OL Still Steelers’ Top Priority This Offseason, According To PFF

The Pittsburgh Steelers know how lucky they have been in recent years to have among the most stable and competitive offensive line groups over the better part of the past decade. The real resurgence of the line began in 2014, and carried through the 2019 season, although there were clear signs of slipping a year ago, some of which were not wholly attributable to the upheaval at quarterback.

Since then, the team has seen long-time starting left guard Ramon Foster retire, and then his backup for the past four seasons, B.J. Finney left in free agency. While they filled that spot with veteran Stefen Wisniewski, now on his fourth team, he is not a long-term answer, even if he ends up in the starting lineup for a year or two, already 31 years old.

With the rest of the line aging and some seeing a decline in their performance, Pro Football Focus still views the offensive line as the team’s biggest need going forward this offseason. Currently, if Wisniewski does not start, the team is expected to move right tackle Matt Feiler to left guard and have Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor compete at right tackle.

The Steelers have had one of the most stable and consistent offensive lines in the NFL over the last several seasons, but it could be time to inject some new life into the group, particularly on the interior. Ramon Foster retired, Maurkice Pouncey is coming off the lowest PFF grade of his career and carries a cap hit of $11 million in both 2020 and 2021 and B.J. Finney joined the Seahawks in free agency on a new deal.  It would behoove the Steelers to start looking toward the future at those positions, even after what was a strong Stefen Wisniewski signing and the likely move by Matt Feiler to left guard. The right tackle position will also be up in the air with Feiler’s move, leaving it a battle between Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner.

In addition to the offensive line, the site also believes it should have its sights set on the safety and quarterback positions. When it comes to safety, their concern isn’t limited to the lack of depth, writing of Terrell Edmunds, “two years into his career, Edmunds has turned in overall grades of 63.7 and 63.6, so he hasn’t quite shown that he is irreplaceable”.

It goes without saying that the Steelers can’t run out to the franchise quarterback store and pick one up, so they are stuck with whoever Ben Roethlisberger is for the time being. But PFF graded Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges as two of the three worst quarterbacks of the 2019 season. “It’s not a top priority, but the Steelers should consider addressing the backup quarterback spot so they don’t end up in a similar position to the one they were in last year”.

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