The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. The Steelers started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Which is more likely to happen: the Steelers draft two offensive linemen or two defensive backs?
With the bulk of free agency already taken care, the focus for most has shifted toward the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, which is in a matter of weeks. While the Steelers have been more active in free agency in the past two years than they have been for most of their history, they still primarily use the draft to build their roster.
They did address a number of positions via outside free agency this year, though at the same time they also lost several players that in years past they might have re-signed. In some cases, that makes their moves a push, or a minor upgrade or downgrade.
The offensive line and the secondary are two positions the Steelers have addressed already more than most this offseason, yet the prevailing expectation is that these are the two areas of the roster that are the most realistic targets for early draft selections.
Which means they could also double dip. While the Steelers might ostensibly have a tenable starting lineup both in the trenches and in the secondary, there are jobs that can be upgraded, and depth remains a question.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have a wealth of resources in this draft class in terms of number of selections, but that doesn’t mean it can’t use two to address one area of the roster. And so the question of the day is this: are the Steelers more likely to draft multiple offensive linemen or multiple defensive backs?
For the former, they could very realistically draft a new starting left tackle in the first round. And then they would still need, or at least want to add, a backup center. Maybe even a starting center. In the secondary, many want them to go for a top cornerback, but they could also use another option to start at strong safety—if not for this year, then for next year and beyond. And a more viable option in the slot would be nice. There are certainly grounds for using multiple picks in these position groups, but with resources limited, which is the more likely to actually happen?