If there’s one thing I know about the readership of Steelers Depot, it’s that we’re all quite big fans of the work that they do over at Pro Football Focus (cue the sarcasm detector). I find it somewhat interesting, though, that they recently gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a decidedly average grade for their offseason moves, but still maintain that they are among the best teams in the league.
The author of the particular article published yesterday that looks at the Steelers’ offseason, Bryson Vesnaver, wrote multiple times in the piece some variation of “the Steelers didn’t really need to do much this offseason”, which is the line culled directly from his conclusion.
I’m not particularly interested in engaging in ad hominems or anything of that nature; the particular author nor his history don’t concern me. I know nothing about him, but I don’t need to know his background to offer an opinion about his own opinions.
The article grades the Steelers’ offseason moves with a C, noting that they “didn’t really lose any of their core star players”, but also that “they failed to bring in anyone that should be expected to make big contributions next season”.
Why would the Steelers, who as time has shown had relatively limited cap space, make much of a push to bring in somebody to make a big contribution when they are a team that “didn’t really need to do much”? For a team with few needs, it would seem to make sense to have a comparatively quiet offseason, so to do what they were expected to do wouldn’t seem logically to dictate a C grade.
Some commentary that they offered on the team’s offseason moves include noting that Ladarius Green “hasn’t really shown enough to prove that he can effectively replace Heath Miller”. Green is, of course, the one significant free agent move that the Steelers made this offseason.
Regarding the draft, while pointing out that Artie Burns doesn’t seem to fit the Steelers’ typical abundance of zone coverages, the writer notes that he and Sean Davis “are good athletes with size and speed, and that may be what the Steelers were looking for”.
While the selection of Javon Hargrave is one they believe will net “a solid player”, Jerald Hawkins “was a reach” who “never really put all of it together last season”. But Travis Feeney “is a good fit for the Steelers’ scheme, noting that he rated 12th at his position in terms of pass-rush productivity last year.
The author doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the Steelers’ need to turn to Markus Wheaton, who received the 12th-highest grade from the site over the course of the final seven games of the season “if he can play like he finished”.
As I always conclude when relaying this sort of information, this is all just one more data point in a sea of data points, and all are to be judged for their worth on a case-by-case basis. The Steelers may not have had a flashy offseason such as the Giants, but, as the article rightly notes, they are not a team that needed to make an impact. Really what they need more than anything is to get their “core star players” healthy, and keep them that way.