With the Steelers set to lose Javon Hargrave in Free Agency, Pittsburgh needs to be ranking their realistic replacements for the talented defensive lineman.
For those of you that can think back to the days of playing NFL Head Coach 09. While the game was a dream come true for those that loved to sim through Madden seasons just to complete the offseason, that small crowd failed to turn the game into a huge success, causing it to be forgotten about by EA Sports. While the game itself is well in need of a reboot (a topic that should be reserved for an entirely different post), an aspect of the game has become a source of inspiration for the Steelers offseason.
During the offseason, the owner of your chosen team will list all of the team needs (QB1, RB2, etc.) as well as players they would like you to fill those spots with (free agents, draft prospects, and players on the team). While I usually was defiant, leading to the owner being constantly upset with me (what can I say, I knew more than him) I wanted to take this list idea and run with it.
Now, for each Steelers position of need, I want to run a list of potential fill-ins similar to how this game was constructed. So, position by position I want to break down the need and the best fit players who can fill them. This list will be realistic options only (NT won’t list a player like Javon Hargrave or a prospect like Derrick Brown since they are either too expensive or too valuable of a draft pick).
First needs first, its time to look at NT1. With Javon Hargrave backing up his Brinks Truck for a massive (and well-earned) payday. The depth at the position is bleak, as only Big Dan McCullers has spent time on the roster and is a natural NT. The only positive about this position is that, realistically, a starter would only have to play 25-45 percent of the snaps. Likewise, depending on how the Steelers designate the role, a young guy like Isaiah Buggs could supplement as a depth player along the line in certain sub-packages. Still, though, the team will likely be looking for a new starter, even if it is only as a two-down run stuffer.