5 second-wave free agents Steelers must sign to fill roster

Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97). Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

DT Geno Atkins

It was hard watching Mike Hilton sign with the rival Bengals on such an affordable deal this offseason. Signing Geno Atkins could be the Steelers’ way of getting some payback. While Atkins is far from the player he used to be, he would fit well as an untraditional nose tackle similar to how the team used Javon Hargrave a few years ago. With the lowered snaps, Atkins could excel in this new role.

Ideally, the team would have resigned Tyson Alualu to a new deal, but the Jaguars scooped him up earlier in free agency. Adding Atkins would be a downgrade in the run-stopping department, but it would be a huge improvement on the pass rushing front. Seeing his snaps decrease from around 75 percent to 50 percent could be a huge help too, as it would allow him to maximize his time playing and avoid major injuries.

The team has been successful with using nontraditional nose tackles recently, and Adkins could be the next fill-in. Coming off his worst season as a pro, his price should be reasonable as well. Adding another potent member to this defensive line will help make the secondary look even better. Considering the losses there, making the pass rush more potent could go a long way in keeping the secondary playing well. Adkins isn’t a long-term answer, but he could fill the need at nose tackle next season.

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While free agency has slowed down, the Steelers can and should still be players with some of the remaining talent available. There are still plenty of holes that need to be filled, so adding some capable veterans will be key. Keep these names in mind going forward as potential fits for the Steelers.