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. They 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, starting with 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? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? 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: What is the Steelers’ most overlooked ‘need’ entering the 2023 NFL Draft?
It’s hard to miss glaring needs, and we’ve heard more than enough by now, I think, about how the Steelers’ focus should be on drafting offensive linemen and defensive backs. While the organization has done a pretty nice job addressing the depth this offseason, there is always room for improvement in the draft.
Heading into next week’s event, what would you consider to be the Steelers’ most overlooked “need” that isn’t being talked about as much as it should? I think we’ve had enough talk about the center position and outside linebacker depth, for example, but what seems to be missing from the conversation, or at least isn’t being given a loud enough voice?
Perhaps the tight end position or inside linebacker fits into this category, even if these topics haven’t been untouched by any means. The Steelers have re-signed Zach Gentry at the former and signed two potential starters at the latter, but not with such significant moves that would dissuade an organization from continuing to add.
At tight end, Gentry comes back on just a one-year deal, so the Steelers could have a need there by 2024 anyway. And while he obviously has made strides as a blocker over the course of his career, he’s not exactly the new Matt Spaeth.
At inside linebacker, the Steelers’ big move was giving Cole Holcomb a three-year deal averaging $6 million per season. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and I don’t think he’s on the exactly verge of making the Pro Bowl. Their depth right now consists of Mark Robinson, who has gotten more hype than he needs, and Tae Crowder.