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: Which college free agents do you believe have the best chance of making the Steelers’ 53-man roster this season?
The Steelers signed three rookies as college free agents after the draft, and they signed three tryout players after rookie minicamp—all of them, I believe, rookies—though we don’t know the details on those transactions yet, so we don’t know whose spot they’re taking.
Either way, it figures to work out to double-digit undrafted rookies on the roster, and typically, one or two are likely to make the team in any given year. So who are the most likely candidates this year? Well, I think you simply have to start at the running back position.
The Steelers already are not deep there, with Anthony McFarland currently their number three. They added two running backs as college free agents, Mataeo Durant and Jaylen Warren. Especially if one of them works on special teams, they should stand a fighting chance.
After that, for me, you have to look at the edge rushers. The Steelers’ number three rusher right now is presumably Genard Avery, with Derrek Tuszka and John Simon competing to be the number four guy. A lot of college free-agent rookie edge rushers have been able to come in here and make the initial 53-man roster.
It hasn’t always worked out in the long run—sometimes they get waived within a few weeks—but one has to think that either Tyree Johnson or T.D. Moultry have a chance. Even though they have depth at cornerback, one could also see Chris Steele contending for a role, again, hinging on his special-teams play.