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: Which players participating in Combine workouts today are you most interested in seeing perform?
The Combine finally kicked into high gear yesterday with meaningful workouts taking place, and I don’t think there’s much debate that Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was the highlight of the day, posting some truly impressive numbers that likely cements his place in the top five picks in the draft.
While yesterday was exciting for the running backs, today’s events are huge globally, and also hold interest specifically to the Steelers, though Sunday and Monday are going to be the days we will really zero in on when the defenders get their turn to run around in their underwear.
Still, any day that the quarterbacks throw is a big day, and even though I fully expect (and hope) that the Steelers will steer clear of that position during the draft, it’s entirely possible that they will target at least one player from the other two groups going, that being the wide receivers and the tight ends.
There is uncertainty regarding the future of both groups, but let’s start with the tight ends. Vance McDonald’s contract is likely to be untouched this offseason, but he remains on a year-to-year basis. Jesse James will be a free agent next year, while Xavier Grimble is just a guy. Even assuming the best-case scenarios for McDonald and James, an upgrade in depth here would still make sense, especially given the injury history or the former.
As for the wide receivers, we have discussed this a bit over the last few days. Antonio Brown is the only 100 percent sure thing. JuJu Smith-Schuster has to prove he’s not a one-year wonder, while Martavis Bryant likely will leave in free agency a year from now.
It would be wise, if it is feasible, to get another wide receiver in the pipeline now to prepare for a role in 2019. There’s never a certainty that it will work out, anyway. While Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates were not total busts, they were not major performers.