The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Do the Steelers have any needs on the offensive side of the football?
The Steelers have over the course of the past decade become an offensive-oriented football team, a reality that is hard to deny in a year in which seven of their 10 Pro Bowlers came on that side of the ball. A 45-42 playoff loss also speaks to that reality.
Given that the team’s season is already over, we, and you, have already been talking about the draft, but when we do, the focus has always been on the defense. We need an inside linebacker. Maybe two. A safety or two as well. An outside linebacker. Another cornerback? A nose tackle? What don’t we need, right?
But when it comes to the offensive side of the ball, the question really seems to be if they need anything at all, and when I say this, I am speaking of the immediate future. At quarterback is Ben Roethlisberger. They are not going to bring in anybody who is better.
With Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster at wide receiver, Jesse James and Vance McDonald at tight end, and Le’Veon Bell and James Conner at running back, the skill positions would seem to be taken care of. Martavis Bryant is the third wide receiver, and it’s hard to call a fourth wide receiver a ‘need’.
The offensive line is returning. Even behind the starters, B.J. Finney, Jerald Hawkins, and Matt Feiler will all return, taking as a given that Chris Hubbard will sign elsewhere. It’s not even a necessity to at a ninth lineman, as they have gone into seasons with eight plenty of times.
Even the backup quarterback position, to the chagrin of many, is in solid hands with Landry Jones. It’s really hard to find any glaring omissions on the offensive side of the roster. Nothing that would, I think, add up to a need.
The obvious caveat would be of course if Bell is not signed nor tagged and he signs elsewhere in free agency. With that excepted, am I missing anything else as a true need, rather than a minor hole to plug?