It has been a long time since the Steelers were entering the off-season without a franchise quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers organization since 2004. Those years included 2 Super Bowl championships and a lot of memorable game performances, but now that era has come and officially ended with Roethlisberger’s retirement announcement.
The Steelers are in a great spot to re-invent themselves with a total overhaul. A new franchise quarterback and skilled position leaders, which begs the question.
What’s next for the Steelers?
The news broke earlier Friday evening that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be facing any criminal charges. After a year long battle against accusations of sexual misconduct, Watson wasn’t indicted. This news opens the door up for a potential trade.
Watson, before the accusations, was seeking a trade from the Texans. The Texans attempted to trade Watson during the case, but due to his no trade clause in his contract, they had no power to trade him. Now, that the case his behind him, a possible landing spot could be in Pittsburgh.
Deshaun Watson. QB, Houston Texan
The last time we saw Watson on the field was in 2020 when he looked like a future NFL MVP. The guy was willing the Texans to victories by himself. Watson is talented and looking for a spot to redeem his name, and the Pittsburgh Steelers is a great landing spot. Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected head coaches in all of the NFL. Second to only Bill Belichick in winning percentage.
The Steelers will be doing a complete overhaul of the offense. Watson would immediately give the Steelers better odds going into next season than any Rookie quarterback or second rate free agent. In a division that has Super Bowl runner up Joe Burrow, NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield, the Steelers will need to look at this move as a long-term solution.
D.J. Chark WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
One of the characteristics of the great Steeler wide outs is their work ethic and grittiness. Former Jaguars’ receiver, D.J. Chark fits the bill. Chark has good size and deceptive speed to go along with his work ethic. Although JuJu Smith-Schuster is a good receiver, his work ethic can be put into question. After Antonio Brown was let go, the team expect Juju to pick up where Brown left off. Unfortunately, that was very high expectations that weren’t met.
Chark would not be the number 1 target, but he would provide the Steelers with a solid number 3 receiver with number 2 like qualities. Any situation presented for Chark would be far better than any situation he had in Jacksonville.
NFL Draft Diamonds
I believe in order to win a championship in any team sport, you need a good mixture of veteran talent and young talent hungry to prove themselves. The NFL Draft is key to resetting the identity of the Steelers moving forward. Fortunately, the Steelers will have ample opportunity to get a lot of good players in this draft, but they will have to dig for them. The talent in this draft isn’t on the surface, but there are a lot in the later rounds I believe could make a serious impact in year one for the Steelers. So, here are some diamonds after Day 1.
Coby Bryant CB, Cincinatti
The second boundary cornerback for the Cincinnati Bearcats dynamic secondary may not get the most hype but he can play. At 6’1, Bryant brings great size to the Steelers secondary and deceptive speed. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 for the best corner in all of college football. Bryant had 2 force fumbles, 3 interceptions, and he returned on for a 74 yard touchdown. An NFL legacy, Bryant has the right mindset and technique needed to be successful at the next level. In the NFL, man coverage is typically the go to for great corners and Bryant has no problems doing such things.
The Steelers have a need for a serious lockdown corner. Bryant might fall to day 2 as an early second round pick because he is being over shadowed by his team mate Ahmad ” Sauce” Gardner, who is considered one of the top 2 corners in this draft. This would be a steal for the Steelers who needs to continue to put great youth on this team.
Christian Harris. LB, Alabama
Harris was a force for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He provided great leadership and run stopping ability. The reason why Harris is a good pick for the Steelers is because the team is rebuilding. Again, the Steelers have always been known for their great defense and dominating linebacker play over the years. Having a guy like Harris would create a center piece the has been missing.
At the NFL Combine, Harris posted a blistering 4.44 40-yard dash that wowed a few on lookers. If the Steelers are looking to get younger and faster on defense then Harris is the guy they should be able to grab in the second round.