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Steelers Analysis

Three Free Agents Steelers Should Sign to Fill Needs

The Pittsburgh Steelers have multiple needs they still need to fill, but who should they end up targeting to fill those voids?



Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Safety Target Julian Blackmon Indianapolis Cols
Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon runs out of the tunnel before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 17, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of needs they must fill, but with the first wave of free agency starting to wash away, the second wave will come into view, and that is generally when the Steelers start to get quite active on the open market. With their needs, who are three players they could look to add to the fray to help fill those voids?

Colts safety Julian Blackmon

If there was a safety made to play next to Minkah Fitzpatrick, Julian Blackmon passes that test with flying colors. In his first three years in the NFL, Blackmon stuck it out as a single-high safety in a Cover 3 scheme, rarely coming down to play in the box or the slot. But last season, the Colts finally breached that, and Blackmon played over half of his snaps between the box and slot. He can do, and his ability to move around the football field is exactly what the Steelers need to pair with someone like Fitzpatrick, who became far too boxed into one spot a season ago.

Pittsburgh used Fitzpatrick in the slot and box more than they probably would have liked in 2023. While he is elite in that area, his range and ball skills call for him to do more than play down in the box and bang around with physicality. Bringing in someone like Blackmon to help alleviate the stress of Fitzpatrick condensing too many roles, mainly if Damontae Kazee sticks around on top of that, is a significant addition to the Steelers defense. Unlocking Fitzpatrick is a must, and Blackmon could do that.

Dolphins Center Connor Williams

Quickly the top center left on the market, Connor Williams has to be considered the favorite for the Steelers if they want to land a player who will slot right in and start. Of course, there are significant questions about Williams’ availability to start training camp and potentially even the season. He tore his ACL in Week 14, significantly impacting his market. It’s certainly possible he waits it out until he gets the prognosis on his knee.

But if he is willing to sign early, the Steelers should be all over it. He would be a plug-and-play center and a guy they could trust to man the position, especially in the wide zone scheme that Arthur Smith runs. I am unsure if they will make this big of a splash, but Williams will easily be the best player remaining if they do. And it would allow them to avoid this position in the NFL Draft, if that is what they wanted to do, opening up the ability to dip into the market at other key areas of need. But I will guess Williams will wait it out for a bit with the injury, so this one would likely come later in the process.

Lions Wide Receiver Josh Reynolds

Detroit’s Josh Reynolds makes so much sense for Pittsburgh to target. Why? Because, much like often discussed names on this site like Mack Hollins and Noah Brown, he was recently in a heavy run-blocking offense in Ben Johnson’s scheme and has the chops to get after it in the run game. If you can find players who can do and be a strong, physical body over the middle of the field, they are a fit for this offense. Reynolds has some sauce on his routes and can get open on those over routes and dig routes.

In fact, that was his main route tree throughout his time in the offense and Jared Goff hit him on those exact two routes more than I can count. He fits this offense like a glove, and his toughness and productivity of play action speak to his skillset to make tough hands catches in those tight windows over the middle of the field. He feels like one of the best options of this group that can give the team a high floor while adding physicality in the run game.