The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to set themselves up for the next era while still staying competitive for what is likely Ben Roethlisberger’s last season (at least, one would think). The Steelers started the season 11-0, but they ran out of gas because of injuries and lack of depth at important positions. Mike Tomlin’s defense continues to be a major strength, but the offense played Jekyll and Hyde all season long.
This is an incredibly important offseason for the Steelers. Some of their major free agents include Juju Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree, James Conner, Alejandro Villanueva, Avery Williamson, and Mike Hilton. That’s quite the group of players that the Steelers probably would like to bring back. Some really struggled in their role last season, but it’s going to be near impossible to replace all of them and still put a competitive team in an AFC North that gets better every year.
The Steelers looked like a Super Bowl contender in the first half of last season, but that all turned out to be a false flag. The train came off the rails in the second half of the season, and a loss in the playoffs to the usually lowly Cleveland Browns (who didn’t even have their head coach on the sidelines) hit a new low for the franchise.
The Steelers have to hit on their picks in the NFL Draft so they can get an infusion of youth, and so they can get some cheaper talent to replace some of the pieces that are leaving and set themselves up in the future.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-round mock draft
Every single year, a quarterback falls further than expected in the NFL Draft. This year, there are five quarterbacks being discussed as possible top-10 picks, but it very rarely works out that way. Since the year 2000, the most QBs to go in the top 10 is three.
Last season, Jordan Love fell down the draft board before the Packers traded up to take him. In 2019, Dwayne Haskins surprisingly fell to 15. The year before, Lamar Jackson became available to the Ravens in the final pick of the first round.
Mac Jones might very well be that player in this year’s draft. There are a lot of internet rumors saying scouts “like him better than Trey Lance.” Mel Kiper compared him to Tom Brady and Joe Burrow. This all seems performative. Jones might be a really good QB, but he always felt like he was on the second level after Lance, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields.
The Steelers might have to spend a little draft capital to move into the teens, but it’s not likely that teams are looking to take five quarterbacks in the top ten like some make it seem. The Patriots are a team to worry about at 15, but if Micah Parsons is there, it’s hard to believe they’ll say no to that.
After them, there’s the Bears and Washington Football Team. They can go a number of different ways. Jones can very easily fall to the Steelers at 24, and this is where he finally becomes a good value.