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How the Steelers Offensive Position Groups Have Changed Going into 2020

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Every team has turnover from one season to the next and the Steelers are no exception.

The team will feel radically different thanks to the return of Ben Roethlisberger, but the roster is mostly intact. Gone are some backups and veterans, a few underperforming defensive backs, and a couple of special teams aces, but that’s it.

This year, the Steelers have had a pretty active offseason, bringing in tight end Eric Ebron, offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski and defensive tackle Chris Wormley along with multiple former XFL players and the team’s 2020 NFL Draft haul, albeit one that’s smaller than usual thanks to their lack of a first-round pick. The team also recently added 10 undrafted free agents. With the Steelers track record on the matter, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of them make a splash down the line.

On offense, the Steelers will return over 96% of their on-field production from 2019 and will be bolstered by the signing of Ebron.

Quarterback

Returning:

Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Devlin Hodges
J.T. Barrett
Paxton Lynch

New: 

None

Losses:

None

It’s just going to feel like the Steelers added to their quarterback room in 2019 with the return of Roethlisberger from injury. The team opted not to draft a successor for Roethlisberger and will go with Rudolph as the de facto No. 2 to start next season.

Running Back

Returning:

James Conner
Benny Snell Jr.
Jaylen Samuels
Trey Edmunds
Ralph Webb
Kerrith Whyte

New:

Anthony McFarland Jr.

Losses:

Tony Brooks-James

The Steelers drafted McFarland with their first of two fourth-round selections. He will join a crowded Steelers backfield lead by Conner and Snell, neither of which produced much last year. Conner lead all backs with 715 total yards and seven touchdowns but dealt with injuries most of the year. Expect to see more of a rotation with Conner, Snell and McFarland likely receiving the bulk of the carries. The only loss is Tony Brooks-James, who had 7 yards in 2019.

JACKSONVILLE, FL – DECEMBER 08: Los Angeles Chargers Fullback Derek Watt (34) during the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 8, 2019 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

Fullback

Returning:

None

New:

Derek Watt
Spencer Nigh

Losses:

Roosevelt Nix

The Steelers replaced Rosie Nix with the third Watt brother, Derek Watt.

Wide Receiver

Returning:

JuJu Smith-Schuster
James Washington
Diontae Johnson
Deon Cain
Ryan Switzer
Amara Darboh

New: 

Chase Claypool
Saeed Blacknall
Anthony Johnson
Quadree Henderson

Losses:

Tevin Jones
Johnny Holton
Donte Moncrief

Donte Moncrief is long gone, so really the Steelers are only losing Tevin Jones and Johnny Holton, who combined for 91 yards in 2019. The Steelers have added former XFL-er Saeed Blacknall and 2nd round pick Chase Claypool to young receiver room that has lots of talent, if not experience.

Tight End

Returning:

Vance McDonald
Zach Gentry
Kevin Rader
Christian Scotland-Williamson

New: 

Eric Ebron

Losses:

Nick Vannett
Xavier Grimble

The disappointing Nick Vannet and Xavier Grimble are both gone, but the Steelers prize offseason acquisition, Eric Ebron, should more than make up for their losses. Behind Ebron and McDonald, however, it’s a very thin group. Kevin Rader and Christian Scotland-Williamson are probably practice squad members and Zach Gentry is still extremely raw. It will be interesting to see if the former fifth-round pick shows much progression.

Offensive Line

Returning:

Maurkice Pouncey
David DeCastro
Alejandro Villaneuva
Zach Banner
Matt Feiler
Derwin Gray
Chukwuma Okorafor
Christian DiLauro
J.C. Hassenauer

New:
Stefen Wisniewski
Kevin Dotson
Jarron Jones
Christian Montano
Anthony Coyle
John Keenoy

Losses:

Ramon Foster
B.J. Finney

With Foster’s retirement the team loses some experience, but that is likely negated by two-time Super Bowl winner Stefen Wisniewski. The Steelers let backup B.J. Finney walk, but he only played 33% of the team’s snaps in 2019. The Steelers received lots of praise for their fourth-round pick of Kevin Dotson from Louisiana and some view him as a potential long-term starter in the league.

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