The Pittsburgh Steelers have needs, just like every other team, and putting them in order of importance can be tricky. First, you have to identify the most pressing needs on the football team, and the order can certainly be debated based on what you feel is the most important to the team as a whole.
This list is certainly not set in stone, as moves made, and not made, can alter the list. For instance, if the Steelers pick up Bud Dupree’s 5th year option, there is a good chance outside linebacker gets bumped down the list, regardless of what fans may think of the team’s decision.
With that said, let’s take a look at the 2018 Steelers Team Needs 2.0:
1. Inside Linebacker
The NFL Scouting Combine has already begun, and the team’s top priority hasn’t changed in my mind. This from my 1.0 article on the importance of the ILB position: “I have always felt a defense was like a wheel, and the inside linebacker duo is the hub of the wheel. Everything else, the outside linebackers, defensive line and secondary stem from those two inside linebackers. This is why the loss of Ryan Shazier was so debilitating to the defense, from top-to-bottom. And this is why I have inside linebacker at the top of the list. Finding someone who isn’t just a run stopper, but a sideline-to-sideline player is paramount this offseason.”
Until a move is made in free agency, which I expect will happen, safety remains No. 2 on my list. However, I could have listed inside linebacker as 1a, and Safety as 1b, but I have a feeling the team will prioritize inside linebacker over safety. Will they keep Mike Mitchell? That has yet to be determined, but the need is real at the safety position.
3. Defensive Line/EDGE
A change from my 1.0 rankings. The more I think about the Steelers, and the rest of the NFL, moving away from standard 3-4 and 4-3 defensive concepts and more towards sub packages, I realize the team’s need for a unique pass rusher. I have this listed as an EDGE or Defensive Lineman, but someone who can be a flex player. The team needs to increase their pass rushing production from the outside, but selecting a player who played 4-3 DE in college, and can even flex inside, would be a great addition to the team’s roster.
4. Wide Receiver
The biggest beef readers had with my 1.0 rankings was simply how I had wide receiver ranked so high, it was 3rd on those rankings. I dropped it down one notch, and mainly because of the news Eli Rogers plans to be ready for Training Camp this summer. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t prepare for the future. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are the only receivers who will be guaranteed back in the 2019 season. Martavis Bryant will likely be gone, and Rogers could be gone too. The depth at this position is certainly needed.
5. Running Back
Clearly, this could change with Le’Veon Bell being signed to a long-term deal, but the Steelers certainly could add to their stable of backs regardless. The Steelers could bring back a player like Stevan Ridley to accompany James Conner as depth, but it has been proven time and time again you can get a quality running backs in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft. Taking another back to give them fresh legs, and options, wouldn’t be a bad decision, in my opinion.
In case you missed it:
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Needs 1.0