The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is officially over, and that means the offseason has officially begun. When the offseason begins, fans start to look ahead, and rightfully so. They look at NFL Free Agency, both players who could be coming and going, as well as the NFL Draft.
Regardless of free agency or the draft, the discussion always stems from team needs for the black and gold. Everyone has their own thoughts on what is best for the team moving forward, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
This is just my opinion.
So, below are my Top 5 team positional needs for the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, free agency and the NFL Draft. This is just the first of many updated team needs, as things can certainly change between now and the new league year. For instance, if the team ends up bringing back a player like JuJu Smith-Schuster, it would certainly knock the wide receiver position down, or out of, the Top 5 team needs.
Okay, let’s get down to business...
Before everyone immediately rushes to the comment section and calls me a buffoon for putting quarterback atop my list, hear me out. With Ben Roethlisberger reportedly returning for the 2021 season, this is the perfect time to find the quarterback you feel could be “the guy” moving forward. I realize the Steelers draft 24th overall, but this quarterback class has several players who could be available later in the draft where the Steelers could make a move to get their guy. If you draft that quarterback, you let him sit for a year, barring injury, and develop. When Roethlisberger retires it will be his job moving forward. Let’s also not kid ourselves into thinking you can win without a quarterback...it is the most important position in football, and why I have the position atop my list.
2. Offensive Tackle
The Steelers are likely to lose Alejandro Villanueva either to free agency, or to retirement, and that will leave a gaping hole along their offensive line. If the team is able to re-sign Zach Banner cheap, he and Chuks Okorafor could be your starting tackles in 2021, but investing in the position is certainly something worth doing early in the draft. Finding a left tackle for the future should be a high priority for the Steelers.
Maurkice Pouncey is reportedly hinting at retirement, and although I think he will return for one more season with Roethlisberger, it has become clear the Steelers need to look at the future at the position. Sure, J.C. Hassenauer is a decent backup, but I don’t think anyone is considering him as the next full-time starter. Pouncey has been tremendous for the Steelers since he was drafted in 2010, and it is time they prepare for life without Pouncey in some way this offseason.
4. EDGE Rusher
The Steelers’ defense is riddled with first and second round draft picks, and I think the team would be wise to consider looking at an EDGE pass rusher in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft. That is, unless they want to bring in a veteran pass rusher to help T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith with their current duties. The Steelers simply won’t be able to sign Bud Dupree, and the depth behind Highsmith and Watt is not very solid. Bringing in a pass rusher who can spell Highsmith and Watt, like Highsmith did early in his rookie season, will be a good move for the defense hoping to not miss a beat without Dupree in 2021.
5. Running Back
Many fans put the running back position near the top of their team needs list, but for me I believe it is more about the players blocking than the person toting the rock. It has been proven you can find quality running backs in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft, and if the Steelers are without James Conner in 2021 they still have a pretty packed running back room. Adding talent is never a bad thing, and it is why I have running back on my Top 5 list, but not near the top.
Other Positions of Need:
So, what are your Top 5 team needs? 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 black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 offseason.