As we sit here today the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in a playoff spot but are coming off one of the most discouraging games in some time. We have had enough time to evaluate this roster throughout the course of the season, and are starting to notice some glaring needs. Yes, the Steelers will have a ton of cash to spend in free agency. So, a lot of these needs will look a lot different by the time the draft finally rolls around. But that doesn’t hide the fact the Steelers need to upgrade this team and the list below are the best areas to start.
10. True Number 2 Running Back
Najee Harris is a bona fide number one running back in this league. He should be the Steelers guy for the foreseeable future. However, the running back position requires so much physical play that it’s impossible to expect him to play every snap of his rookie contract. It’s also apparent that Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell, or Kalen Balage are the answers at the back up running back position. Finding someone that can play a couple snaps a game and give you a start or two is something the Steelers need, and someone they should pair with their thoroughbred back.
9. Defensive Line depth
We’ve seen it this year, missing both Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu has significantly hamstrung the Steelers defense. Cameron Heyward, while playing outstanding, is also getting older. In turn, this team needs to continue to draft and develop defensive lineman. I think we can say that Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs are not the answers to the Steelers’ depth. Adding to this rotation is key not just for the 2022 season but for years moving forward.
8. EDGE Rushing depth
this has become a spot of need ever since Melvin Ingram decided to leave the Steelers. All teams need at least three good pass rushers on their roster. The Steelers might just have the best one in the league in T.J. Watt and a young up-and-comer in Alex Highsmith, but they no longer have that rotational piece behind them. They need a third edge rusher to give the other two guys a rest and make starts if necessary.
7. Middle Linebacker
We are starting to Teeter on Devin Bush falling into the territory of a draft bust. Ever since tearing his ACL, Bush has been a shell himself and looks timid on the field. If he can’t figure it out he will continue to be a liability and thinking about replacing him needs to be added to the list.
6. Wide Receiver
The Steelers are likely losing both JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington in this upcoming off-season. Leaving behind Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson at the receiver spots. While there is nothing wrong with those two guys, you need a whole lot more than just two good receivers on your roster. If any team can draft up the wide receiver position I know the Steelers can and will hit on another pass catcher.
Joe Haden is getting older, James Pierre doesn’t look quite as good as he did in the playoffs, Ahkello Witherspoon was a complete waste of a trade, and Justin Layne was a complete draft bust. The Steelers history at this position should keep them strictly in the free agent market because they struggle so badly at finding one in the draft. But they desperately need an upgrade at this spot.
Number four all comes down to whether or not you think Kendrick Green is the long-term answer at Center, or if he should move back to his natural Guard position. For me, if you can get the chance to draft stud prospect Tyler Linderbaum then you go ahead and make that move and bounce Kendrick Green to that right guard spot. The offensive line needs to be fixed in a hurry and one of these interior spots must be filled.
3. Right Tackle
Zach Banner can’t make his way back on the field and Chuks Okorafor has struggled and won’t get any better at tackle. It is time to start replacing the Steelers starting tackles. Whoever’s at quarterback moving forward needs the protection and Najee Harris needs more running lanes to be opened up for him.
2. Left Tackle
I’m not sure if Dan Moore Jr. is the answer at tackle at all. But if the Steelers go out and sign a fancy big-name quarterback this offseason they will certainly want to protect him better than they have been doing with Ben Roethlisberger. Sure they can still let Moore develop but adding someone else to the mix might be the better option. This isn’t a position to mess around with and go through growing pains with.
Could it be anything else? Well, I don’t think this is a very good quarterback draft class any list focusing on the Steelers 2022 needs begins and ends here at this position. With Ben Roethlisberger either done or close to completed his career the Steelers need to either find a starter or a contingency plan for the future. The next starting quarterback most likely isn’t on this roster and hopefully can be found before the start of next season.
But what do you think? Do you agree with this ranking? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.