The Steelers surprised many folks by heating up late in the season and making the Conference Championship. With the triple threat offense of Roethlisberger, Brown, and Bell the Steelers are always dangerous. Bell is a free agent this year and Brown is also in line for a contract extension. A linebacking corps, that has been the strength of this team for over two decades now, however, is starting to show its age. Still, the window remains open for the Steelers, and one would expect their off season to be spent reloading for yet another deep post season run.
Primary Needs: OLB, WR, CB
Secondary Needs: ILB, TE
Free Agency Strategy: Other than Le’Veon Bell, who is an obvious franchise tag designee, Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison are the two big name free agency. Neither is likely to resign, although Timmons still has some years left in him. Pittsburgh has $36 million dollars with which to play and resigning Timmons might be on the agenda. Former first round selection Jarvis Jones is the team’s biggest miss at linebacker ever and will, presumably, leave. There are enough talented outside linebackers that the team might take a flyer on a veteran like Erik Walden, but the Steelers typically develop their own linebackers and are unlikely to stop in the deepest linebacker draft in memory. Extending Brown, resigning Bell, possibly resigning Timmons, and signing all of the rookes would just about use up the Steelers cap space, so expect this to be another quiet year for the team in free agency.
Draft Strategy: The Steelers draft needs all seem to line up with the deepest positions of this draft class. Pittsburgh will probably be able to take the BPA at their primary needs of ILB, OLB, TE, and CB in the first 4 rounds and get value each time. In the first round outside linebackers like Carl Lawson and Tim Williams must be considered. Inside linebackers like Jarrad Davis and Zach Cunningham might also be available. In the second round players like Raekwon McMillan, Ryan Anderson, TJ Watt, Evan Engram, and David Njokue would all fill an immediate need.