The Pittsburgh Steelers have concluded their mandatory minicamp and will now head toward Latrobe for training in over a month’s time. Regardless, the team still has plenty of roster building that they must do before then and certainly before they take the field for the first time against the 49ers. So, what are their top needs? Here are a few.
The biggest question on this football team, bar none, is inside linebacker. When you look at the room, they are truly lacking quality coverage options in that room. They should be quite a good run-stopping unit, and Cole Holcomb brings enough to the table that he should be pretty steady overall. But really, where does this team’s coverage upside come from? It’s not really there right now and teams can easily spread them out and attack them out of 12 personnel to no end.
At some point, you have to think this group adds someone who can specialize in coverage and in sub-package football. Keanu Neal might be the dime linebacker, but a coverage specialist in general, such as Kwon Alexander, would be a massive boon for a unit that needs it.
Inside Linebacker Depth
Speaking of which, this team just needs inside linebackers. I said they had a good group to really embrace as a run-stopping unit. I do believe that. However, where does this team find its competition in training camp? Jermaine Carter Jr. and Nick Kwiatkowski were hosted for tryouts during the team’s mandatory minicamp. They are looking for some guys there. But they don’t really even have enough bodies to have a true competition at inside linebacker or sustain any of the normal Latrobe bumps and bruises. So, they’ll probably add not one but maybe two guys to this group. It just makes sense.
This team has enough bodies at safety, but none of the depth options are really that intriguing. That let go of Scott Nelson and I think another safety could potentially be the move there. If there were a losers group from minicamp, those depth safeties would be on that poster. There is enough to be comfortable with a roster, but when you are trying to field versatile ballhawks that can maybe play in the slot, it’s hard to not look for some others that could stick out and push guys like Tre Norwood.
It’s not a big need. But the team has better depth at other positions. The safeties simply don’t feel like they’re pulling their weight right now. If you’re going to put energy into guys, you want to believe they can be something. I think they’re lacking a little bit of that right now at safety.
The Steelers do have a number of options at backup center, but you certainly have to wonder if they could look to the free-agent market to lock that down. The answer could be Kendrick Green, Spencer Anderson, or simply shifting another one of their many players that have experience there over a spot. However, for a group that has prioritized really nailing down this spot, it brings into question just how much of a question they want this position to be.
Their tackle depth and guard depth check most of the boxes. But having some questions like they do at center is something that the team could want to avoid. If there is one free agent signing on the offensive side of the ball that could maybe move the needle a bit, I wouldn’t be shocked if a veteran backup center option was brought on board.