These days, it always seems like Troy Polamalu is dealing with some sort of injury that takes away from his ability to be the dominant force he can be.
Without Troy healthy, the only other real impact player on defense is James Harrison, and he has had his own health issues the past couple seasons.
With the Steelers struggling to force turnovers the past few seasons, here are six players currently on the roster who can develop into that type of player for the Steelers.
Adrian Robinson was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent last offseason and showed an ability to put pressure on the quarterback in the preseason.
Robinson made the 53-man roster but never saw the field as a rookie, even with all the injuries the Steelers suffered at linebacker early in the season.
Even though the Steelers are probably going to take a pass-rusher early in the 2013 NFL Draft, I still believe Robinson could become a pass-rushing specialist—if anything else for the team.
Robert Golden, like Adrian Robinson, was signed as an undrafted free agent last offseason by the Steelers and wasn’t used much during his rookie year.
Safety is another position the Steelers could potentially draft early this year, and the Steelers have need with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu being another year older.
Golden doesn’t have to start right away, but I do believe he has the potential to become a playmaker in the secondary in the future.
With the emergence of Keenan Lewis as the starter this season and Cortez Allen’s continued development, most fans forget that Curtis Brown is more than just a gunner on special teams.
Brown was taken by the Steelers a round before Allen in the 2011 draft and looked to be a perfect fit as a slot corner.
His development has been much slower than Allen’s obviously, but Brown still has the talent and potential to become a good No. 2 or No. 3 corner for the Steelers.
Veteran Casey Hampton did not have a terrible season in 2012; however, I still have no idea why the team decided not to play Steve McLendon more.
With Hampton a free agent and not a lock to come back to the team, McLendon would get the chance to become the starting nose tackle.
It always seemed like McLendon was making plays when he was in the game last season, and I can’t wait to see how he does when he actually plays entire games in 2013.
Although I fully expect Sean Spence to fully recover from his major knee injury, none of us know for sure how it will affect him going forward.
I have Spence here because I do expect him to be fine this season, and if Larry Foote is not brought back, he would be the starter next to Lawrence Timmons.
If Spence can show he is at least better than Foote in coverage, it would free up Timmons to blitz more, helping the Steelers put more pressure on the quarterback.
I left the most obvious choice for last, as we all saw the playmaking potential that Cortez Allen has in the last few weeks of the 2012 regular season.
If the Steelers can re-sign Keenan Lewis, they would have one of the best groups of corners in the league with Ike Taylor, Lewis and Allen.
The best part is that Allen is only going to get better in his third season and will hopefully carry over his play from the last few weeks of 2012 into the 2013 regular season.