that the Steelers shouldn’t be afraid to allow happen if the price gets too high.
PFF does a great job of diagramming just why the Steelers could, and more importantly should, make the interior of the offensive line a priority. The mainstays on the line aren’t getting younger, and the team could be without their top backup in Finney if/when he prices himself out of Pittsburgh on the open market.
If keeping the quarterback clean, and with Ben Roethlisberger in the waning years of his career, is a priority, the line should be at, or near, the top of the team needs list. With that said, other positions could certainly be in the discussion regarding importance heading into the offseason.
James Conner’s health has fans thinking running back, while the wide receiver position is hardly set in stone considering the team could add to their depth at the position alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson.
Would you agree with PFF stating the offensive line is a priority? Or are you thinking another position should top the list? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers throughout the offseason.