Pittsburgh Steelers Best vs Riskiest Moves This Offseason

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Riskiest Moves

Not Drafting A Corner Prior To Round 5

Nov 23, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats cornerback Shaquille Richardson against the Oregon Ducks at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the largest needs the Steelers just had to address in the draft was cornerback.  At least that’s what most folks said.  The Steelers had an opportunity to draft a Top 5 corner by the 15th pick, yet went with ILB Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State.  The Steelers continued to pass on choosing a corner all the way until the 5th round when they went with Shaquille Richardson out of Arizona.  Some see Richardson as a risky pick.  The other debate is whether taking someone like Darqueze Dennard (who was still available at pick #15) would have been the riskier move at the time.  Again, there are two camps out there.  Either way you look at it there was risk involved with the battle plan the Steelers went into the draft with.  For the sake of Colbert and Tomlin I hope they are right about needing depth and development at linebacker first before needing and getting a starter at corner.  One things for sure, they’ve without a doubt said in not so many words that they have the utmost faith with Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, and William Gay.

The Depletion of Steeler Veterans From Defensive Line

Sep 21, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive lineman Daniel McCullers (98) rushes against the Florida Gators during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s quite unrealistic to think that a team can retain all of their free agents.  However, the Steelers seemed to be just fine in letting all of their defensive line become rather thin this offseason.  Al Woods and Ziggy Hood went to different squads through free agency, and fan favorite Brett Keisel has yet to get a phone call from the front office with an offer.  That leaves Cam Heyward, Steve McLendon, Brian Arnfelt, and former San Diego Charger Cam Thomas as the options for the front three.  McLendon is no nose tackle, and we have yet to see how well Thomas will settle in under Dick LeBeau’s defense.  This is some risky business because it means rookies Stephon Tuitt and 6th round pick Daniel McCullers will have to step up and quickly to aid this defensive front.  The pressure is on for the front three to perform well and eat up the blockers necessary to allow the linebackers freed lanes to get to the quarterback or ball carrier.  The rush defense ranked 21st last season, and this risk could leave them there near the bottom or catapult them to one of the better rushing defenses in the league.