We’ll continue our series by taking a look at the Steelers, who look to build on their 2015 season. With a little bit of fortune, and the right moves, we could be looking at the best team in football next season, as much as it pains me to admit that. A dynamic offense and a fierce front 7 are nothing to scoff at, let’s see how the Steelers can improve their depth and secondary here.
Main Players to Cut
None. Zip. Nada. There are no big time names the Steelers need to cut. They COULD save create $8.75 in cap space by cutting Lawrence Timmons, who actually had a very poor year in terms of coverage and run defense, but he’s such a household name that I feel like I would be crucified by Steelers fans for suggesting such a thing. Aside from him, most of their contract situations are fine and fair.
Players to Re-Sign
These are the players that the Steelers MUST sign, regardless of price, they can’t let these guys leave.
None – As the series continues, you’ll notice how sparse this list really is. There’s no Steelers free agents that are 100% crucial to the team’s success.
These are the main players the Steelers should focus on bringing back, but that they can afford to lose.
G Ramon Foster and T Kelvin Beachum – A stabilized offensive line will keep this Steelers offense elite. Beachum and Foster were both very serviceable last season when they played. They aren’t elite by any means, but very good linemen are hard to come by in today’s game.
CB William Gay – He’s a guy who knows the system and still has a few good years left in him. The Steelers would be smart to bring him back.
Worth Bringing Back for the Right Price
The title says it all.
CB Brandon Boykin – I still don’t understand why he wasn’t used more. Boykin is one of the league’s top nickel backs, he could really help this team.
S Robert Golden – The young safety was solid when on the field, he could be a nice depth piece going forward.
I’ll continue to say it, but EVERY team should be on the lookout for depth, so I’ll mostly be focusing on the big time players they should be going after.
Sign a Premier CB
The Steeler’s secondary was mediocre at best this season. Rookie CBs are rarely elite right when they enter the league. If the Steelers want to take their team to the next level NOW, they should consider signing one of these top notch CBs; Josh Norman (if he for some reason leaves), Adam Jones, Sean Smith, Janoris Jenkins, Casey Hayward.
Go Big on an Inside Linebacker
Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons underperformed last season. The Steelers could take their chances; both players have the talent. OR they could go out and try to snag one of these inside linebackers; Derrick Johnson, Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Brandon Marshall.
If the Steelers can get their hands on two players from this list, their defense could be scary next season.
Draft Needs; CB, S, DE, LB
The Steelers should just go all defense this draft. Why not? You have an elite QB with plenty of offensive talent around him. Here’s my realistic “big board” for the Steelers at #25.
- Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
- Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
- Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
- Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
- Vonn Bell, SS, Ohio State
- Darian Thompson, FS, Boise State
- Sheldon Rankins, DT/DE, Louisville
- Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
- Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
These are the best players that I can REALISTICALLY see being available at 25. If a guy like Nkemdiche or Hargreaves falls there for some reason, the Steelers should absolutely pounce on them.
Apologies, this was a short one, but honestly the Steelers are in great shape already. Like a few other teams, they just need to hope that injuries don’t hit their best players. But with Pouncey and Bell returning next season, it’s tough to imagine them not making the Playoffs again; only this time, they’ll likely make some noise.
Photo Credit – http://sportsglory.com/tag/leveon-bell