With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.
This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense, and both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: The Steelers will still draft a wide receiver by the end of the fourth round even after acquiring Allen Robinson II.
Explanation: Even though the Steelers added a player who is likely to be their third receiver this year in Allen Robinson II, that does not necessarily mean they won’t draft another player at the position. They don’t exactly have a bounty of riches at wide receiver right now, nor any definite long-term stars.
The Steelers once had such a deep wide receiver room that Martavis Bryant reacted to the drafting of one more receiver in the third round by saying he was the replacement of another receiver on the roster, not himself. The draft pick in question was Sammie Coates, and the teammate was Markus Wheaton.
None of them lasted very long in Pittsburgh, for various reasons, but the point is, Mike Tomlin is always open to drafting a wide receiver if the right name is there.
The reality is that both Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have their flaws and shouldn’t be asked to carry the position on their own. Robinson could potentially be a nice addition, but he’s coming off a foot injury and is likely a one-year rental at best. Invest in the position now and you benefit both immediately and down the road.
Drafting a wide receiver in the early to mid rounds would be something of a luxury with the way this roster is currently constructed. They need help at too many other positions, and with players who need to be more significant contributors, for the Steelers to focus on that area.
Whether it’s an offensive tackle or a defensive tackle, a defensive end, an outside or inside linebacker, a cornerback or a safety, even a quarterback, you could look at just about any other part of the roster and find a position where a draft pick would be better spent.
On top of that, this isn’t a particularly strong draft class for the position, overall. That reduces the odds of a wide receiver being the highest-rated prospect on their board at any given selection, which is the only way I can see them using a draft pick beyond the late rounds there.