The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. 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. 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. 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 quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: At which position could the Steelers most use veteran depth?
The Steelers still have roughly a couple of weeks before anything meaningful happens during training camp. They also, in theory, have about $5 million or so in cap space that they probably didn’t realize they would have at this time a month ago, after releasing David DeCastro.
Following a gutting free agency period in which they lost veterans like Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton, and Alejandro Villanueva, while also weathering the departures of Maurkice Pouncey, Steven Nelson, and others, Pittsburgh understandably has some depth concerns.
The question is what, if anything, they intend to do about it. They could certainly use some veteran experience at positions such as outside linebacker or safety for depth, and they have previously visited with Malik Hooker not so long ago, indicating a sincere interest.
Where could they most benefit, realistically, from a veteran addition, though? I don’t think any of the offensive positions would really apply, and they clearly have depth on the defensive line. At least they have Vince Williams at inside linebacker. Cornerback, edge, and safety seem to be the three obvious contenders, but with some possible answers emerging at cornerback.
If I were to offer my personal opinion, I would have to say that it’s safety. Last year, at least they had Sean Davis. This year, the most likely top reserve safety is Arthur Maulet. I think I would go with Cassius Marsh and Quincy Roche over Maulet and Antoine Brooks Jr. if I had the opportunity to upgrade one of the two.