Every year when Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II addresses the media after the season is over he usually drops a few hints as to what direction the team will likely go early on in the draft. On Tuesday, Rooney provided a not-too-surprising Steelers need heading into the offseason and one that will likely be addressed during the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rooney said Tuesday that getting consistent quarterback pressure is something the Steelers need to improve in 2017.
“It’s something we strive to do,” the Steelers team president said.
In short, Rooney is hinting that the Steelers will likely draft an edge rusher early in the 2017 NFL Draft and that shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you reading this post.
Currently, the Steelers only have two outside linebackers who ended the 2016 season on the team’s 53-man roster under contract for the 2017 season and they are Bud Dupree and Arthur Moats.
While veteran outside linebacker James Harrison is currently set to be an unrestricted free agent in a matter of weeks, he’s expected to be re-signed at some point during the offseason and Rooney indicated as much on Tuesday.
According to Dulac, Rooney said the Steelers are open to the possibility of Harrison returning for another season and that he believes he ultimately will. Harrison said immediately after the Steelers AFC Championship game loss that “he’s not done” and that he intends on playing in 2017.
The Steelers are expected to let outside linebacker Jarvis Jones leave via free agency during the offseason and that comes as no surprise.
The Steelers last drafted an edge rusher in the first round in 2015 when they selected Dupree 22nd overall. The Steelers are currently slated to pick 30th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.