There may never be a more predictable storyline for an NFL team as when they suffer the loss or retirement of a franchise quarterback. The question that they face is profoundly obvious: what comes next? When will they have another franchise quarterback?
That is the question that has defined the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason over the course of the past couple of months as we head into the 2022 NFL Draft, which is now next week. As it stands, they only have two quarterbacks on their roster, neither of whom have established themselves as definite starters, let alone franchise pieces.
That is the ‘burning question’ that Nick Shook sets out for the Steelers in his breakdown of the team in a recent NFL.com article looking at the major transactions that each team in the league has seen, along with their largest remaining issue. He writes of Pittsburgh’s quandary:
Ben Roethlisberger is off to retirement, and Mitch Trubisky is in to replace him. Or is he? Pittsburgh signed the former No. 2 overall pick early in free agency, giving the Steelers options under center. Might outgoing GM Kevin Colbert also select a quarterback later this month? Beyond quarterback — the most important question remaining for the Steelers — Pittsburgh must continue seeing development from its revamped, younger offensive line. It will also need to find a quality replacement for JuJu Smith-Schuster. Defensively, the Steelers are watching Joe Haden leave, and although Levi Wallace will be a decent replacement, it feels like Colbert might not be done adding to the secondary. The remaining months will play an important role in Pittsburgh’s ability to remain competitive, but none of that matters, of course, if the Steelers don’t have a solid option at quarterback.
As you can see, of course, Shook didn’t limit himself to one issue with the Steelers, and certainly the offensive line and wide receiver depth are two further outstanding questions for the team, just on the offensive side of the ball alone. On the other side of the ball, while they are crossing their fingers at cornerback, they still need a starting strong safety.
Quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, cornerback, safety, defensive line—the Steelers only have seven draft picks. There really isn’t a position on the roster that they can’t address in some way and hope to better their team.
With that said, all is not bleak. This still is a talented roster with some blue-chip players, established veteran All-Pros and some rising stars mixed in. There is plenty of reason to be excited about Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth, for example. As long as the offensive line can keep things moving—and whoever is under center doesn’t throw games away.