With all the talk surrounding the Steelers this offseason you would think they’re going to be the bottom team in the AFC North in 2013.
Even though the team lost some good players, there is no doubt in my mind that they will be right there to compete for a Super Bowl.
Here are some of the best and worst moves the Steelers have made this offseason in putting together the 2013 roster.
The offensive tackle position all the way around has been curiously handled by the Steelers this offseason.
After a year when injuries ravaged the offensive line, they decided to not retain one of the two players, Max Starks, who actually survived the entire season.
Though Whimper is a veteran backup, he is no where near as reliable as Starks and really should only be considered a RT at this point.
I wouldn't even consider Whimper as a lock to make the roster and the situation reminds me of when the Steelers decided to start Jonathan Scott to start the 2011 season.
All of this can be found to be a moot point if Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams can stay healthy so let's hope Whimper or a rookie like Mike Farrell never have to see the field.
Although I was happy to see William Gay go in free agency last year, the signing makes sense because of the loss of Keenan Lewis.
Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen will man the outside for the Steelers leaving Gay to play in the slot where he is better suited.
Gay had a solid season in 2011 for the Steelers and long as he doesn’t have to line up outside, I think the team should have one of the better secondaries in the league.
I know I have the signing of William Gay as a good signing, but that's only because of the reality that Keenan Lewis is no longer with the team.
If the argument was that Lewis wanted too much money, then that would be one thing, but the Steelers never even made an attempt to make an offer.
It could be seen that the Steelers just showed confidence in Cortez Allen and showed that they intend to sign him to a long term contract.
I see it more like the team choosing Ike Taylor over Keenan Lewis. Although Ike had a solid season in 2012, he is coming off an injury and isn't getting any younger.
I'm not trying to bash Ike because I really think he is one of the more underrated players in the NFL. The team could have had both Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis in my opinion though with guys like Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian and Demarcus Van Dyke developing on the roster.
Terry Hawthorne looks like a good find from the draft but the real effect of Keenan Lewis leaving will be felt whenever Ike either retires or the team releases him in the next couple seasons. Then we will see if anyone is ready to step up and start opposite Allen on the outside.
I just don’t understand why you would go through the trouble of developing a player just to let him walk away without a fight.
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, though he does have a propensity to miss a couple games every season.
In fact, Ben has only played a full 16 game season once in his career with that being in 2008.
In 2012 the Steelers were forced to rely on Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich and their performances made it abundantly clear that the backup QB position on the team needed to be improved.
In the three games that Ben missed, Batch and Leftwich combined to throw only one touchdown and five picks with a 1-2 record. Their ineptitude probably led to Ben rushing to come back which led to the team then dropping his first three games back.
Signing Bruce Gradkowski would have been enough to place as one of the best offseason moves—but the drafting of Landry Jones solidified the position as being upgraded.
Statistics from ESPN.com
Don’t get me wrong; I really like Emmanuel Sanders and I am glad that he did not become a New England Patriot this offseason.
That being said, I don’t have much faith that the team is going to be able to sign Sanders to a long-term deal and thus, he will just leave next offseason.
Honestly, I would like the Steelers to prove me wrong and get Sanders signed, but until then the fact that the team could have had a third-round pick for him is why I have it as a bad move.
If you look at the pick, which would have been the 91st overall selection, the Steelers could have saved their third rounder in 2014 and taken Shamarko Thomas there instead. Also available were WR Stedman Bailey, taken one pick later in the third, and NT Brandon Williams taken by the Ravens at the 94th pick.
Pick positions from ESPN.com
I am rooting for Jason Worilds to finally stay healthy and have a breakout year in his first season as the starter for the Steelers. Worilds did impress in 2012 and did finish second on the team in sacks with five in his limited time as the starter.
The only problem with that is that if he does go off this season he’ll be looking for big money as a free agent, which makes it unlikely the team re-signs him.
By drafting Jarvis Jones in the first round, the Steelers have the eventual replacement for Worilds when he leaves in free agency next offseason. Right now the only other real competition at outside linebacker is Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson.
Stats from ESPN.com