The Pittsburgh Steelers entered this league year with 12 players scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency, and another three players who would be restricted free agents. They ended up retaining five of those unrestricted free agents in addition to tendering all three of their restricted free agents.
Pittsburgh also added help from outside of the organization at running back, but suffered two free agency losses, one to another team and the other to retirement. The Steelers also released two players, while five of their unrestricted free agents remain unsigned.
The organization has been clear throughout recent weeks that the organization has essentially wrapped up all meaningful free agent activities. Perhaps there may be a modest addition or re-signing or two in the secondary between now and the draft, but now is a good time to take a look back and see where each position started at the beginning of the process and where it is now leading up to the draft.
Total Positional Figure: 5
Offseason additions: 0
Offseason losses: 0
Maurkice Pouncey: When you make the All-Pro list four times in your first four healthy seasons, you’re getting your career off to a good start. Maurkice Pouncey rebounded in a big way after missing nearly all of the 2013 season with an ACL tear. He played arguably the best football of his career as he regained his place as the starting center on the first-team All-Pro list. His athleticism is an asset that offensive line coach Mike Munchak will no doubt look to continue to expand upon.
David DeCastro: If there is to be another Pro Bowl player on this offensive line, it will be David DeCastro, who is a fine technician, but could stand to improve his overall strength. This was unfortunately most apparent in the Steelers’ playoff loss. DeCastro’s bouts with inconsistency must be cut down. He is fully capable of dominating a game, but he needs to start doing so on a regular basis to take that next step.
Ramon Foster: At 29 years old, Ramon Foster is the old man of the group. He is entering the final season of his contract, so it will be interesting to see if the Steelers intend to replace him in the starting lineup. That could depend on his play in 2015. He had a down year last season, struggling with injury early on, and never achieved the consistency that made him successful the year before.
Cody Wallace: Cody Wallace may not be as good at guard as he is at center, but when he filled in for Foster last year, he generally held his own after some missteps. Wallace is a solid option as the top backup interior lineman, though he is no spring chicken either. Could his replacement be drafted this year?
Chris Hubbard: Chris Hubbard spent 2013 on the practice squad as a rookie undrafted free agent, and all of last year on the 53-man roster, logging seven snaps. There’s frankly not enough tape on him to know what kind of ceiling he has, but I think it goes without saying that he’s not a roster lock.
Notes: The Steelers have had no additions or subtractions whatsoever during the course of this offseason, as of yet, within their interior offensive line. The same five currently on the roster were on the 53-man roster all of last season, and they have not brought in any more interior linemen, even on Reserve/Future signings. That said, the five that they present make for a pretty solid group.