We are exactly one week away from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been shy about revamping their roster prior to the start of the draft. The team completely overhauled its ILB room while signing key veterans at defensive back, offensive line, and just completely a surprising trade for WR Allen Robinson II to add a proven veteran to that room.
Kristopher Know of Bleacher Report recently published his offseason grades prior to the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, giving the Steelers a B-grade for their flurry of offseason moves.
“Landing Allen Robinson II in a bargain trade is the latest move in what has been a good Steelers offseason,” Knox wrote. “Pittsburgh upgraded its offensive line by snagging Isaac Seumalo. It added Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to replace Robert Spillane and Devin Bush and signed Patrick Peterson to replace Cameron Sutton. While the Steelers’ replacement moves might not provide upgrades across the board, Pittsburgh isn’t worse off than it was a year ago—re-signing defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and safety Damontae Kazee helps with that.”
Knox is taking the approach that the Steelers may not be any worse than they were to conclude the 2022 given their recent additions in the offseason. He also poses the question of how much better the players they added are then the guys they replaced. To his credit, Knox has fair points regarding losing the versatile Sutton to the Lions while signing the grizzled vet Peterson to a cheaper two-year deal.
The same could be said for parting with LBs Myles Jack, Bush, and Spillane to bring in Holcomb, Roberts, and Tanner Muse to fill the ILB room. The is no denying that Holcomb and Roberts bring more physicality against the run, but the results remain to be seen after going the mid-tier free agent route yet again.
However, Pittsburgh vastly improved the OL by signing a superb starting G in Seumalo as well as versatile swing IOL Nate Herbig, adding much-needed talent and depth to the interior. The Robinson trade cannot be overlooked either as Pittsburgh traded pennies to acquire a proven veteran who is a reliable pass catcher to be this team’s WR3 and help Kenny Pickett take the next step.
Pittsburgh’s offseason will allow it to target the best players in the draft without a glaring need on the roster in terms of finding an immediate starter. Sure, CB and OT are likely two positions that the Steelers wants to improve upon early in the draft, but they have capable guys at both those positions who can start, not forcing them to reach on an inferior prospect. Either way, Pittsburgh is slated to add some talented prospects a week from now, helping this team round into form to become a playoff contender in the AFC.
“The line should be a bit better, and Pittsburgh can continue improving through the draft, with offensive tackle now arguably the only glaring need,” Knox continued. “Considering Pittsburgh went 9-8 in 2022 with rookie Kenny Pickett under center for most of the season, even minor improvements could make this a playoff team.”