3 positions the Steelers could potentially add before Week 1
The Pittsburgh Steelers have concluded the 2023 NFL preseason and are now preparing to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. While the next major order of business is cutting the roster down to 53 players and signing a 16-man practice squad, the moves the Steelers are going to be making in the upcoming week might not all involve players who are currently on the 90-man roster.
If history tells us anything, the Steelers will not leave any stone unturned and will add players if necessary either via trade, the waiver wire, or signing a free agent. Last year alone the Steelers made two trades for added depth in Malik Reed and Jesse Davis.
But where could the Steelers add more players for 2023?
Although the Steelers had three dominating performances in the preseason, it is still the job of the front office to do everything they can to put together the best 53 players to give him the greatest chance to win.
On Friday, I posed the question in the Friday Night Six Pack as to what position group the Steelers could still potentially add a player between now and their 1 PM kickoff on September 10. Of the various responses, these were the three positions that were mentioned.
Mason Cole received every snap with the starting team at the center position, totaling 28 snaps according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). Kendrick Green had the most snaps at center through the preseason with 112 but to say his play was inconsistent would be an understatement. Ryan McCollum got 43 snaps at center but did not stand out as a player destined for the 53-man roster. Nate Herbig looked to be someone who could possibly be the reserve center as he saw nine snaps in the first game but missed the final two contests due to injury. The only other person to receive snaps and center was seventh-round draft pick Spencer Anderson but he only saw five of his 109 offensive snaps at the center position.
Taking all these things into consideration, and the unknown health of Nate Herbig who might be the best option at center in case of injury, the Steelers could look outside of the organization to sure up the position. In a perfect world the reserve center would not even see the field, but not having a viable option should the situation occur would be unwise. If Kendrick Green is the reserve center, it should be based on his play being adequate and not simply because he is the only option available.
Despite the Steelers having a very encouraging cornerback room coming into training camp, sometimes things don’t always finish how they start. While Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, and Joey Porter Jr. appear to be adequate options on the outside, the Steelers still haven’t determined exactly how they’re going to use the slot position. But this is not the issue as both Chandon Sullivan and Elijah Riley have pushed for the position and Peterson is also anoption to slide inside. The issue is the Steelers only having three players who would play the outside corner position at a high level. With the injury to Cory Trice, and James Pierre struggling on defense through the preseason, if the Steelers have to go four deep it could be a concern. For this reason, if the right player were to be available to upgrade the fourth outside cornerback spot, the Steelers should consider pulling the trigger.
Another position where the Steelers seemed to have many more options than positions available, the bottom of the depth chart at wide receiver isn’t screaming greatness. The top three players are locked in with Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Allen Robinson. Calvin Austin has secured the punt return position and can be a dynamic player in the offense so I would consider him a lock as well. The Steelers have been high on Gunner Olszewski and he has come through so far this preseason. But is Gunner O. really the next best option the Steelers could have? And while many believe Myles Boykin has an automatic spot based on special teams, has he offered anything as a receiver through three preseason games? Add in the Steelers waiving Cody White and Hakeen Butler due to injury, it’s not as if they are having too many players to try to keep. If the Steelers believe they could bolster the room with someone outside the organization in place of Olszewski, Boykin, or both of these players, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. The bigger question is if such a player exists.
So there are three positions the Steelers could possibly look at to upgrade the bottom of the depth chart ahead of the 2023 regular season. Whether or not there is enough of a need to pull the trigger, or if the right player is available, remains to be seen.
So what do you think? Will the Steelers add a player at any of these three positions? Is there another position the Steelers might add an outside player in the next week? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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