Offensive Outlook for Pittsburgh Steelers
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Anyone else waiting to see how the Pittsburgh Steelers roster will sort out after free agency and the draft comes to an end? Once the Steelers visit Latrobe is when we get a feel of how good the team can be. How sophomore players have improved from the rookie seasons. How the draft picks are looking. How your free agency acquisitions are fitting in. Now that free agency is settling down, we have a better picture of the positions that the Steelers need to consider in the draft.
The quarterback is the probably the least needed position on the team. The Steelers brought in Bruce Gradkowski and drafted Landry Jones last year. They have the perfect scenario at the quarterback position. Of course they have their franchise quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, and I am sure no Steelers fan would want anyone else. They have Gradkowski, a veteran backup that’s more than capable to take over if need be. And last but not least, a young gun who can sit on the bench and take notes from Big Ben. No moves should be made at the quarterback position.
The Steelers got their guy last year in Le’veon Bell. There is a bright future ahead of him with the Steelers, and am personally really excited to see him play a whole season next year while carrying the workload. Behind him, not much. The Steelers were probably hoping that they could bring back Jonathan Dwyer, but he has since signed with the Arizona Cardinals. James Starks is visiting the Steelers, and if he signs with the team, he would take over Jonathan Dwyer’s spot as the short yardage back. This still leaves the team thin at the position. They will probably look at the draft for someone who is smaller and quicker than both Bell and Starks. De’Anthony Thomas would be a great pickup in about the fourth or fifth round. He could instantly upgrade the Steelers offense with the ability to break big plays and would give the Steelers someone to return kicks and punts. This would give the Steelers a great mix at running back, a short yardage back, and speedier back, and your workhorse who has a mix of strength and speed. Expect a running back to be signed through free agency and one drafted.
Will Johnson needs to be involved in the offense more. Having a versatile fullback like Will Johnson who can block like a beast and has soft hands can really trick opposing defense. Not only do they have to account for Bell coming out of the backfield, but now they have a fullback to account for. The fullback is supposed to protect the running back like he is their little brother, and Will Johnson paired with Bell can make a pretty good duo for the Steelers. With Johnson’s future looking up, no moves should be made at the fullback spot.
This is a spot that gets interesting. Earlier in the offseason, the Steelers informed Ben Roethlisberger that they were going to get him a tall receiver, more than likely through the draft. The Steelers currently have two tall receivers on the roster, Justin Brown and Derek Moye, but both are unproven. They also have Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton expecting to start next season. Jerricho Cotchery has yet to be resigned, and it’s looking bleaker by the day that he will, which surprisingly may be good for the Steelers. Lance Moore will visit the Steelers, and this could be an under the radar sign if he does indeed stick with the Steelers. He was injured last season, but posted a 1000 yard campaign in 2012, and I highly doubt Cotchery has another 1000 yard season in him. If Lance Moore doesn’t sign with the Steelers, they will almost certainly look to the draft for their tall receiver, probably as early as the first or second round. Either way, moves are going to be made at the wide receiver spot.
Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Heath Miller was extended this offseason, so he is sticking with the Steelers for a few more seasons. Matt Spaeth offers nothing but his blocking skills to the offense. David Paulson brings absolutely nothing. He could be out of a job by the time preseason rolls around. Tight end could be a surprise move made by the Steelers this offseason. Jermichael Finley is still on the market, and he would let the Steelers run two tight end sets, which would add another dimension to their offense they have lacked, a second tight end.
Another route the Steelers could go would be the draft. If the Steelers do sign Lance Moore or Jerricho Cotchery, their instant need for a wide receiver goes down a little. This could mean a spot opens up early in the draft, which could be used to take a tight end. If Austin Seferian-Jenkins is available in the second round, the Steelers need to take him. He has drawn Rob Gronkowski like comparisons. Could you imagine having a Gronk! The Steelers may not mess with the tight end spot at all this offseason, but it could be a position to look for. Watch for the Steelers to possibly make a move.
This is a position that comes with a question mark. There are currently 7 locks to make the roster. Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, and Cody Wallace. The Steelers recently resigned Guy Whimper, but he is no lock to make the 53 man roster. 7 offensive lineman is considered enough by some teams, but the Steelers linemen go seem to go down more than Big Ben does. However, this position could already be set, possible one more depth guy could make the roster. The only move I would expect regarding the Oline would be a late round draft pick, hoping he is another Kelvin Beachum.
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