The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Which position that the Steelers already addressed in free agency will also be addressed most significantly in the draft?
Explanation: The Steelers added starters or potential starters at cornerback, inside linebacker, and wide receiver in Steven Nelson, Mark Barron, and Donte Moncrief, respectively. The team made it clear yesterday, however, that those signings will not preclude them from adding to those positions in the draft.
Obviously this is not a pure buy or sell question, but rather a pick ‘em. Today, you will buy from one of three possibilities rather than choosing whether or not to sell one possibility.
As we get closer to the draft, it seems as though cornerback may be the most likely position the Steelers will be able to address with their first-round selection if Devin Bush does not reach them. They have shown clear and significant interest in the position, including at the high end of the spectrum, during the pre-draft process, paying some mind to players like Byron Murphy and Greedy Williams. Somebody like Darnell Savage could possibly play in the slot as a rookie as well. Cornerback is also a position that is open for double-dipping.
Buy Inside Linebacker:
Of the three free agents that they signed, Barron is the oldest, and figures to function as a bridge starter. The team was vocal in the offseason about its failure to appropriately address inside linebacker last year, and seem determined to do what they can to come out of the first round with one of the top players here, which they failed to do last year.
Given the depth in the draft at inside linebacker, and the relative fungibility of the position on the current 90-man roster, I also think this position may be the most likely of all to be addressed multiple times over the course of the draft.
Buy Wide Receiver:
Wide receiver might be the most difficult to buy of the three, but it’s also the position where they took their biggest loss, and the one where they have the least in assurances. James Washington has far from proven himself heading into year two, and Moncrief is little more than an average replacement at best. They have depth, but not a proven number two receiver yet, which could be a problem as their number two becomes their number one.