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After the first wave of free agency, Pro Football Focus diagnoses the Steelers’ biggest needs

The Pittsburgh Steelers are pretty much done with free agency, and PFF breaks down what their biggest team needs are heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

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NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency isn’t over, far from it, but the initial wave has come and gone. After big name players have been signed, all that’s left are the players who are just looking for a home, not necessarily looking for the best offer.

With that said, you have to wonder if the Pittsburgh Steelers are prepared to move on to the 2021 NFL Draft, and are happy with the limited moves they made to date in free agency. After all, this is the first time the salary cap has decreased since it became a thing in the mid 90s.

So, if the Steelers are done making moves, what would be the team’s biggest needs heading into the draft? Not necessarily individual prospects, but positional needs. Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave the top two team needs for all 32 NFL teams, and you can see what they said about the Steelers below:


The Steelers are heading into 2021 with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback again, and that is not a good thing. There were signs of Big Ben declining back in 2018 when he earned a 75.2 passing grade, and he looked rough in his lone start in 2019 before suffering a season-ending elbow injury. Last season, the decline became more apparent. He had just one game with a PFF grade above 80.0 on the year and finished the season with a 69.0 mark (24th). His downfield passing was inconsistent, as he produced the sixth-worst uncatchable pass rate when targeting the sticks.

All that Pittsburgh can do at this point is to take a long shot on Day 2 on a prospect such as Kellen Mond, Jamie Newman or Davis Mills. Those three have really low floors but high ceilings for non-first-rounders. They’re worth taking a shot on for a team that isn’t likely to have an early pick for a few years.

There is no doubt the Steelers do have team needs at both quarterback and interior offensive line, but the question which needs to be raised is should a position like quarterback even be considered in the upcoming draft?

Personally, if you aren’t going to go after one of the Top 5 prospects at the position, which would require trading draft capital to do so, why waste a pick on a project player. Especially when you already have a project player on the roster in Dwayne Haskins.

In my opinion, the Steelers’ offseason/free agent moves has set up the organization to take the best player available when it is their turn to pick at No. 24 and No. 55. Are there glaring needs on the roster? Absolutely, just look at the center position, but it doesn’t mean the Steelers will be forced to take a center in Round 1 if they don’t value the prospects available at that time.

Be on the lookout for my Steelers Team Needs 3.0 which will be running Friday to see what positions rank where in the Top 5 as the 2021 NFL Draft looms large at the end of April. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers.