5 questions Steelers must answer to have a successful season
Does ILB have the talent to thrive?
The Steelers have had a huge void at ILB ever since Ryan Shazier was lost to what is seemingly a career-ending injury. Fellow starter Vince Williams struggled without an athletic running mate, and free agents like Sean Spence, Jon Bostic, and Mark Barron failed to make enough of an impact to remain with the team. The Steelers traded up for Devin Bush last season though, which fills the void, but questions remain about the rest of the unit.
Right now, it seems like Williams and Bush will be the primary starters while Ulysees Gilbert III will serve as the primary backup. While I’m excited to see Williams return as a starter, he does have some questions about athleticism, and he is getting older. Gilbert showed promise his rookie season, but that was only on special teams and before he was lost for the season due to injury. If the Steelers lose either of their starters, ILB could suddenly become a position of need.
The Steelers are thin at quite a few defensive positions (mainly safety), but ILB seems to be the most pressing. They are one injury away from having a capable unit to one that is completely unknown and, more than likely, a weakness. If this unit can’t remain healthy or Williams struggles more than anticipated, the Steelers may struggle more on defense this year.