The 2017 season is over and in the books, the Pittsburgh Steelers coming up far short of their goal. While they had a regular season record of 13-3, they went 0-1 in the postseason, and that will be the legacy of this previous campaign.
The task at hand is working toward improving that postseason record and assuring that it has a zero in the loss column instead of the win column. We can take a position-by-position look at how they can work toward that goal based on their personnel.
Position: Outside Linebacker
Total Positional Figure: 7
T.J. Watt: Their prized draft pick last year, T.J. Watt had about as successful a season for the Steelers as a rookie outside linebacker as I can recall. His seven sacks are the second-most in team history for a rookie at any position, and he also managed to create some turnovers, even blocking a field goal on top of everything else and showing adeptness in dropping into coverage.
Bud Dupree: It’s been three seasons and most people have become tired of waiting for Bud Dupree’s breakout season. Many are interested to see whether or not the Steelers will pick up his fifth-year option.
Anthony Chickillo: Heading into his fourth season, Anthony Chickillo has at least established himself as a quality player on special teams and as somebody on defense that they trust enough to play. He has his limitations, but he in all likelihood remains as depth.
Arthur Moats: Earlier today, Alex Kozora posted an article wondering if the team could re-sign Arthur Moats and give him a chance to compete for a roster spot. It’s certainly not impossible as cheap depth with special teams duties.
Keion Adams: Keion Adams is the wildcard of this group. Last year’s seventh-round pick, he was injured pretty much all of last year, so we never got to see much of him. He has ‘upside’ and ‘potential’, but those words don’t record sacks and turnovers.
Farrington Huegenin: Having spent the year on the practice squad, Farrington Huegenin has been around enough to get me to memorize the spelling of his last name. He was a teammate of Dupree’s in college. He was re-signed to a Reserve/Future contract.
Darnell Leslie: Listed as a defensive end, Darnell Leslie is clearly an outside linebacker. Spending some time with the Cowboys last year, he was said to have shown some natural pass-rushing ability and dropping into coverage, but it’s hard to glean more than that about him.
Offseason Strategy: There’s Always Room For Pass Rushers
As the heading suggests, there is always room for another outside linebacker. Anybody who thinks that the Steelers have two outside linebacker starters locked down in place for the long haul is fooling themselves. Watt looks like he legitimately could develop into a very good player, but nobody else has displayed that potential.
So you keep looking. Even in the first round of the draft, if the right name falls, you consider him. At minimum, the position is fair game as early as the second round. You don’t stop looking until you have your answers no matter how much you’ve already sunk into the position.