We are at the point of the off-season where the Pittsburgh Steelers 90 man roster is just about set. The draft is now complete, and the bulk of the free agent signings have been made. The roster still has some holes that need to be filled however. Here’s a look at the top five positions that still need addressing:
The starters are set at safety, but depth is lacking here. Right now the team has just journeyman Jordan Dangerfield and rookie Antoine Brooks as realistic contenders for the backup safety spots. Neither one of those have the skills to play free safety if starter Minkah Fitzpatrick were to miss any time. We argued from the beginning that bringing back Sean Davis would have solved this depth issue, and possibly pushed Terrell Edmunds for a staring role. Steelers need to bring back Sean Davis to compete at safety
2. Inside Linebacker:
When your top backup is a second year sixth round pick coming off a major injury, that could be an issue. While Ulysees Gilbert showed some real promise in 2019, the Steelers can not say with any certainty that he is the answer if one of the starters were to go down. Robert Spillane is the other candidate for the backup inside linebacker for Pittsburgh. He too has almost no starting experience, having played in only eight games. Both these players predominantly played special teams only last season. Bringing back Mark Barron at a cheaper contract sounds like a pretty good idea at this point.
To say the Steelers offense struggled when Ben Roehtlisberger went down last season would be an understatement. Both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges struggled mightily in their attempts to hold down the starting role. Jameis Winston was a name thrown around quite a bit in the media before he finally signed with New Orleans. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2886008-making-the-case-for-the-pittsburgh-steelers-to-sign-jameis-winston
The Steelers have remained steadfast that they are happy with the current depth at the position from day one. It is very unlikely they would bring in another player despite the apparent need. This is a dangerous way to enter the season knowing Roehtlisberger is 38, and coming off major arm surgery. For a team who seems dead set on making a Super Bowl run in 2020, adding a veteran backup who has won games in the past would be the prudent move. There are still decent veterans like Matt Moore and Josh McCown available in free agency.
4. Nose Tackle:
When it comes to the top five positions that still need addressing, nose tackle would seem to be tops on the list. At this position there is Dan McCullers…….and well that’s it. Chris Wormley was acquired from the Ravens, but even he is not a true nose tackle. The team did draft Carlos Davis in the seventh round this past draft. Davis is a long shot to make the roster, let alone get any significant playing time. Maybe the team no longer values the position, or maybe they believe finding a veteran cast off will be easy to find later on in the off-season. It seems hard to believe that the team will start 2020 with the current cast of characters at nose tackle.
One position that doesn’t get talked about a lot when it comes to the Steelers is the corner back spot. The starters are set with Joe Haden and Steven Nelson. Behind them however, is thin to say the least. Second year man Justin Layne is the only suitable backup for the outside corner position. Cam Sutton can play there in a pinch, but he is much better as a slot corner. Adding a veteran corner to this group would seem like a prudent approach. Especially when you consider Joe Haden’s age (31), and injury history.