I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: The Steelers are deeper now than they were at the start of the 2017 season.
Buy (Agree with the Statement):
It might not apply to all positions, but it is generally true. For starters, the secondary is certainly deeper after they added four new safeties. They have seven safeties on the roster, all of whom they like. They also have seven cornerbacks who were on the 53-man roster or practice squad last year.
The defensive line depth was upgraded with the addition of Joshua Frazier, and Greg Gilmore is an intriguing college free agent as well. Running back is much deeper, both in who is available and who has matured. James Conner looks to be in for a big step forward.
Linebacker is thinner, but not as thin as many portray. They lost two veteran outside linebackers, but get Keion Adams back this year and have a college free agent they’re looking at as well. Ryan Shazier was a big loss, but we’re talking about depth, and Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort are still here, with Matthew Thomas as well.
And their potential backup quarterback might actually be a full-time starter one day.
Sell (Disagree with the Statement):
Too many positions took too many hits. Let’s start with the offensive line. Chris Hubbard was a huge loss considering how frequently the swing tackle has been needed over the past decade. Then Jerald Hawkins went down on top of that.
At wide receiver, you lost Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers may not be back either. James Washington has to prove himself.
So do Adams, Thomas, frankly most of the linebackers on the roster. No. All of the linebackers on the roster still have a lot to prove. That’s a startling realization. Vince Williams is the most proven commodity and he gets subbed out.