There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving, especially this week with a draft adding nine new players and a promising UDFA class and Alejandro Villanueva moving to the Ravens and talking smack on the Steelers in the process. It seems like the musical selection that best fits this week’s Fact or Fiction could be the 80s one-hit wonder from Timbuk 3, “The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)”.
I got a job waitin’
For my graduation
Fifty thou a year
Will buy a lotta beer
Things are goin’ great
And they’re only gettin’ better
I’m doin’ all right
Gettin’ good grades
The future’s so bright
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
You can ponder the significance or wonder whether they are really related here. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to listen to some 80s techno. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time will tell.
The Steelers are guaranteed to have a late bye week in 2021 after last season’s rescheduling debacle
The Steelers will have an incredibly tough schedule in the 2021 season based on a first place finish in 2020. With losing bye weeks due to the Covid negligence of the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens, it’s hard to believe that the Steelers were able to finish at the top of their division. It would be only right if the league remembered the disadvantage the Steelers received last year because other teams couldn’t keep their houses in order. Will they? Probably not. But the Steelers deserve a late bye week after basically not having one in 2020.
Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth will figure prominently in the Steelers offense as rookies
It used to be that the Steelers would bring in rookies to “redshirt” and learn, but the picks of Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth were made to fill in specific holes that were glaring and huge. No. 22 had 30 touchdowns last season and is expected to start in 2021, The tight end will be a TE2 behind Eric Ebron, but will see plenty of action in two tight end sets. The picks were made to bolster the offense in the twilight of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. So expect to see this pair early and often.
The Baltimore Ravens colluded in waiting until after the draft to sign Alejandro Villanueva
The Ravens worked within the rules, even though there seems like a verbal deal was in place. Why the fuss? By waiting, the signing of Big Al won’t count against their comp pick hopes. It also, keeps the Steelers from getting an extra pick as well. With a deal of $8M, the Steelers could have probably been awarded a fifth rounder. It’s good business and I get it, I just think that the deadline is way too early. There’s little disadvantage for a team waiting until after the draft to sign a free agent. Now waiting until June is another story and that’s when the league should move the deadline to. Again, the Ravens waited to put pen to paper when they had a deal in place. Like I’ve stated on podcasts, it seems like dirty pool and feels like collusion to me, But it’s all legal.
The Steelers UDFA haul will put at least two players in black and gold come Autumn
We know the history of success that the black-and gold have had with undrafted players over the years from Donnie Shell to Willie Parker, James Harrison to Ramon Foster and so many more throughout the years. Any given year, either one or two make the 53 or maybe none at all. It’s still a long summer and a lot of work for an UDFA to get a helmet. But the haul in 2021 has fans excited, especially at the cornerback position. There’s going to be room for at least one from the duo of Michigan State’s Shakur Brown (a projected fourth rounder) or Mark Gilbert from Duke (an extensive NFL and local bloodline). There’s also buzz surrounding Nittany Lion Lamont Wade at safety, linebackers Calvin Bundage from Oklahoma State and Kentucky’s Jamar Watson and WR Isaiah McKoy out of Kent State. At least two should stick in black and gold from this undrafted class.
Pressley Harvin III is a lock to make the Steelers’ 53-Man Roster
I don’t know if there was ever a Steelers version of “Mr. Irrelevant” that fans of Steeler Nation have been more excited for than Pressley Harvin III. The punter from Georgia Tech is 263 lbs. and as Kevin Colbert has described his play, “He can really bang the football”. The winner of the Ray Guy Award for the 2020 season as the nation’s best punter averaged 48.0 yards per kick last season, but it was his only great year. If Harvin can continue to build on from his breakthrough in Atlanta, he should win the job over incumbent Jordan Berry. But No. 4 has survived threats to his job and vanquished competition in the past and will not go down easy. If Pressley is consistent, the job should be his. However, his career before last year does not prove Harvin to be a lock.
Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics, and their status, heading into this week’s game and listen for more on the player below.