5 needs the Steelers need to address in the 2021 NFL Draft
By Devan Penman
So moving on from the offseason moves the Steelers have made so far, the NFL Draft is the next piece of business.
In years past, Pittsburgh has had very good draft picks that made an impact on the field from their first play at the line of scrimmage. Some examples of these excellent picks are Rocky Bleier, Mean Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, and Jack Ham to Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster. Rod Woodson, Dermontti Dawson, Mark Breuner, and Kordell Stewart to Alan Faneca, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, and Santonio Holmes. Recently, it has been Maurkice Pouncey, Cam Heyward, TJ Watt, and JuJu Smith-Schuster to Devin Bush and Chase Claypool.
I can go on and on with the other many picks the Steelers have selected because no matter what round, each player has put the work in to make the Steelers find success and stay relevant in the ever-changing NFL over the last several decades.
Going into this year’s Draft, there are many positions that the Steelers need depth in after retirements and releasing a few players in free agency if they want to be better after going one-and-done against Cleveland in the Playoffs. Also, if you look into our struggles we faced last season, a boost in performance will do the trick, depending on the player’s abilities and behavior that can always improve or devalue team morale and chemistry. I’ll bet you will know the positions Pittsburgh desperately needs, but I’m going to list the best 6 positions that they need to select, not in any particular order.
Here’s the thing. The top quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones will be off the draft board before Pittsburgh has a chance at selecting. Right now with 4 Quarterbacks on the depth chart including Ben as the starter, there is no desperation to get a QB. Rudolph and Dobbs have been decent when they need to be, and Haskins was signed to the 1-year contract.
Most likely Rudolph will be the back-up (at probably 2:3 odds) unless Dobbs or Haskins can remain healthy and perform greatly during Training Camp and the Pre-season. But, over the course of the last 2 seasons, their performances have not shown to be the 1st string runner when it comes time for Ben to be done. Deep in the draft or in the supplemental draft after the 7th Round, Pittsburgh could select a QB to build on much like Devilin Hodges.