If one thing is clear from the start of Steelers free agency, it’s that this team will not be as buttoned-down as in years prior. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be faced with a number of difficult decisions when it comes to filling out their roster, but one thing is for certain, with limited space they won't be able to fill every spot. Instead, the Steelers will have to turn to the 2021 NFL Draft. Typically, the Steelers opt to build their roster in free agency to the point where if the season were to start without a draft, they would be happy. They then use the draft to bolster the team’s needs instead of filling positions.
This year is obviously already so much different than any year that's come before. But the Steelers will be forced into a philosophical change as they will have to rely on their rookies, and have to rely on them earlier than usual. This is why it is so important with the money the Steelers do have, they spend it on positions that are easily transitioned to other NFL veterans. A running back, for example, has a lot easier time stepping into the NFL on day one and being successful over someone like a center.
If the Steelers are to see any success in 2021, it is because of the impact their rookie class makes. Completely missing on early draft picks this year would be a disaster for this team. Let’s not forget, with Ben Rothlisberger back at the helm the Steelers are still in win now mode. The Steelers will expect a lot out of their 2021 draft class early on, but with some strategic spending in free agency it can give the Steelers some draft flexibility. However, those rookies will need to deliver right away.
Pulling a second tier level free agent, or two, out of the bargain bin, who have the ability to start at least for one year, could give the Steelers enough flexibility to draft the best players available, while still being mindful of their positional needs. The fact remains, the Steelers need Kevin Colbert to pull off one of the best drafts of his career.
But what do you think? Will the Steelers 2021 rookie class determine the success of this upcoming season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.