The Pittsburgh Steelers have already signed, or are in the process of signing, five outside unrestricted free agents. It’s likely that four of them will be starters with a possibility of all five working their way into the starting lineup.
They have addressed only three positions, however—inside linebacker, cornerback, and the interior offensive line. There are areas of need elsewhere on the team, though they are largely questions of depth at positions such as quarterback, running back, and tight end. One exception might be nose tackle.
But even with the moves already made, Pro Football Focus’s Trevor Sikkema believes the Steelers’ two largest outstanding needs ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft are the cornerback and offensive line positions—specifically at tackle. The article in question doesn’t acknowledge the pending deal with Isaac Seumalo, guard and center were not mentioned.
“The Patrick Peterson signing certainly helps the Steelers’ secondary, but it doesn’t take cornerback off the table for them in Round 1”, Sikkema writes. “They signed interior offensive lineman Nate Herbig in free agency but could still use another offensive tackle”.
I would be debating with myself if I were to disagree, since I recently wrote about how cornerback and tackle could be debated as being the team’s biggest need moving forward. This is in spite of the fact that they return or have already replaced all of their starters at said positions.
Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor have been the Steelers’ starting tackles the past two years and three in the case of the latter. While the Steelers lost Cameron Sutton at cornerback, they replaced him with Patrick Peterson, and they still have Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon.
Yet I’m at a point where, barring significant developments over the course of the next month, I would almost be surprised if the Steelers’ first-round draft pick is not a cornerback or a tackle. That is assuming that the draft board breaks in such a way that a player worthy of the pedigree is available to them.
Still, Pittsburgh shouldn’t, and presumably wouldn’t, pigeonhole themselves in such a way. After all, they’ve already plugged the holes, and they have an extra pick at the top of the second round to work, which should ease some pressure to force any one position.
The defensive line is an area that should also be considered early, and perhaps inside linebacker as well, though I may not be quite convinced just yet that there is a player in this draft worth the 17th pick at that position. An outstanding player at a less obvious position could also push his way into the discussion.