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Grading the Steelers current depth at each position group on offense

As the Steelers participate in mandatory minicamp as the last phase of the 2021 offseason, where do they stand with their depth on offense?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL offseason is beginning to wind down. Once the Steelers complete mandatory minicamp this week, they will have just over a month off before training camp begins, hopefully at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. While the Steelers could continue to make roster moves during the next several weeks of downtime, there is just as much chance they will enter training camp with the same 90 men as they finished minicamp.

With the players the Steelers currently have on the roster, how is the depth at each position perceived? This is the question which will be answered by BTSC co-editors Dave Schofield and Jeff Hartman as they give their grades for the depth at each offensive position.


Quarterback

Dave’s Grade: A

Analysis: What’s not to like here? The player who was the Steelers backup quarterback in 2018 is fighting just to have a spot on the roster. As long as Ben Roethlisberger is the top name on the list, everything else looks fine. While there are questions about the position for 2022, looking at this year and the depth of the position doesn’t seem to be a concern.

Jeff’s Grade: B

Analysis: Outside of Ben Roethlisberger, I am not thrilled in the depth at the position. Sure, some teams would long for a backup like Mason Rudolph, but I long for the days of Charlie Batch. When if Roethlisberger went down you had no doubt he could win you 3 out of 4 games and keep the ship afloat. Rudolph might be there, but Steelers fans need to see more before they feel confident. Outside of Rudolph, whether it is Joshua Dobbs or Dwayne Haskins, if those players see the field the team is in trouble. Nonetheless, it is pretty solid depth with starting experience at every spot.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers’ current quarterback depth?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    A
    (307 votes)
  • 52%
    B
    (572 votes)
  • 15%
    C
    (172 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (5 votes)
1080 votes total Vote Now

Running back

Dave’s Grade: C-

Analysis: After the Steelers first-round pick from 2021 of Najee Harris, there are some question marks. The only thing keeping this grade as average is because of the sheer number of players the Steelers have in the mix who are all fairly close in their ability as none have yet to show they are a bigger front runner than any other player. Between Snell, McFarland, Samuels, Ballage, and even Trey Edmunds, it’s not that any of these names would presently invoke fear in the opponents defense if they need to step in and carry the load.

Jeff’s Grade: C

Analysis: Najee Harris is an unproven commodity right now, but that doesn’t mean this grade would be the same in Week 8. Outside of Harris, you have a bunch of players who resemble other “guys” rather than quality depth. If Harris were to miss a couple games, would the Steelers’ running game suffer with Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage or Jaylen Samuels running the ball? The answer is yes. Again, this grade could improve dramatically if Harris comes out of the gates strong, but right now they are average at best.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers’ current running back depth?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (53 votes)
  • 49%
    B
    (504 votes)
  • 36%
    C
    (374 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (85 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (9 votes)
1025 votes total Vote Now

Wide Receiver

Dave’s Grade: A+

Analysis: I I think it would be hard to find another NFL team with the caliber of the top four wide receivers on the Pittsburgh Steelers. All of them had at least five touchdown receptions in 2020, and the fifth option of Ray-Ray McCloud does help the Steelers return game.

Jeff’s Grade: A

Analysis: I laughed out loud when Pro Football Focus (PFF) said this was an area of concern for the Steelers. How much more depth do you want other than JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud? PFF can take a hike, I love the receiver depth the Steelers have built.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers’ current wide receiver depth?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    A
    (891 votes)
  • 12%
    B
    (126 votes)
  • 1%
    C
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
1034 votes total Vote Now

Tight End

Dave’s Grade: B-

Analysis: This position group was going to be in trouble before the 2021 NFL draft. The fact the Steelers invested a second-round draft pick at tight end does help bolster the position’s depth. The Steelers hopefully have two capable players at the position, but beyond that it gets very sketchy. Having at least one player to handle the position shouldn’t be a problem between Ebron and Freiermuth, but beyond them it’s a concern.

Jeff’s Grade: C

Analysis: Just like the RB depth, outside of Eric Ebron who do they have? An unproven commodity in Pat Freiermuth? Zach Gentry? Kevin Rader? I rest my case. I think this is a position group which could surprise people, but I don’t foresee the tight end being a huge part of Matt Canada’s offense. If Freiermuth can contribute right away, it will be a very pleasant surprise.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers’ current tight end depth?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A
    (68 votes)
  • 54%
    B
    (536 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (333 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (35 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (4 votes)
976 votes total Vote Now

Offensive Line

Dave’s Grade: D+

Analysis: The entire offensive line was thrown into one group for this exercise because of players who can act as a reserve for multiple positions. Whoever does not get to start at center will also be a reserve with a guard position. Speaking of guard, it’s probably in the best shape of any offensive line position at this time. While the starters at places on the offensive line seem a little shaky, one benefit of having players needing to fight for their starting job is a drop off to the next guy should not be enormous. The bigger issue is if the starters are not getting the job done, what does it say about the guys who aren’t deemed better to earn the spot in the first place?

Jeff’s Grade: D

Analysis: With so much turnover, it is difficult to give this unit any other grade than a D. Now, if you were like me in college, D = diploma. Unfortunately, when grading an offensive line, and its depth, a D = dead. There are so many unknowns on this Steelers 2021 offense, and none loom larger than the offensive line. If Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor can lock down the tackles, Zach Banner picks up where he left off, David DeCastro returns to form and someone wins the center position outright, they could be okay. Yeah, that is a gigantic if.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers’ current offensive line depth?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (5 votes)
  • 9%
    B
    (89 votes)
  • 53%
    C
    (517 votes)
  • 27%
    D
    (264 votes)
  • 9%
    F
    (91 votes)
966 votes total Vote Now

So there are our grades for the Steelers current depth at the various offensive positions. Keep your eye out for the next installment of depth on the defensive side of the ball. Additionally, we will revisit this exercise once the Steelers have establish their 53-man roster for the 2021 season.