It’s Time for the Steelers to Add Playmakers

Mike Tomlin must find a way to finish strong if the Steelers want to keep their wildcard spotThis is something I really wanted to wait and write a week or so heading into the draft, but I just need to get it off my chest. Obviously much of what I say here can be severely altered in the next few weeks due to off-season moves and rookie pro days, but that really isn’t going to change my thinking too much.

The Pittsburgh Steelers need playmakers and they can’t wait for the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft to get them.

You have to go back to the 2008 draft to find a time when the Steelers selected a skill-position player in the first round. In 2012, the Steelers did not select a skill player until the 5th round and he’s no longer on the roster. In 2011, they did not select a skill position guy until the 7th round.

The Steelers for years have sunk money into their defense and now with a franchise quarterback in his prime, it’s time to show the offense some love. Look at this breakdown of how much money is contractually spent on defensive players versus offensive for the Steelers. It’s a little mind-numbing, but not surprising.

League-wide, the Steelers rank 4th in terms of amount spent on defense and they rank 29th in the amount spent on offense. If you think in terms of money, the defense takes up $64.9 million while the offense takes up $45.2 million.

I’m not suggesting those should be more on a level of 50/50, but it’s clear that this organization needs to stop wasting the talent of a pro bowl quarterback by surrounding him with second-tier talent.

Since 2008, the Steelers have drafted a defensive tackle, center, defensive end and guard with their first picks. Of that group, only Maurkice Pouncey has ‘panned out’ to this point and while there is still time for Cam Heyward ¬†and Ziggy Hood, that time is expiring quickly. Certainly David DeCastro will need another year or two before any judgment can be passed.

The bottom line is that the Steelers need to show Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger that they are willing to spend high picks on offense. Yes, the defense still needs to replace aging vets but the way this draft is shaking out, I like the depth of potential playmakers in the early rounds more than ever before.

The Steelers need to look into this direction sooner rather than later.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.

 

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2 comments on “It’s Time for the Steelers to Add Playmakers

  1. Exactly, although I’d have no issue with taking Jonathan Cooper to complete the Oline. There will be Two playmakers sitting on the board at 17 Tavon Austin & Tyler Eifert. Both provide weapons for Todd Hayle & Ben. Austin covers the loss of Wallaces speed, kick/punt returner,an additional zone Rb. Tavon Austin is a matchup nightmare. He’d excel at the bubble screen the Steelers love,reversesand he allows them to go 5 wide and still have a quality zone RB on the field.
    TE Tyler Eifert may be the best receiver in the draft.A tall redzone threat who can play inside or outwide.

  2. Marc and Rob, you guys are spot on.

    If the Steelers don’t get some playmakers at the top of the draft, the Pittsburgh offense will look just like it did in the last game of the season with the Browns. No Mike Wallace. No Heath Miller. David Paulson started at tight end and he had zero catches. The only pass Ben did throw to him was almost intercepted because defenders were all over him. And he is a mediocre blocker. Pope did catch one for a TD on a first and goal from the one. It was a two tight end set and nobody covered him.

    Let me emphasize, Heath Miller was the Steelers most effective receiver under Haley’s system. Heath Miller may not be back until mid-season. Eifert (and also Zach Ertz) could step right in for Heath, and when Heath comes back, more two tight end sets. The Steelers get much better in the red zone.

    Tavon Austin is my favorite receiver in the draft. Even though he’s a little guy, he fits Haley’s system the best and would likely contribute immediately. Even though he’s a little guy, he doesn’t appear gun shy to go over the middle.

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