Steelers must address offensive line if Ben Roethlisberger plays in 2021

Maurkice Pouncey Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Maurkice Pouncey Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

The Steelers may need to address the ‘O-line’ early in the 2021 draft if Ben Roethlisberger decides to play in 2021

With the recent announcement made by Maurkice Pouncey, our starting center for the past 11 seasons, addressing the ‘O-line’ has come ‘front and center’ pardon the pun, particularly if our franchise QB, Ben Roethlisberger, comes back for an 18th season. Personally, I hope he does as I believe his return gives the Steelers the best chance to win another Super Bowl while our ‘window’ is still open.

Considering the center position is the most important position on the ‘O-line’ as the center is responsible for ‘calling out’ the protection, for identifying who may be blitzing on a particular play, and for identifying the ‘Mike’ or Middle Linebacker, I think it would behoove us to make an investment in said position.

I am not suggesting we take a center in the first round of the 2021 draft, but I think the Steelers need to address the center position by either drafting a center as a value selection, meaning that we draft a center when the opportunity presents itself as opposed to reaching for one, or by signing a veteran free-agent center.

Again, there may not be a veteran free-agent center who is available for the salary we would be willing to offer, but the reality is this:  If ‘Big Ben’ decides to play in 2021, the center and he will be ‘joined at the hip’.  There’s a lot of trust that needs to be developed between not only ‘Big Ben’ and his center but among ‘Big Ben’ and his entire ‘O-line’.

The Steelers will have to invest in the ‘O-line’ if we want to keep ‘Big Ben’ upright

I really can’t stress enough the need for the Steelers to invest in not only the center position but in the entire offensive line, but what if ‘Big Ben’ decides to retire, would we need to commit to drafting a center or would we be able to ‘roll’ with the player we currently have on the roster?

I think the answer to that question depends on your perspective as the answer to any question would.  Not to say that we wouldn’t have to draft the center, but considering we have other holes to fill, could we wait until day two or three of the draft to find a center?  I think we could.

It’s not as if the offensive linemen we currently have on the roster are subpar.  In fact, I think we have the makings of a really solid unit, provided we can re-sign our pending free agents.  If for some reason we cannot re-sign any of our own free agents, that would then put the Steelers in a bind.

That bind would be this:  We would either have to throw money at free agents who may be affordable but who may not be an upgrade over our own free agents.  If the Steelers want to keep ‘Big Ben’ upright, the loss of Pouncey means that we need to try to keep the cohesion among the ‘O-line’ as we all know what ‘Big Ben’ thinks of his offensive lineman.

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Personally, I would like to see the Steelers try to re-sign our own free-agent offensive lineman as opposed to going the outside free-agent route.  Whether we draft a center and/or another offensive line position, we will need to make an investment in that unit because that investment would increase the Steelers chances of bringing home another Lombardi Trophy.