The 2022 NFL Draft is almost upon us, and while the Steelers have already addressed several needs in Free Agency leading up to selection weekend, there are a few moves the team could, and probably should, still make.
We have seen a willingness by the team to start rookie draft picks earlier in recent years. We also saw in 2021 what an over-reliance on unproven players can do to a solid team which is just a few pieces away from true contention.
According to Spotrac, the Steelers still have over $ 13 Million in available cap space. So, before team brass sits down in the war room to select the team’s future, here’s a few moves they can make right now to improve a roster which faces an uphill climb to contention in a loaded AFC.
Sign a starting Strong Safety
This is the big one. Kevin Colbert is on record saying he believes the team has most of their starters in place, with the lone glaring exception being Minkah Fitzpatrick’s running mate in the secondary. A superstar in Tyrann Mathieu (KC) highlights the group of available targets, and his price point keeps dropping by the day. Landon Collins (WAS) could still provide valuable starter snaps; however, I believe he would be a downgrade from the Steelers incumbent starter, Terrell Edmunds, who is still available and probably the most likely solution to the problem.
Outside of the three players listed above, there aren’t really any other starting caliber strong safeties available for Pittsburgh to pursue. I believe one of these three will be on the roster before they make their first pick on Thursday, April 28.
Bring in a veteran Wide Receiver
Pittsburgh just addressed their lack of depth at wide receiver (WR) when they were awarded former Baltimore Raven Myles Boykin off waivers Tuesday. He has been a disappointment thus far, but who better to attempt a career resurrection at WR than the Steelers?
That being said, the team could still use a veteran presence in the room, and there are still plenty of available options in Free Agency. Speed threats such as Will Fuller (MIA), TY Hilton (IND), or Marquise Goodwin (CHI) could catch the Steelers’ eye, or they could go after a reliable slot weapon like Jarvis Landry (CLE), Adam Humphries (WAS) , or Albert Wilson (MIA).
Although I don’t necessarily expect a move to be made at this position, there are some guys with real value still available, and it would be wise for the team to add some veteran leadership to a very, very young room featuring Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
Add a run-stopping piece along the Defensive Line
Arguably the Steelers’ biggest area of weakness in 2021 was its inability to even slow down the opponent’s rushing attacks. Pittsburgh gave up an insane 143.8 yards per game on the ground. Stephon Tuitt’s status is still up in the air, and although the team brought back Montravius Adams, this unit still has a glaring hole to fill. Another big body along the defensive line (DL) could go a long way to improving the defensive unit as a whole.
Some available veteran talents include Eddie Goldman (CHI), Brandon Williams (BAL), and Nick Williams (DET) who would all be instant upgrades along the front seven, especially when it comes to shutting down ball carriers. The Steelers cannot afford to let this position go unaddressed much longer, and they have the financial means to make a solid move before the draft.
Add some depth at Cornerback
With the top cornerbacks (CB) on the market already signed, it’s slim pickings for a team who I believe still needs help at the corner. The Steelers’ best bet is to sign another veteran with inside-outside versatility to come in and compete with Cam Sutton for slot reps. There are a host of mid-tier names available who could help this team, at the very least, with depth.
Chris Harris (LAC), Bryce Callahan (DEN), Robert Alford (ARI), and Jason Verrett (SF) are all viable options that could be secured at a reasonable price for the value they would provide. Could there even be a potential reunion with Joe Haden on the horizon? I have strong doubts. But one thing I don’t doubt is how the Steelers need help in this area, and should make a move before the draft to free themselves up to address other needs.
There are some other moves the Pittsburgh Steelers could consider prior to the Draft, but these are the most pressing needs, in my opinion. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, as well as any other moves you would like to see the team make before April 28th.