The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics 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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: How big of a need is cornerback right now?
The Steelers are bringing back roughly the same cornerback group from last season, only having replaced Joe Haden with Levi Wallace. Arthur Maulet and Ahkello Witherspoon will also be going into their second seasons with the team, the latter with his first offseason, and Cameron Sutton will have a starting role for a second year, so some internal growth could potentially be anticipated.
But a top three of Sutton, Witherspoon, and Wallace isn’t exactly striking fear in the hearts of opposing offensive coordinators, is it? It feels like a trio of number two guys, at best. And none of them are under contract beyond 2023, anyway, with Sutton being a free agent after this season.
The Steelers do not have the best reputation with drafting cornerbacks, with Artie Burns and Senquez Golson on the top of that list, but you can’t completely abandon a position because of a couple of failures, and clearly it is one that could be upgraded at the top end.
But the question is, how big of a need it is, right now, in terms of this week’s draft? Is it essential that they come away with a future starter at the position by the end of the weekend? Do they have enough time to wait on that? Could their top three possibly be a solid group for at least a couple of years?