The Steelers have done an excellent job to attack all of the holes on their roster with an intent to make sure they have none before the regular season. However, the team still has some questions that could prove worrying in the regular season. What positions could the team attack via trades and on the waiver wire?
Specifically, in this instance, I want to refer to outside cornerback. The Steelers’ depth at outside cornerback following Cory Trice’s season-ending knee injury is thin. James Pierre’s up-and-down training camp and preseason inspired little confidence in his ability as the fourth guy on the team. Joey Porter Jr. has potential but has technique issues to overcome that could make his start a little rocky.
Regardless, one injury to any of the top three cornerbacks and the depth gets pretty scary. The team must find someone to trust to go there in a pinch. Maybe they trust Pierre based on his past track record, but it’s hard to fully embrace his summer and love the inconsistencies he has displayed throughout it. Pittsburgh can also find a quality guy who serves as a quality gunner. No team can take cornerback depth for granted, and I don’t think Omar Khan takes it for granted, given his attack to it this offseason. The Trice injury just threw a wrench into those plans.
It sounds like an overbeaten drum, but the backup center problem needs solving. Nate Herbig has experience there in the past in Philadelphia. Rookie Spencer Anderson is starting to get some action against the Bills in the preseason. However, Kendrick Green has not proven trustworthy enough for the Steelers to go into the regular season with him as their backup center. They allowed him to earn that job, but he has not taken the bull by its horns.
As a result, I’d expect the team to ride with Herbig or go outside the organization to find someone who can fill the void. There are only so many quality center options, and if it comes down to it, keeping Dylan Cook on the roster is not a bad idea for the Steelers. But a true, dedicated backup center with in-game action at the position recently would boost the team’s depth across the board. They need to explore it.
Everyone could name the first two positions on this list, but what about the safety position? After the release of Kenny Robinson, and even with him in the room, the Steelers safety room does not provide a lot of confidence behind the top three guys. Even Keanu Neal, who will play a lot of snaps, does not slot in seamlessly as a starting strong safety should Damontae Kazee get hurt.
Behind them, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew, and Trenton Thompson raise more questions than answers. Killebrew is a designated special teamer with little viability on defense. Norwood and Thompson seem destined for the practice squad. So, could this be a sleeper positon that Pittsburgh looks to add to on the waiver wire? I think so, and after experiencing those safety injuries early in training camp, Khan and Tomlin might see the need to invest in another safety before the start of the season.