The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: What is the weakest position group on the roster?
Well, you probably knew that this one was coming after yesterday’s question of the day being the strongest position group on the roster. Today’s question is just the opposite: what is the weakest position group, from top to bottom, on the Steelers’ roster?
There are positions on the roster that include immense quality on the top but with very little quality depth, or at least not depth that is guaranteed to return next year or that can be relied upon. Quarterback and running back would be the textbook example there.
Then there are other positions at which there might be a number of bodies, but lack of blue-chip players, particularly of the long-term variety, are holding the unit back as a whole. While there is potential there, I think that this can be applied to both the outside linebacker and cornerback positions.
James Harrison doesn’t need my accolades, but he’s not enough on his own, especially not entering the season in which he will be 39—and, by the way, he’s not under contract—to spare the position from being in the running for this dishonor. Bud Dupree has potential but he needs to show that he can get to the passer with greater frequency.
The Steelers have a few cornerbacks with some talent, but a couple of them require growing up, while another is fading and ideally would be more of a depth player in 2017. But one position more than any other probably sticks out as the weakest the more that I think on the topic—and perhaps become more aligned with what others are thinking.
Outside linebacker might be the biggest overall need, but tight end might be the weakest overall position. I am decidedly not in the camp that believes that Jesse James is a quality or above-average long-term answer at starter, and, well, even I have to admit that Ladarius Green’s status is in limbo right now. That’s generally not a good thing.