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.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense, and multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quote with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
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, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Will Cassius Marsh or Quincy Roche (or somebody else entirely) be the Steelers’ third outside linebacker?
Whether or not the Steelers had substantial depth at outside linebacker in the post-James Harrison era really depends upon your opinion of Anthony Chickillo. Last year, they drafted Alex Highsmith in the third round, and he was able to come in and play well off the bat.
Now he’s entering the starting lineup on a full-time basis with Bud Dupree going to the Tennessee Titans in free agency, which means the Steelers need a new number three. They let Ola Adeniyi follow Dupree to Tennessee and didn’t re-sign Jayrone Elliott, so bringing back Marsh from last year is the only notable move they made before the draft.
They did draft an edge rusher this month, but they waited until the sixth round, finding Quincy Roche out of Temple, and later Miami. But will the Steelers put him in the position of being the number three guy right away—or at any point this year?
Will Marsh and Roche be the only significant depth that they have at outside linebacker before the start of the regular season? Could they add another veteran from the outside with more experience? Or perhaps, might somebody like Jamir Jones or Jamar Watson emerge as a sleeper contributor, the way Adeniyi himself was a few years ago, and who had everybody convinced he was the next James Harrison?