After watching this team for ten games now, we have a pretty good idea of what the Steelers have and what they need going forward. Here’s a look at the top five must haves for 2020:
1. EDGE RUSHER
The simple fix here would be to resign Bud Dupree and call it a day. Well, that may not be so simple. As described in an earlier post (Steelers Need to Bring Back Bud Dupree), signing Dupree promises to be an expensive proposition. At this point, it doesn’t seem like the Steelers have much of a choice. Drafting a replacement without a first round pick is not an option. We have seen enough of Kevin Colbert’s bargain basement free agent signings to know that won’t work either. It comes down to sign Bud Dupree or bust for Pittsburgh next season.
2. DEFENSIVE TACKLE
If the Steelers break the bank to sign Dupree, they will have to say goodbye to their other free agent to be Javon Hargrave. The team needs quality back ups on the defensive line in order to keep Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt fresh the entire season. Speaking of Tuitt, his inability to stay healthy is still another reason this position will be so important during the off-season.
3. RUNNING BACK
This position has been among the most disappointing so far in 2019. None of the backs have been able to stay healthy this season. This is especially concerning for James Conner who now seems to be injured more often than not. Jaylen Samuels has taken a rather large step backwards from his rookie season. He looks like a player who doesn’t deserve a roster spot at times. The Steelers have no idea what they have in Benny Snell, as the injury bug has hit him as well. Look for Kevin Colbert to draft a running back for the fourth straight year in 2020.
4. OFFENSIVE LINE
This line has looked old at times, and could use a fresh face in the mix. Ramon Foster is probably in his last season, and one has to wonder how much longer Maurkice Pouncey can continue to play at this level. Perhaps the most concerning is the play Alejandro Villanueva. He has looked overmatched against the better pass-rushers he has faced. Look for the Steelers to address the line early in this year’s draft.
5. WIDE RECEIVER
The one glaring weakness coming into the season for this offense was a deep threat receiver. Kevin Colbert had hoped that Donte Moncrief would be able to fill that role, he was wrong. This position has become a real blind spot for Colbert. His last two tries to sign a speed receiver have failed miserably. Both Justin Hunter and Donte Moncrief have been among the worst free agent signings in Colbert’s career. Perhaps Colbert should stick to the draft to fill this position. He has had much more success going that route.