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Sleeper free agent fits for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense

Minor moves the Steelers could make to round its top ranked defense

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Every year the Pittsburgh Steelers will make a handful of moves to add veteran players at positions of need. These moves allow the team to draft the best player available and not have to rely on someone dropping to them, or just simply having the flexibility to not force rookies in situations they are not ready for. In an offseason where the salary cap has been long rumored to drop these moves are more important than ever. One slight benefit to a dropping cap however, will be that a portion of mid level free agents will see their price tag drop. Picking up a handful of those guys on one year deals could be the key at having a successful 2021 season.

As for the players on this list, I will present a free agent at every defensive position. More specifically guys that fit the Steelers schemes. Don’t forget to check out part 1 first.

Let’s do this:

Defensive tackle: Abry Jones

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Standing 6’4” weighing in at 320 pounds Abry Jones is a very large man. If the Steelers wanted to return to the Jaguars well of acquiring defensive lineman this might be a really good bet. With Alualu’s future uncertain, and nothing but inexperienced late round picks as back ups the Steelers may invest in some depth pieces.


Outside Linebacker: Barkevious Mingo

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Steelers could choose a reunion with Anthony Chickillo in this spot, however I think that experiment is long gone as the Steelers found themselves thin at outside linebacker at a number of occasions in 2020 and didn't poach Chickillo off either the Saints or Broncos practice squads.

Instead they go with someone familiar in the AFC North, former Brown Barkevious Mingo. Having played on six different teams in each of the past six seasons, Mingo never proved to be an every down pass rusher. However, he could be serviceable as a special teamer and provide a better pass rush than Ola Adeniyi.


Inside Linebacker: Jarrad Davis

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Davis could be a legitimate starter beside Devin Bush. He would be the ‘thunder’ to Bush’s Lighting. A heavy hitter, blitzer, and run-stuffer Davis was missed in Detroit, who tried to make him a coverage linebacker. Because of the Lions gaff, Davis’ value will be at an all-time low. The problem remains whether other teams realize what he’s better suited for in the NFL.


Safety: Brandon Wilson

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This is a tricky spot as the Steelers have both top reserve safeties Sean Davis and Jordan Dangerfield on expiring deals. They need someone who can play special teams while being able to play a snap or two on the defensive side of the ball. Bengals safety Brandon Wilson was just that. On top of those skills Wilson is also an accomplished kick returner and could take over duties if the Steelers choose to move on from Ray Ray McCloud.


Corner: William Jackson

Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Football Team Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The corner that always should have been a Pittsburgh Steeler could finally get his shot in 2021. This move would likely come off the back of either a Joe Haden or Steven Nelson release but to know a serviceable, cheaper replacement is available could take some of the sting of those moves away.


Nickel: Nickell Robey-Coleman

NFL: DEC 13 Saints at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Finding someone to replace Mike Hilton will not be easy. There just isn't many defensive backs with his ability to rush a passer or step up into the run game. The Steelers could lean toward Robey-Coleman as a replacement and use him in more of a coverage role than Hilton.


What do you think? Which of these free agents are the most likely to end up in Pittsburgh? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.