4 things Steelers must do to improve the offensive line in 2021

Center Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Center Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in 2020. Here’s what they must do to improve next season.

Recently, Pro Football focus comprised a ranking of each NFL offensive line after the 2020 regular season. While they slated the Steelers at 17th, a good pass-blocking grade salvaged their rankings. In terms of run blocking, Pittsburgh ranked just 31st in the league with all but one offensive lineman earning a score under 60.9 on the season.

This poor play had a clear and obvious impact on the effect of the Steelers rushing attack in 2020. While there are other factors that come into play here, the offensive line really struggled in this department and, as a result, they made this offense one-dimensional.

Right now, the focus is all on the Steelers in the playoffs, but when the postseason is over, Pittsburgh must find a way to improve their offensive line in 2021. Here are four things they can do to help with that:

Invest in the offensive trenches

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Steelers offensive line play has been steadily dropping in recent years. More than half of Pittsburgh’s starting offensive linemen are over the age of 30, and we can’t continue to expect the same level of performance that we have come to know from players like Maurkice Pouncey, Alejandro Villanueva, or even David DeCastro.

However, neglecting the position for so many years certainly doesn’t help. Pittsburgh hasn’t spent more than a third-round pick on an offensive lineman since 2012, and their lack of investments in the offensive trenches is really starting to catch up with them. While the 2021 draft class isn’t exactly loaded with a top-notch interior offensive lineman, it is a particularly good offensive tackle class. Even if they don’t go here in the first round, they need to start making bigger investments in the offensive line before this unit hits rock-bottom.