Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

The Steelers depth is still a concern at specific positions

The Pittsburgh Steelers were 27-17 winners over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, and if one thing was on display it was the depth across the team’s roster. New General Manager (GM) Omar Khan and company have tirelessly worked at improving the team’s depth at almost every position this offseason, but the job remains incomplete.

Throughout the team’s first preseason game, the depth, or lack thereof, was evident, but which positions still lack depth, and which ones are ready for regular season play? It’s time to diagnose this situation based on offense and defense. Also, I dove head-first into this topic on my Monday “Let’s Ride” podcast, which can be heard in the player below this article.

Let’s start with the offense…

Offense

Quarterback – Much to the dismay of many, I am a firm believer in the quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart. They all have starting experience, and if injuries happen it doesn’t mean they’ll have inexperienced players as the only option.

Running Back – Assuming Anthony McFarland makes the team as the RB3, I really like the depth at the position. McFarland is a change-of-pace player, and a good compliment to the likes of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

WR/TE – The pass catchers might be the deepest position on the entire roster. When you consider the wide receivers who could be cut, and the top four tight ends, this group is filled with quality depth.

Tackle – While Broderick Jones is a rookie and is untested, Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor are brimming with experience. If Jones wins the job, either Moore or Okorafor, likely Moore, would be a very valuable asset to the team’s offense. Having that type of experience is something which is a huge boost to any team.

GuardNate Herbig left Sunday’s practice with a shoulder injury which needs to be evaluated. Assuming Herbig won’t miss any significant time, I love the depth the Steelers have at guard with Kevin Dotson and Herbig. However, if Herbig is lost for any amount of time, and the team chooses to go with Kendrick Green, that’s a problem. See below…

Center – I like Mason Cole, but if he goes down at any time the Steelers could be stuck between a rock and a hard place. If Kendrick Green is the answer at backup center, it is the wrong answer. Center is one of the positions the Steelers need to find an answer to before the games start to count.


Defense

Defensive End/Tackle – Larry Ogunjobi is walking around Saint Vincent wearing a walking boot, but let’s assume he won’t be out long term. If that assumption is correct, the Steelers depth along the defensive line is good. If Larry O is out, that changes things dramatically.

Nose Tackle – Just like DE/DT, I like the depth the Steelers have a nose tackle. They have three potential players in Montravius Adams, Breiden Fehoko and Keeanu Benton. There were years when the team couldn’t find one, let alone three.

Outside Linebacker – When the Steelers drafted Nick Herbig in the 4th Round of the 2023 NFL Draft, they may have found a diamond in the rough. Herbig is a great fit for the Steelers pass rushing schemes, and is learning a lot from the veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. Will he play a large role? I hope not, but can he round out the depth? Absolutely.

Inside Linebacker – There was a time when this would be my largest concern for the Steelers, in terms of depth, but not anymore. Kwon Alexander seems to have hit the ground running, and Mark Robinson looked good in his preseason debut. I’m much more comfortable with the depth at the position after the signing of Alexander.

Safety – While the return of Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal certainly aids the depth at safety, I’m not thrilled with what we’ve seen out of the safeties who have been in the lineup. There is no replacing an All-Pro like Minkah Fitzpatrick, but players like Tre Norwood and others just aren’t up to par. This is a position I’d hope the Steelers would consider adding to as the season approaches.

Cornerback – We saw what the cornerback room looks like without Joey Porter Jr. and Patrick Peterson. Not great. Levi Wallace, Porter Jr. and Peterson isn’t a bad trio. Lose one of those and suddenly there’s a shortage at the position. Losing Cory Trice Jr. hurt, and the Steelers should look to add at the position at some point this offseason.


What do you think about the team’s depth at each position? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the preseason.

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