The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
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: Which position group is weakest following the 2021 NFL Draft?
The Steelers had a number of holes on their roster entering the 2021 NFL Draft, stemming in part from retirements, in part from losses in free agency, and in part from salary cap casualty. We can’t ignore a simple general weakness, either.
The hardest-hit positions this offseason were the offensive line—losing three starters from left tackle to center—the cornerback position, with the departures of both Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton, and outside linebacker, Bud Dupre and Ola Adeniyi shipping off to Tennessee.
I imagine that these will be the three most popular answers of the day, but quarterback probably gets a mention as well…or several. Ben Roethlisberger at 39 in 2021 being your number one guy is something most will be able to admit is something less than ideal, and the trio of Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins, and Joshua Dobbs don’t exactly inspire you for the future.
Other than perhaps a lack of depth at safety, and maybe those wanting another standout starter at inside linebacker, I think the Steelers have done pretty well filling out their roster with what they’ve had available to them. The defensive line is pretty stacked, and they’ve added talents at running back and tight end, for example. I mean hell, they even drafted a punter, so there’s that, right? Right? Anybody?