This offseason has been unlike any other for the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially from the perspective of a fan who is not a homer. Could the Steelers finally be trending in a direction which could lead to a Super Bowl down the line?
For years upon end, I took the unpopular opinion of criticizing the decision-making of the Steelers front office, headed by long-time GM Kevin Colbert. Despite building some of the most talented teams imaginable in the mid 2010s, his inability to hit on draft picks and free agents when it mattered most prevented the Steelers from winning any championships in that time frame.
Well, times may be changing in the Steel City. Despite coming into a situation which looked like a mini rebuild, Omar Khan and the newly constructed front office has built this team to a level of playoff contention in an AFC loaded with talented teams. He has also done this without pushing an overabundance of money into future years, which could have potentially jeopardized the Steelers’ ability to add more talent and improve the roster.
While there are still several positions of concern, the overall roster is coming into form. Safety and linebacker are two positions which concern me heading into the 2023 season, however, with Keanu Neal potentially starting at strong safety and Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts both struggling mightily in coverage the past couple seasons. Nonetheless, the Steelers wanted to get stronger against the run, and with their new personnel at linebacker, they may be able to do so.
One of my biggest frustrations with the previous front office was their unwilling to invest money and draft capital in the offensive line. Ever since Mike Munchak left Pittsburgh, the Steelers have struggled up front, both in pass protection as well as run blocking. To the chagrin of many fans, the team never prioritized the offensive line and specifically left tackle, the second-most important position in football.
Thankfully, Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, and crew made it a point to fix this offensive line (and specifically left tackle), trading up in the first round for Georgia standout Broderick Jones. The team also added Nick Herbig and Isaac Seumalo, two guards who have seen success at the NFL level. Seumalo is one of the best pass-blocking guards in the league, and his combination of grit and mass make him a high-upside run blocker as well. These three additions could very well turn a porous Steelers offensive line into a top-10 unit after just one offseason.
Finding defensive backs with both athleticism and schematic versatility is another positive trait of this front office. The signing of Patrick Peterson threw many for a loop, considering his age. However, even at Peterson's age, he provides more athleticism than Cameron Sutton, who signed for more money in Detroit than the Steelers paid Peterson. His reputation as a mentor and leader makes him the perfect teacher for a Steelers team that just spent two draft picks on promising cornerbacks, one of which was second-round pick Joey Porter, Jr.
I also appreciated the Steelers’ true best player available approach when it came to the selections of Darnell Washington and Cory Trice. Very few people expected the Steelers to draft a tight end, nor did they expect the team to draft two boundary corners. Nonetheless, value represented itself fashionable, and Omar Khan pulled the trigger on two highly talented players with tremendous upside.
I may be singing a different tune if things go southward next offseason, but one offseason in, I am truly beginning to like the Steelers front office, and it is the first time in my lifetime I can honestly say it.
Let’s Go Steelers!!!