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: Which position on the Steelers’ roster is the strongest following the 2017 NFL Draft?
The Steelers headed into the 2017 NFL Draft with strengths and weaknesses at different positions throughout the roster. They added eight more players to six different positions, specifically quarterback, wide receiver, running back, cornerback, outside linebacker, and long snapper.
I’m disqualifying the specialist positions for the time being because we don’t as of yet know exactly what Greg Warren’s situation is, but outside of that area of the roster, which position group is now the strongest on the team? This question is distinct from the most improved position.
A case can certainly be made for the quarterback position considering who is on the top of the list. The drafting of Joshua Dobbs even prompted the release of one of the quarterbacks that they had on the roster last year.
Running back is another position in which they have a Pro Bowler. They already added Knile Davis through free agency and then added James Conner in the draft. But consideration should be given to the defensive line, and the offensive line, groups that were so strong that they weren’t even addressed.
The popular answer, I assume, is going to be the wide receiver position. They do after all have a nice list of names there on paper. From Antonio Brown to Martavis Bryant returning, with the promise of players such as Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, and now rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster, a player like Justin Hunter, whom they signed in free agency, may not even make the roster.
This will be blasphemous to some, but the cornerback position can even be in the discussion. With continued growth from their young starters and the potential for a quality competition to take over the slot role among three or four players, and the rest serving as depth, this is another position at which they may well end up cutting an NFL-caliber player.