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: What holes, if any, now exist on the Steelers’ roster looking ahead to the 2018 season only?
The Steelers are suddenly in a whirlwind of activity over the course of the past few days, agreeing to terms with outside free agent safety Nat Berhe while also officially re-signing two of their own unrestricted free agents in running back Stevan Ridley and wide receiver Justin Hunter.
After having previously signed inside linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Morgan Burnett as unrestricted free agents and players who will likely fill in for starting role in place of Ryan Shazier and Mike Mitchell, respectively, it is beginning to become difficult to find any obvious holes of much importance as we take an early look ahead to what the team’s 53-man roster for the 2018 season might be.
Even the backup nose tackle position was bolstered temporarily by the retention of Daniel McCullers, heading into his fifth season, while the Steelers are still expected at some point to re-sign wide receiver Eli Rogers, who is recovering from a torn ACL.
The quarterback position remains as it was last season. The running backs that ended the season on the roster or on injured reserve are still here. Should Rogers be re-signed, all of the wide receivers, fullbacks, and tight ends that were on the team a year ago will also still be here.
The only change on the offensive side of the ball will be the departure of Chris Hubbard, with his vacancy leaving arguably the biggest hole remaining on the roster. The Steelers now have only one backup offensive lineman with meaningful experience in B.J. Finney, and none with experience starting on the outside, but Jerald Hawkins and Matt Feiler are both capable of at least attempting it.
The defensive line from last season is returning, as are all of the cornerbacks sans William Gay, and the cuts at safety have been replaced. Perhaps depth at mack inside linebacker (including a possible immediate or future starter) and outside linebacker, as well as competition for the backup nose tackle job, are the biggest ‘holes’ on defense.