This off-season is starting to look like the beginning of the end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Already losing key pieces like Bud Dupree and Steve Nelson, they are also facing one of the worst cap situations in the NFL. The fact is, they have to start a rebuild soon or it could get very miserable. That rebuild should start in the 2021 draft. Here is the case for each position that Pittsburgh should be looking at
When talking about the Steelers, 9 times out of 10 you’ll hear people talking about how Big Ben is getting too old to play. But people tend to forget the O-Line core is getting right up there in age with him.
Maurkice Pouncy has already retired, David DeCastro is already 31 and his future with the team is unknown, and Alejandro Villanueva is currently a free agent and regardless if he comes back, he won’t really make a huge impact. Luckily for the Steelers, the 2021 draft is very heavy on offensive linemen with guys such as OT Penei Sewell from Oregon, or interior linemen Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC, and Wyatt Davis from Ohio State. But for the Steelers, who hold the 24th overall pick, it all depends on who’s available.
I would love to see one of the guys I mentioned wearing black and gold next year, but they will almost certainly be gone by then. I could see the Steelers taking a guy like OT Tevin Jenkins out of Oklahoma State. He is very athletic and can play on either side of the ball, is very versatile and he can be put into any offensive system. His potential is raw, but he could be a very good O-Lineman for the black and gold.
The Steelers have fielded a top 5 defense in the last 2 seasons. But ever since Ryan Shazier went down with a devastating injury in December of 2017, there has been a giant whole in the middle of the field. And now after losing Bud Dupree and letting Vince Williams go they’re losing even more linebackers on the outside.
The 2021 draft is loaded with likebacker talent. However, Micah Parsons out of Penn State is clearly the best linebacker in the draft then after him it’s just a toss up. Other linebackers include Nick Bolton from Missouri and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame. Both of these guys could be realistic targets for the Steelers late in the first round.
Bolton is a guy who reads offenses very well. He’s not the most athletic linebacker but he’s a very smart player who you can put in the middle of any defense and he will perform well. Owusu-Koramoah is likely the most athletic linebacker in this draft. He’s very good in coverage and wouldn’t be a shocker if he switched to safety in the NFL. He is very versatile so he could be put at ILB, OLB, or even safety in the NFL.
I think everyone knows about the Steelers QB situation at this point. Big Ben has at the most one good year left in him before he most likely retires. At this time, these Steelers aren’t in dire need of a quarterback. They recently signed Dwayne Haskins who is hoping to turn his career around in just his 3rd professional season, plus there is always the option of Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph has not been great in the games he’s played but the Steelers have a decent group of receivers who might be able to take some slack off of the QB. The odds are slim that they get an exciting QB unless they trade up, but there is guys who are projected to go in the later rounds like Jamie Newman from Georgia and Kellen Mond from Texas A&M. I do not see the Steelers taking either of these guys but I would not be shocked if they did end up with one of them.
The Steelers cornerback situation seems to be getting worse and worse by the day. They’ve already lost Mike Hilton to the division rival Cincinnati Bengals, and they had to let Steve Nelson go because of financial issues. All that and Joe Haden who showed decline last year is set to make just over $11 million this year.
They could very well use a good rookie cornerback for their future. This draft has some very good CB talent with guys like Patrick Surtain from Alabama, Caleb Farley from Virginia Tech, and a familiar name to NFL fans, Asante Samuel Jr who was at Florida State. Aside from these 3 there are many more very good CBs in this draft.
The Steelers have a pretty good chance at drafting any of these guys aside from Patrick Surtain who has potential to be a top 10 pick. They could wait until the second round or later to pick a CB if at all.
At this time it is not clear what the Steelers will do in the draft. From my experience of being a fan, the Steelers seem to never buy into what all the mock drafts say and go with someone completely different. With that said, they always seem to make very good picks so Steelers fans should be confident that they will make some very solid picks in this year’s draft.