Steelers Biggest Gaps Remain on Defense

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers have helped their situation for the 2020 season with nearly every  move they've made so far. Free agency has been overly strong for Pittsburgh this spring as they've accumulated enough cap space to go out and fill gaps with very promising names. 

Adding Eric Ebron to better the tight end position and replacing Rosie Nix with Derek Watt only upgraded the offense and special teams. Stefen Wisniewski is a reliable veteran who, even if not a starter, will be a contributor to an offensive line that needed depth. 

Their own team signings have kept young talent like Zach Banner and Mike Hilton on the roster for another season, and now, they're down to minimum dyer needs before the summer. 

The release of Anthony Chickillo and Mark Barron, and signing of Tyler Matakevich in Buffalo, have left the linebacker position dry. Outside of Ola Adeniyi, Pittsburgh doesn't have any depth that played in a game in 2019. 

There's promise in young players like Tuzar Skipper and Ulysses Gilbert, but neither can be guaranteed contributors in 2020.  Even with promise from both, having no certainty behind the starters leaves an alarming weak spot in the front seven. 

The same goes for defensive tackle. Trading for Chris Wormley and signing Cavon Walker does add talent to the defensive line. Both can find themselves working in at the nose, but neither are a true tackle on defense. 

Wormley started seven games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 but all were at end. His conversion inside works when needed, but saying he's more than a Tyson Alualu isn't realistic. 

Any XFL player is only a tryout until proven otherwise. Yes, the Steelers found a diamond in the rough in Kameron Kelly last season but outside of the safety, no luck was available for AAF players. 

Walker has promise, leading the XFL with 4.5 sacks this season. Still, even if he does make the team, he's another defensive end who can play on the inside. 

Pittsburgh needs a true-blooded defensive tackle to replace Javon Hargrave. Even if it's not as big of a name as Hargrave is, having someone who can lineup inside on every down is the only way to replace the position. 

All this can be found in the NFL Draft, if the Steelers decide to go that route. Even without a first-round pick, there's plenty of role players with high up-side later in the second and third rounds. 

Names like Neville Gallimore, Terrell Lewis, Malik Harison and more will all be available as the draft reaches the Steelers in the second-round. 

Moving forward, the game plan will remain NFL Draft for the Steelers. Outside of minor signings, general manager Kevin Colbert has turned his attention to April and finding the next generation of talent in Pittsburgh. 

And the first place he's likely looking is defense. 

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Comments (3)
No. 1-3

AFC North football is brutal, hard nosed, physical, in your face football. There are no secrets in this division and every team knows exactly what plays you are going to run and there are just no secrets in this division. The Steelers always have cap issues because it is how the organization does things. I would have liked if they could have kept Hargrave, but they had problems stopping the run when they needed to. Tuitt was playing well before he got hurt and they have just never had a true, stud in the middle. Hargrave was good as rushing the passer, but he just did not have the weight to handle the middle of the 3/4 defense.

I'm not sure who would be the best 3/4 NG in the draft, but if other teams are running it and they need a plug in the middle, they are going to go after that player before the Steelers have an opportunity to pick, especially if they know the Steelers are targeting that player. That's what I would do!

With Ben returning, that is a big step up from the back ups they had on the roster. They must ensure Ben has the pieces to ensure he is successful, even when he makes mistakes. Too often I've heard him say "it was on me" when the team loss winnable games. I'm sorry it was not always on him.

It was a combination of things and most of the times the team could not get off the field when it needed to ensure the victory.

I've never been a finesse guy because, while these players are fast, they are just not too durable for what the AFC North commands. Even if, they win the division, they end up

getting knocked out of the early rounds because their really good players are just physically banged up.

A 16 or 17 game season in the AFC North is about as physical as it gets. The teams in this division are preparing themselves for the battles that lie ahead for the type of players they will need.

Championships are never won in the off season. Never has, never will. Yes, the team may not get to the title each and every year, but they do make it interesting. They lost some key players this year and possibly they may have added some as well. When a key player is drafted and proves that he can come in and contribute from day one, you attempt to keep that player. It took Dupree a while to get there and I'm sorry, but I just have some issue with the tag, although I understood why they did it. Watt will have to be tagged too and it didn't take him four years to prove his worth. He manned up from day one, so did Hargrave. Yes the team plays sub packages most of the time so he was not on the field as much as Dupree was. But when he was, he was a part of the package that allowed Dupree to excel.

Finding an every down NG for the NFL game is very hard to do. Possibly it will take a combination of players to do it. Hampton was a unique player for how the NFL game was played at that time. Someone who could command a double team, each and every time he was on the field was a very rare commodity at that time.

Sub packages today, demand a different type of NG. Maybe, he's out there and team can land him.

BPA (irregardless of position) has always been the Steelers mantra and I don't see that changing. Sometimes I've questioned that philosophy when you look back at the players selected who are no longer with the team, but there are many players from all the teams that selected players higher than what the Steelers did and they too are no longer with their respective teams either, so it is not an exact science by any stretch of the imagination.

That's what happens when you consistently win at a high level. You are going to pick in the later rounds of the draft. Some say, you are picking players from the second round, which are not the high tier players. Sometimes, you have to give up something to get something. None of us are questioning the trade for Miami for the player the team received. Yes, they are picking 49th in the draft, but what they got in return, proves he was worth it.


Hey dumbass before you start talking maybe you should educate yourself! Jalen Rose is an ex NBA player and works for ESPN as a basketball analyst. Jalen Hurts is the college Quarterback Who played for Alabama and then transferred to Oklahoma!!! People need to quit voicing their opinion if they don’t know what the hell they are talking about!!! The reality’s too many people who don’t know shit about what their talking about always have an opinion. Maybe until you educate yourself people shut the fuck up, because all you do is make yourself look like an idiot!!!🤫 PS4L 🏈🇺🇸


The NFL Draft is tough for the Steelers to begin with. However, the AFC North is stacking up linemen on both sides of the ball. It the Steelers keep putting bandaids on with the idea that they will draft another mid teir QB like Jalen Rose, they are nuts. They need to pay attention ... a future starting right tackle, a starting left guard, a rotational nose tackle and rotational defensive ends are needed to compete.

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