Are you among those who believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be making a grave mistake if they do not use the opportunity that they have in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to improve their defense? Are you of the opinion that it would be a serious misstep and a spoiler for the team’s 2018 championship hopes to go chasing for the successor to the quarterback or running back positions?
Then you’re not going to like what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Paul Zeise had to say recently. While he reasonably presents the argument for addressing the defense now relative to the Steelers’ perceived closing championship window, he nonetheless suggests that they ‘roll the dice’ with a selection of a quarterback or running back.
“The safe route would be to address the defense, and while that would probably be the smart thing to do, they could make their draft night for more exciting if they roll the dice and go with a quarterback or running back”, he concludes in an article published on 4/20.
The two players inevitably in mind are quarterback Mason Rudolph and running back Derrius Guice. These are the two players at their respective positions likely to be taken in the first round in which the Steelers have shown a substantial amount of interest. Whether that interest is genuine or due diligence for future preparation is up for debate.
Zeise argues that because “the Steelers have had such a good offseason, they have options, and almost all of them make sense”, leaving running back and quarterback—with Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger in place—firmly on the table in his mind.
Many are anticipating that the 2018 season will be the final one for Bell in a Steelers jersey. The two sides have until mid-July to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, and while they are reportedly closer on terms than they were a year ago when he first played under the franchise tag, optimism is waning that this year will be any different. Talks will renew after the draft.
As for Roethlisberger, he has recently toyed with retirement but has since claimed to want to play for three more seasons. Whether or not he plays for three more seasons, his performance at a championship level is not guaranteed the play along with him.
These are the arguments being made by those who believe the time is now, if the opportunity presents itself, to grab hold of their next in line now. Rather than wring your hands over the closing of a championship window, extend that window under the era of a new quarterback, for example, or assure a bridge at running back.
Admittedly there is some sense to these approaches, but I certainly would not be making these decisions for the sake of ‘rolling the dice’ or avoiding the “boring” option for a more “intriguing” one, as Zeise writes.