Thursday, 21 February 2013 09:14
Good morning from the NFL combine, which begins in earnest today.
And the Steelers, who have always re-tooled and replenished their roster better than any team in the league, have many issues to address.
Here are my top 5 areas they need to attack:
- Wide receiver. There is no question they need at least one wide receiver, and probably two, in the draft to replenish their stock and give Ben Roethlisberger some additional weapons. And there will be a need for that receiver to play immediately with the expected departure of Mike Wallace. The Steelers will look for a tall receiver in the draft, someone like Cal’s Keenan Allen or Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson, to give Roethlisberger a bigger target.
- Outside linebacker. The need is heightened because of the situation surrounding James Harrison, who will be 35 and is scheduled to make $6.57 million this season. Harrison is coming off a season in which he had just six sacks in 13 games. The Steelers would like him back for one more season, but only if he takes a considerable pay cut. He could be released if he does not. Georgia’s Jarvis Jones is the type of edge rusher who does not need a scheme to get free.
- Running back. Rashard Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent and probably won’t be re-signed after a falling out with Tomlin. Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are restricted free agents, but they are not considered feature backs. Plus, if the Steelers use more zone-blocking schemes this season, they do not fit that style of attack. Re-signing Mendenhall would solve the problem, but the odds of that happening aren’t very good.
- Safety. The team needs some youth behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, who will be 34 in October. The only solid backup is veteran Will Allen and the team needs to find a replacement for Clark, who could be in his last season with the team. Same with Polamalu, who has been b bothered by extensive injuries the past two seasons and has not played to the level of his 2010 defensive player of the year season.
- Inside linebacker. The team still does not have a replacement for James Farrior, who was released after the 2011 season. That’s why they will probably bring Larry Foote, an unrestricted free agent, back for one more season. The team tried to address the position last season when they took Sean Spence in the third round, but he suffered a severe knee injury in preseason and the team is not sure when we will be able to return.
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