The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season has been over for months now, and that means the offseason is in full swing. When the offseason begins, fans start to look ahead, and rightfully so. They look at NFL Free Agency, both players who could be coming and going, as well as the NFL Draft.
Regardless of free agency or the draft, the discussion always stems from team needs for the black and gold. Everyone has their own thoughts on what is best for the team moving forward, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
This is just my opinion.
So, below are my Top 5 team positional needs for the Steelers as they continue to look in the bargain bin of free agency, and of course the NFL Draft. This is the third of many updated team needs, as things can certainly change between now and the new league year. For instance, as you will see, the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey has completely changed my team needs since the day the announcement was made.
Before going any further, here were my Team Needs 1.0:
And here are my Team Needs 2.0:
Okay, let’s get down to business...
I was someone who was really hoping the Steelers would pick up a veteran free agent center after Pouncey retired. Even if it was someone like Alex Mack, it would have been a good bridge between Pouncey and the next long term center. The Steelers did bring back B.J. Finney, and have J.C. Hassenauer on the roster, but they are far from answers at the position. The lack of movement at the position has this at the top of the list, and this entering a draft with a very weak center class.
If the Steelers were to sign someone like L.J. Fort, this position would fall dramatically down in the Top 5, but with Vince Williams gone there is a hole at the ILB position. I am curious if the Steelers plan on how they deploy, and utilize, their inside linebackers in 2021. Adding a young, and athletic linebacker like Zaven Collins from Tulsa could be just what the doctor ordered for the black and gold defense next season.
3. Offensive Tackle
Retaining Zach Banner was a good move, and smart, but he is far from the long term answer at the position. Unlike center, the tackle class in the 2021 draft is loaded with talent. The Steelers would be foolish to not address the position in some capacity in this draft to help bolster the depth and find someone to start for years to come.
4. Running Back
Many fans put the running back position near the top of their team needs list, but for me I believe it is more about the players blocking than the person toting the rock. It has been proven you can find quality running backs in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft, and if the Steelers are without James Conner in 2021 they still have a pretty packed running back room. Adding talent is never a bad thing, and it is why I have running back on my Top 5 list, but not near the top. With all that said, if the Steelers take a running back in Round 1, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
5. EDGE/Outside Linebacker
The Steelers sure do need another player who can get after the quarterback. With Bud Dupree and Ola Adeniyi gone, the Steelers are looking at T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith and Cassius Marsh as their main pass rushers. Yes, I just had Cassius Marsh listed as the team’s third pass rusher. The Steelers could add another player like Highsmith to their roster, someone who can spell Watt and Highsmith to ensure their pass rush never misses a beat.
Other Positions of Need:
What would your top positional needs be for the Steelers entering 2021? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.