4 biggest remaining Steelers needs after the first wave of free agency

Pittsburgh has been active in free agency, but four huge roster needs remain ahead of the NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Rams / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers were more active in the first two weeks of free agency than we have ever seen from this team. When the offseason started, Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky were the two quarterbacks under contract. Somehow, Omar Khan was able to turn the QB room into Russell Wilson and Justin Fields (while netting more draft capital in the process).

In addition to revamping the quarterback situation in Pittsburgh, the Steelers added a 24-year-old Pro Bowl linebacker in Patrick Queen while finding quality players on affordable contracts like S DeShon Elliott and P Cameron Johnston.

Unfortunately, the Steelers still have some gaping roster holes after the first wave of free agency. Here are Pittsburgh's biggest remaining needs that the team should address before the 2024 NFL Draft.

1. Center

The Pittsburgh Steelers don't have a starting-caliber center currently on their roster. This is a problem that only got bigger after making a financial decision to release former starter, Mason Cole. At the moment, ESPN penciled in veteran guard Nate Herbig as the starting center on the Steelers' depth chart, but Herbig has only logged 49 snaps at center in his first five seasons in the NFL.

Everyone is expecting Pittsburgh to go center very early in the NFL Draft, but pigeonholing themselves to one position is simply bad process. The free-agent options are running dry, but the Steelers at least need to find someone who can compete with Herbig if they miss out on the top center prospects in the draft.

2. Offensive tackle

While center is the team's biggest need after the first wave of free agency thanks to the sheer lack of depth, offensive tackle isn't far behind. Though Broderick Jones shows lots of promise as a long-term option, his counterpart does not.

Dan Moore Jr. was one of the worst starting tackles in the NFL in 2023, and he has done nothing to warrant starting for a fourth season in 2024. The available free-agent tackles are either old or have an extensive injury history. There may not be a great option here, but after releasing Chukwuma Okorafor, the Steelers lack both depth and a capable starter opposite Jones.

3. Wide receiver

Mike Tomlin confirmed that Diontae Johnson did not request a trade (which makes the decision to deal him to the Panthers even more head-scratching). Since his departure, the Steelers have added free-agent wide receivers Van Jefferson and Quez Walker.

Unfortunately, neither receiver was very good for their respective team last year, and both Jefferson and Walker project as WR3s or WR4s if they make the team in 2024. Pittsburgh desperately needs a true WR2 option to pair with George Pickens, and the free-agent pool has been picked over. They are likely to find their guy early in the NFL Draft.

4. Cornerback

Getting Donte Jackson as part of the Diontae Johnson trade hardly solves Pittsburgh's need at the cornerback position. While Jackson has been a capable starter in the past with Carolina, injuries are a big concern and his severe lack of size and length for a boundary CB doesn't allow any room for false steps.

Even if Jackson proves to be the player they need opposite Joey Porter Jr., the Steelers don't have a single player on the roster who profiles as a starting slot cornerback in 2024. Pittsburgh is looking for that next Mike Hilton. They won't find it with the remaining fee agent CBs, but they could add another corner to their roster before the draft.