Well folks, we made it to the final NFL roster and draft class breakdown, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This will be the last article of this nature until the spring when we’ll do it all over again. Until then, stay tuned to of all the other content coming out. Now, to the matter at hand.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are always held in high regard. Because of the nature of the division lately, the have been the heavy favorite for multiple years. Well, I’m here to tell you why that should no longer be the case, and why the Steelers won’t do well in 2021. Additionally, I am calling it right now that they will finish last in the division, and the Browns will win the north. For one last time, let’s break it all down.
But first, let’s start with something positive, the defense. There are no problems here. On top of that, four out of the nine draft picks were spent on the defense. There are no holes on in the 3-4 setup. Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, and Cameron Heyward make up a great group in the trenches. The Steelers drafted Isaiah Loudermilk in round six from Wisconsin. It will probably take sometime for him to factor into the rotation to to the depth in front of him, and polishing his technique. The linebackers are an elite group lead by T.J Watt. Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, and Alex Highsmith are the other backers who feasted on offenses in 2020. Fantasy owners, pick this defense up for sure.
Two linebackers were drafted as well. One edge rusher, and one middle run stopper. Buddy Johnson is the inside backer drafted in round five from Texas A&M. Quincy Roche from Miami is seventh round edge rusher. Both won’t hit the field right away on defense. But, Roche can probably beat out Cassius Marsh for Watt’s immediate backup.
Finally, the secondary. You could knit pick and say the secondary could be the part of the defense that may be a little weaker than the others. But at this point, it’s just splitting hairs. Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton are the corners. Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick are the safeties. Tre Norwood was drafted in the seventh round from Oklahoma. He was a corner, but currently listed as the backup free safety to Fitzpatrick. By the way, the Steelers also drafted punter Presley Harvin III in round seven from Georgia Tech. I’m telling you, you have got to look this guy up. He is going to be a good one.
Now let’s talk about the real problem with this team, the offense. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Ben Roethlisberger is all washed up. I’m convinced he talks about retirement every year just to get attention. Newsflash people, if an athlete keeps thinking about retirement, it means he or she wants to retire! If he goes down, good luck. The options behind him are Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins, and Josh Dobbs. One word, yikes.
The good news is the Steelers are finally getting some running back reinforcements. That would be Alabama first round pick Najee Harris. This kid is going to be special. Diontae Johnson still has the dropsies in camp, and Juju Smith-Schuster needs to get his act together. This is not a recipe for success. At least Chase Claypool knows what to do. Eric Ebron is a solid option at tight end. Is he a came breaker? Probably not. But, they drafted Pat Freiermuth in round two from Penn State. They call him “Baby Gronk” which sounds encouraging.
Up Front and Final Thoughts
Finally, the offensive line. Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr were added from the third and fourth round respectively. Green, from Illinois, can play center and guard. Moore Jr, from Texas A&M, is a pure tackle. Green could replace Kevin Dotson as left guard. Dotson has shown up out of shape and has lost the job for now. Green is also a candidate to replace J.C Hassenauer as the starting center. However, the jobs of tackles Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor, along with right guard Trai Turner seem safe for now.
While there are some good pieces here, it just doesn’t feel like enough to improve on the woes of 2020. The line did not always come through in the run game, granted the running backs didn’t either. But on top of that, two out of the three starting receivers are huge question marks and could be in make or break years. The cherry on top is an old and overrated QB. The defense can’t do everything, and this just seems like a situation where the defense is going to get burnt out down the stretch from over usage. That could prove costly during a playoff push and playoff run.
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