This upcoming offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers just might be more difficult than last year. On the heels of a disappointing 8-8 season, the Steelers will have to make some drastic moves. They are approximately $14 million over the salary cap at this point, and are in desperate need at numerous positions because of lack of depth and old age.
The positions of cornerback, safety, linebacker, running back, wide receiver, quarterback, and nose tackle are all major concerns. However, what concerns me the most is Pittsburgh’s offensive line.
It’s been reported that the Steelers could possibly implement a zone blocking scheme for the 2013 season, and the possibility of offensive linemen Willie Colon, Ramon Foster, and Max Starks not returning next year leaves Pittsburgh’s O-line potentially vulnerable.
This leads me to believe that the Steelers could very well lean towards drafting an offensive lineman with their 17th overall pick in this year’s draft. If this does happen, this will mark the third time in the last four years that Pittsburgh has selected an offensive lineman with their first round pick.
In 2010, the Steelers drafted center Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th overall pick, and last year, guard David DeCastro was drafted 24th overall.
As of right now, Pittsburgh’s starting offensive front looks to have Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, Pouncey at center, DeCastro at right guard, and Mike Adams at right tackle. The only uncertainty is whether Kelvin Beachum or Doug Legersky will fill in at left guard.
The O-linemen that were just mentioned may be good enough to execute the zone-blocking scheme that the Steelers could use, but it leaves an almost empty cupboard of Pittsburgh reserve linemen.
As much as the Steelers need to add some youth to their defensive pass rush, I feel that protecting their franchise quarterback and revitalizing their nonexistent running game of last season should be top priority. The likelihood of meeting those needs via free agency seems bleak. Pittsburgh will be better off going the draft route.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google