The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Is the offensive line the Steelers’ most overrated position group?
For the bulk of the 2010s, the Steelers were rightly regarded for their offensive line play. They had three different offensive linemen make the Pro Bowl multiple times, and two of them have even been named first-team All-Pro at least once or twice.
All three of them are still here. But are any of them still playing at the same level that brought them recognized status in recent years? Is the unit as a whole becoming a shadow of its former self, with the loss of Mike Munchak, or was last season’s skill positions and quarterback play just so bad and so banged up that it did these men an injustice?
It’s worth reminding that something being overrated is not the same thing as saying that that thing is poor or inadequate. Something being deemed overrated is a relative valuation based on its perceived reputation, and generally, the Steelers have been seen as having one of the best offensive lines since beginning in 2014.
But do they? Heading into the 2020 season, does this lineup scream a top-five unit? Is Maurkice Pouncey still playing as a top-five player at his position? is Alejandro Villanueva worth cracking the top 10 or so salaries at his position? And what about right tackle and left guard? We don’t even know what’s going on there yet, so this question is partially unanswerable until we have more information.