The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, and that means the offseason has begun. 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 prepare for the new league year, free agency and the NFL Draft. This is just the first of many updated team needs, as things can certainly change between now and the new league year. For instance, if the team ends up bringing back a player like JuJu Smith-Schuster, it would certainly knock the wide receiver position down, or out of, the Top 5 team needs.
Before we get to the latest rankings before the start of free agency, let’s recap the 1.0 team needs. You can read about it in the link below, but here are the Top 5:
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Defensive Tackle
4. Offensive Guard
Okay, let’s get down to business...
This position hasn’t changed, so the description doesn’t either...
I’m not suggesting the Kendrick Green experiment is over, but one thing which was evident in 2021 was the Steelers need for better play in the interior of the offensive line. Green, who didn’t come into the NFL with a great deal of experience at center, might develop into the Steelers’ starting center, but if there is even a hint of doubt in that fact the team should be finding help. Ideally, the Steelers target a free agent who has the experience necessary to step in on Day 1 and be an improvement over both Green and J.C. Hassenauer. Both of those players would provide quality depth at both guard and center, but finding a plug-and-play center is a top priority this offseason.
2. Offensive Guard
See a trend yet? The Steelers need to revamp their offensive line, and that is across the board. Kevin Dotson looks like the real deal, but there is no doubt there is a disconnect between what fans see, and what the coaching staff sees. Regardless of Dotson’s status moving forward, the team would be wise to look for another bruising, and athletic guard to put opposite Dotson. Trai Turner is a free agent, and the Steelers should look to get younger at the position. This is another area where you can see both free agency and the draft being viable avenues of bringing in new talent at guard.
The last rankings had this position coming in at No. 5, but with free agency almost upon us the thought of losing both Ahkello Witherspoon and Joe Haden has me worried about the position. Some would suggest the deep cornerback class in the draft would be a good way to address it, but the Steelers cannot afford to rely solely on the draft to potentially replace two corners. There is no way this team can be comfortable with the likes of Cam Sutton, James Pierre and Justin Layne heading into 2022. This position, like many others, should be addressed in free agency, or in both free agency and the NFL Draft.
4. Offensive Tackle
With the assumption the Steelers allow Chuks Okorafor to hit free agency, and they release Zach Banner for salary cap purposes, it would equate to the team going into the 2022 regular season with Dan Moore Jr. and Joe Haeg. Kevin Colbert’s recent comments make it sound Banner is sticking around, but it doesn’t mean the position shouldn’t remain on the list. Whether Moore will turn into a mainstay at tackle is up for debate, but it only solidifies the thought the team needs to address the position this offseason. This is a position I would love to see the Steelers address in both free agency and the upcoming draft. It is time to stock the cupboard at tackle, and not just with players who bounce around the league.
5. Wide Receiver
Wide receiver enters the chat, and defensive tackle leaves. The reason why defensive tackle leaves is based on some positive trends on the Stephon Tuitt front. I’ve said it before, if Tuitt remains on the team, and is healthy, the defensive line doesn’t need to be a top priority. As for wide receiver, similar to cornerback, if the team loses JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud it would result in a receiving corps of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. That’s it. Getting a veteran would be ideal, and finding some value in the later rounds of the draft could go a long way in building back the depth the Steelers once had at the position.
Other Team Needs:
So, what are your Top 5 team needs? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 offseason.