The 2021 NFL draft has come to a close and the Steelers have nine new pieces to its roster. Like every year following the draft, there is optimism for every team’s success, and the Steelers are no different. Below are ten of the best reasons to love the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 draft class.
10. Committed to fixing the run
President, Art Rooney II said it at the end of last season, the Steelers would improve their running attack this offseason. To his credit, the Steelers used their first four picks on positions that will directly improve the Steelers’ ground game. Two extremely physical lineman, an all-around tight end, and the best running back of the 2021 class and the Steelers are in shape to get back to running the rock like the Steelers teams of old.
9. Special teams matter
Buddy Johnson and Quincy Roche will both round out the Steelers linebacker core in 2021. With being depth pieces they will be required to chase kicks and block for returners. They will join a group already bolstered by Robert Spillane, Miles Killebrew, Derek Watt, Kevin Rader, and Cassius Marsh who are head hunters in the kicking game.
Add in the best punter prospect the Steelers have had in years and opposing teams will have longer fields ahead of them when they get the ball.
8. Competition breeds excellence
This draft class added depth to a number of positions. Offensive tackle, center, tight end, linebacker, defensive tackle, you name it the Steelers added a hungry dog to the position looking to take a job. The returning players will have to improve and the young guys will have to get up to speed quick. Iron sharpens iron, and the Steelers will be a better team because of it.
7. Leadership at all levels
When you look at the entirety of this draft class you’ll notice they’re all extraordinary people. They are also intense on field leaders that were called upon to lead their college programs. With voices like Maurkice Pouncey no longer in the locker room the Steelers will need someone to fill the void. Everyone they drafted has potential to one day be a team captain.
6. Depth in versatility
Almost everyone the Steelers drafted can play multiple positions. Najee Harris can play running back and out-wide, Pat Freiermuth can play in-line or as a slot, Kendrick Green is a center and a guard, Dan Moore plays both tackles, Isaiahh Loudermilk can play defensive end and off the edge and Tre Norwood can play every defensive back position in football. By nature of the game, these guys can step into a number of different positions if anyone were to get injured.
5. Ben has more weapons
Unlike a certain situation in Green Bay, the Steelers have always made sure to keep the offensive skill positions stocked up for Ben Roethlisberger. Now Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth will be catching passes from the future hall of fame. Even before these players were drafted they were often compared to Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller respectfully. Both of whom represent the best running back and tight end Ben has ever played with. If they live up to that billing the Steelers will have inserted amazing talent into an already loaded offense.
4. And so will the next guy
It might not be this year, or even next year but Ben Roethlisberger is creeping towards retirement. Whoever the Steelers choose to replace him with will be handed the keys of an offense that would resemble a Maserati. We often talk about rookie quarterbacks finding more success because they landed in great situations, and the Steelers could offer one of the cushiest landing spots a rookie could ever hope for.
3. They shored up areas of need
Running back, center, tackle, edge rusher, and tight end two were some of the biggest holes on this roster. The Steelers have added solid body’s to those spots and will give a large number of those players opportunities to start as rookies —which is something the Steelers famously avoid— This draft allows the Steelers to be confident in their roster and not have any major glaring holes. And, if they want to spend any more money on free agents they can do so without worrying if any given position is good enough for the NFL.
2. A return to Steelers football
The Steelers added two of the nastiest offensive lineman in the draft, coupled with a monster of a man running the ball and ground and pound Steelers football is back. Being able to run the ball and give the defense some rest will only further boost the ability of the unit and collectively the Steelers will once again become a hard-nosed grind out games kind of team.
1. The Steelers got better
Quite simply the Pittsburgh Steelers are better than they were a month ago. You could even argue they are better than they were a year ago. This draft class keeps this team a contender in the AFC North, and keeps the championship window cracked open that much longer. Are they a perfect team? No. But, they are a better team than they were when we saw them last.
But what do you think? What are you most excited about from the 2021 draft class? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.