3 reasons Steelers will take a center early in the 2021 NFL Draft

Offensive lineman Creed Humphrey #56. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Offensive lineman Creed Humphrey #56. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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J.C. Hassenauer #60 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /

No center worthy of starting position on the team

The Steelers might be wishing right now that they held on to Stefen Wisniewski for just a little while longer. Though he clearly wasn’t going to be the long-term answer for this team, he could have provided them with some much-needed depth and could have potentially been a stop-gap center for Pittsburgh. As it stands, however, there’s no reason to believe that the Steelers should take the ‘next man up’ approach with the current players at the position.

Outside of a likely retiring Maurkice Pouncey, JC Hassenauer is the only remaining center on the team. Not only is their depth the worst in the league, but Hassenauer certainly didn’t warrant a second look as a potential starter based on what we saw from him in 2020. Though Pouncey’s season was far from spectacular, Hassenauer managed to be worse when filling in for Pouncey. Hassenauer is technically a free agent, but even if he’s retained, he won’t be deemed the answer to their problems at the position.

Because center is now, quite indisputably, the weakest position on their roster (in terms of both depth and starting talent), we can expect the Steelers to look to draft this position very early this year. Assuming the Steelers get a player in the first two rounds, I don’t see how they wouldn’t start over anyone else they will afford to pick up this offseason.

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It’s highly unlikely that a center will be the best player available when Pittsburgh is on the clock at pick 24, but I wouldn’t count it out completely. Perhaps the Steelers try to move up a bit in the second round to make sure they can land a center who could start for them in 2021.