Through week 14, at 8-5, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked like they had a good chance the make the playoffs. Well, Pittsburgh would go on to lose their last three games, finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
Going into 2020, the Steelers will get back quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, continue to have an elite defensive talent and should be very competitive. Regardless, the team still has a few things they need to look at if they want to get back to being a perennial playoff team.
Let’s face it, Roethlisberger won’t be able to do this forever. While he has often been able to play through them, injuries have riddled the QB in recent years. Big Ben will be 38-years-old next season and while he can still be a successful quarterback in the league, the two-time Super Bowl champ has shown signs of slowing down.
Roethlisberger missed the majority of the 2019 season and while the Steelers were able to stay competitive with a combination of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, it’s clear to many that those two aren’t the quarterback of the future for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers don’t have a first-round pick this year but look for Pittsburgh to target a quarterback in the early-mid rounds in order to develop someone until Big Ben retires.
2. Edge rusher
Considering the Steelers led the NFL with 54 sacks this year, why would the team need to focus on pass rushers? Well. this all depends on if Pittsburgh is able to resign free agent Bud Dupree. The Steelers 2015 first-round pick broke out in 2019 with a career-high 11.5 sacks.
However, if the team lets Dupree walk, expect the Steelers to make edge rusher priority number one. There’s a good bit of pass-rush talent in the 2020 Draft and would allow the Steelers to restock and add to one of the NFL’s best positional unit.
1. Tight end
Tight ends are becoming more and more important in modern NFL offenses and the Steelers’ starter at the position is a 2020 free agent. Vance McDonald came into 2019 with high expectations. The less-than-stellar QB situation didn’t help but McDonald totaled just 38 catches for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
Maybe McDonald can return to his 2018 for with Big Ben back at quarterback but that’s also assuming that Pittsburgh decides to resign a tight end that’ll be 30 years old in June.
Two tight ends went in the top 20 of last year’s draft. There doesn’t seem to be any tight end prospects on that level in this year’s class. Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins, Washington’s Hunter Bryant, and Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam are all promising prospects that Pittsburgh could develop or perhaps insert into the roster right away,