1. Bud Dupree becomes an elite pass rusher – He may be the only hope for double digit sacks this season for the Steelers. Dupree’s development into a big time pass rusher would be a huge boost to Pittsburgh’s defense.
2. Sammy Coates makes us forget about Martavis Bryant – There’s a giant sized hole to fill at receiver opposite AB. With Bryant gone for the year due to his suspension, Coates must step up and be the guy to replace him. He showed us flashes against the Broncos in the playoffs last year. Coates needs to take the next step and be another threat for opposing defenses to worry about.
3. Ladarius Green fills some big shoes – Yet another big hole to fill in offense. Green will have to not only have to replace the catches lost when tight end Heath Miller retired, he will have to make some of the big plays Bryant had last season.
4. Big Dan becomes the man – It’s time for Dan McCullers to become a force on the Steelers defensive line. He is the starting nose tackle now that Steve McLendon has joined the Jets via free agency. Pittsburgh will need McCullers to step up and dominate the line this season.
5. Ryan Shazier and Maurkice Pouncey stay healthy – Both these players are Pro Bowl caliber at their respective positions. What the Steelers need for a championship run is a full sixteen games out of each of them. If Pittsburgh gets that, it will make for a very successful season.
6. Speaking of staying healthy, Le’Veon Bell…..- Pittsburgh’s offense is on a totally different level when Bell is healthy, no offense to DeAngleo Williams. It really shows in the red zone, where the Steelers struggled without him last season. A return to form from Bell will make the Steelers offense nearly unstoppable.
7. Somebody please become a solid left tackle – Alejandro Villenueva was the starter for most of last season. He was average at best, although he did improve as the season went along. Ryan Harris was signed as a free agent from the Broncos to add depth. One of these two need to raise the level of play in the upcoming season.
8. Mr. Golson please take the field – Senquez Golson missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury, and has already missed some time this offseason. The Steelers have a serious lack of depth at corner. Golson having a big first season would go a long way in solving Pittsbutgh’s secondary problems.
9. Who’s at safety opposite Mike Mitchell – One of the many questions on defense is who plays along side Mitchell at safety for the Steelers. Out of the gate, it seems Robert Golden has the nod over the very frustrating Shamarko Thomas. Golden is a special teams ace who came on late last season as a third safety. Thomas seems like a complete bust at this point, this will be his last chance to do anything in a Steeler uniform.
10. The rookies must produce – Pittsburgh will need some of thier draft choices to contribute by the seasons end. Safety Sean Davis and corner Artie Burns need to bolster a weak secondary. Javon Hargrave will be asked to spell all three starters on the defensive line. Any one of these players having a breakout year would be just what the Steelers need to get over the top.