When it comes to the NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers have often stated they have a policy of “best player available” rather than looking for a specific position. While some of their picks at the top of the draft have seemed to go against this statement, the Steelers probably are better off adding “at a position of need” to make it a little more accurate.
But are there any positions that aren’t really ones of need where the Steelers could look to upgrade in this draft?
Personally, I think there are two positions in the 2021 draft where the Steelers could invest a high draft pick or simply choose not to address the position at all. I call this my “go big or go home” positions where if the Steelers are going to truly upgrade they should make a big play. In other words, investing a mid-to-late round draft pick which could get lost in the shuffle may not be the best course of action.
So here are my two positions where I feel that Steelers should “go big or go home” in the 2021 NFL draft. There is one position on each side of the ball.
With Ben Roethlisberger returning for the 2021 season, the Steelers don’t have an obvious plan for the future at quarterback. While the Steelers don’t have to find their next franchise quarterback in the 2021 draft, if they feel that they have that player in mind, they should pull the trigger.
While some have brought up the notion of taking a flyer on a mid-round quarterback to see if they could find someone who is the next Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, the Steelers have already taken their flyer on this kind of player this offseason. Even though he was a first round-draft pick, the Steelers seeing if they found a gem with any kind of resurgence of Dwayne Haskins is essentially covering the same need.
If the Steelers happen to have a player who they believe to be a franchise quarterback and it gets to a position where they feel they can make the move up to get them, or perhaps even have them fall all the way to pick 24, then they should do it. Just settling on someone for the sake of adding to the position, is it really worth it if they’re not going to be the long-term solution?
The Steelers currently have four players under contract to play inside linebacker for 2021. Devin Bush returns from his season-ending ACL injury and Vince Williams is entering the last year of his contract. Both Robert Spillane and Marcus Allen have signed their Exclusive Rights Free Agent tenders.
So do the Steelers need another inside linebacker? They could very likely get by with what they have for the 2021 season. And, although it does not appear to be a position of need, if the right player were to be available high in the draft to come in and change the Steelers philosophy at the inside linebacker position next to Devin Bush, it would be extremely difficult to pass up. If the Steelers added another Bush-type linebacker, the way they handle the position moving forward might be forever changed. Or, the Steelers could continue on with the players they already have and not even address the position in 2021.
So there are two positions where I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers should “go big or go home” during 2021 NFL draft. Of course, since free agency has yet to kick off, these positions could change if the Steelers add another player or choose to trim their roster in order to save money against the salary cap.
Although the Steelers have a number of needs they will likely address in the NFL draft, those needs could change due to the upcoming free-agent market. Additionally, many have added the phrase “but not in the first round” to many positions the Steelers will look to add. If so, the Steelers could go outside the box and decide to go big at one of these two positions. If not, it might not be in their best interest to simply use a day-three pick.