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?
Let’s be real. This is the big day of the Combine from the perspective of Steelers fans. Or at least one of the two big days. The linebackers go today. Tomorrow, the defensive backs. The team has a huge hole at inside linebacker right now though, and there’s a good chance there will be one at safety as well. So these are the days to look at.
Presuming a done deal with Le’Veon Bell, pretty much anything that happens is maintenance or luxury. Add another running back? Sure, why not? Draft a tight end who could develop into at least a strong number two? Great, but not essential. Mix in some offensive line depth, or stash another wide receiver into the machine? Nice, but they’re not starting.
But draft an inside linebacker and he may start right away. Draft a safety and he may start right away. At the least, they will probably have roles pretty early on. So that’s why, once again, the minds of Steelers fans are turned to the defensive side of the ball, as has so often been the case in recent years.
To likely nobody’s surprise, General Manager Kevin Colbert made clear at the Combine that Ryan Shazier would not play in 2018. That means that somebody else has to play in his spot, and right now the only other linebackers are Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort, neither of whom should project as full-time starters. There are some who want to upgrade Vince Williams’ spot as well.
Not to be dismissed out of hand, the defensive line is also going today. There is a place here to add depth, at the least, with Daniel McCullers unlikely to be re-signed, so a backup defensive tackle could be a draft target. Let’s just say Vita Vea probably isn’t going to be a Steeler though.