Missing Pieces the Pittsburgh Steelers Could Still Get
It's hard to imagine the Steelers making any more headline-worthy roster moves until cuts begin during camp, but there is always the potential to add a piece or two. There are even several players available through either the trade market or free agency that might pique the interest of the Steelers.
Here's a look at some potential moves that could still happen if the Steelers decide they aren't ready for 2012.
Ovie Mughelli, FB
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Todd Haley will be implementing an offensive system with a traditional fullback. The Steelers have two players vying for that spot right now: David Johnson, who's manned the position as a part-time fullback/part-time tight end for the last few seasons, and Will Johnson, an inexperienced true fullback from West Virginia.
If the Steelers decide they'd like to have a true, experienced fullback in their arsenal, they'd be wise to go for Mughelli, who's been a stalwart fullback for many years and plays the position with a Dan Kreider-type aggressiveness and toughness.
Mughelli's price shouldn't be too astronomical, so he certainly seems like an affordable piece for the Steelers to add.
O.J. Atogwe, S
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No, I don't think the Steelers really need another safety, although you can never be too sure.
I actually like Atogwe as a part-time corner. I could see him being a potential answer in nickel and dime packages or, if he really takes to the position, as a starter opposite Ike Taylor.
I know I'm asking for a big leap here, but the Steelers would be the team to pull this off. Atogwe needs to revive his career after an injury-filled 2011 season. In Pittsburgh, he could learn the new position from Carnell Lake, secondary coach and, as a player, a veteran of the same kind of position switch.
When healthy and on his game, Atogwe can be a playmaker. That something the Steelers lack in their cornerback department. It could be a low-risk signing that ends up paying dividends.
Mike Jenkins, CB
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Potential trade candidate from Dallas
Dallas may or may not want to deal Jenkins, but it did use its top draft choice on LSU's Morris Claiborne. That should signal that teams can at least ask on Jenkins.
The Steelers are not a big trade market team. They prefer to work through the draft and limited, low-risk free-agent signings to build their teams. That doesn't mean that trades never happen. It was a trade that brought Jerome Bettis to Pittsburgh in 1996.
Jenkins fits a need for the Steelers, who currently are deciding between Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown for the starting job opposite Ike Taylor. Jenkins would immediately be at the top of the list for the job even if he still had to win it from the others.
While I'm not sure this could ever happen, this is a move that could improve the Steelers and infuse some more new life into the secondary.
Graham Gano, PK
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Under contract with Washington Redskins
Let's have a look at a player who might end up being a free agent after things start to really happen in July and August.
Gano is the incumbent kicker for Washington, but he's in a battle with Neil Rackers for the kicking job. He has a strong leg, but he hasn't always been consistent. Rackers isn't as strong, but he's steady as they come on field goals.
The Steelers could use Gano if he gets cut loose. Consistency isn't always their biggest worry (they already took on Shaun Suisham a couple years ago with some terrible accuracy numbers), but strength is important because of the conditions at Heinz Field.
Gano is stronger than Suisham, and if they are about even on accuracy in the preseason, he would be an upgrade simply because he can boot them further with the same kind of results we're already getting. A change of scenery might even make him better.
Case Keenum, QB
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Rookie with the Houston Texans
I've been vocal about my desire for the Steelers to sign and develop a young quarterback to be the regular backup for Ben Roethlisberger, who almost always misses some time during the season. To this point, the Steelers haven't done anything like that.
Keenum was a player I was hoping to see Pittsburgh snag during the draft, but it had other aims, and quarterback was not a pressing or even secondary need.
If Keenum doesn't make the Texans roster, the Steelers could bring him on board as a practice squad player or even as the third quarterback if they only keep one of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch (not likely).
Nick Novak, PK
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On the roster of the San Diego Chargers
Here's another kicking option for the Steelers. Novak has good accuracy numbers (although he had an awful time down the stretch last season) overall and a strong leg. He'd be an upgrade over Shaun Suisham I believe.
Novak doesn't figure to be in the plans for the Chargers, who will be getting Nate Kaeding back from his ACL injury before the season opens. Once he's cut, he should get some calls.
As I said before, I think it is important for the Steelers to attempt to upgrade their kicking position, particularly given the team's lack of scoring punch in 2011, when they finished 21st in the league.