Building an NFL Trade Deadline Wish List for the Pittsburgh Steelers
As the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL's other 32 teams head toward the NFL's deadline for trading, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin surely have several items on their trade wish list. Whether or not they will break character and pursue a deal remains to be seen.
Here's a look at what the Pittsburgh Steelers should be targeting. Keep in mind that these are only wishes and not an indication of anything that the team might actually be able to do.
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Offensive Tackle Depth
The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone through a terrible two-year period where they cannot keep a healthy offensive line on the field for even half of the season. Last year it was a rotating problem at guard and even at the tackle spots. This year, it's been all over the place.
The tackle spot is the most concerning. The Steelers have been forced to use rookies Mike Adams and Kelvin Beachum in the tackle spots at times because of injuries. Neither has proven to be anything more than a poorly prepared body.
The Steelers would be wise to pursue some kind of veteran depth on the outside because they may not be able to finish the season with Max Starks and Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert has already been hurt twice and Starks is coming off a major injury late last year.
One of the biggest failings of the Pittsburgh defense to this point in the season has been their utter lack of ability to cover opposing receivers. Their corners have, for the most part, been terrible in every respect. Ike Taylor, previously a Pro Bowl-caliber player, has led the way.
The Steelers need a more effective defense or they will finish this season with a losing record. As good and effective as their offense has been, they cannot whip teams without some stops on the other side of the ball. So far, Pittsburgh can't stop anyone.
The Steelers biggest need going into next season is going to be to revitalize this defense with some younger, more talented players. One of the best places to start that is in the secondary, where Taylor, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are all getting older.
The corner position is the most needy by far.
A Backup Center
Maurkice Pouncey has once again demonstrated an inability to stay healthy for a full year. This is the third year he's had some kind of lower body injury that's kept him out at a key time.
Pittsburgh's offensive line is having enough trouble keeping Ben Roethlisberger healthy and opening even a few holes for the running game. The last thing they could have afforded was another injury on the line. Now, with Pouncey out, the Steelers are missing the original right half and center of their line.
Doug Legursky is a capable backup for the most part, but the Steelers are not likely to be very confident in his ability to start there over a long period. A new backup center would be a great addition, and one that wouldn't necessarily cost the Steelers too dearly.
The situation, particularly at strong safety, has been ugly to say the least. Troy Polamalu seems to be nearing the end of the line. The injuries have piled up for him and I'm not sure how much longer the Steelers can rely on him to be a part of the defense.
Ryan Mundy and Will Allen have proven to be problematic when asked to play expanded roles. Mundy in particular seems to have little value to the Steelers at this point. Robert Golden, a rookie, hasn't had much opportunity, but also cannot likely be counted upon.
The Steelers will have to make some difficult choices as time goes on, but one of the first really must be what to do at strong safety. They could remedy it, at least in the short term, with a trade for some depth now.
Trading Some Spare Parts
The Pittsburgh Steelers have some positions that are pretty much loaded with people. They have a ton of running backs, although they may now need that depth because of more injuries. They have a lot of linebackers as well.
Perhaps the most likely scenario, and perhaps the biggest wish for a team that builds through the draft and spurns expensive free agents and trades, would be for them to unload some of these spare pieces of talent and pile up some extra draft picks.
The Steelers would be wise to stockpile their draft picks. They will likely have some salary constraints once again next season. The best way to combat that is to use less expensive rookies. They also have less mileage and more upside. That's good for a team that right now looks a bit desperate.
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