The Steelers clearly lost one of their most important players this week
in Aaron Smith. He is indisputably one the best 3-4 defensive ends in
This is a particularly tough position since that individual has to both
hold firm against the run while also generating pressure on the
quarterback. Smith is a master at it.
Even in the most optimistic scenarios, it is a big blow to the defense,
but one that will be offset by the return of Troy Polamalu.
These early injuries got me wondering which players were the most irreplaceable on the Steelers, meaning which potential injuries would cause the most damage to the team's chances of repeating as both division champion and Super Bowl champion.
There are a few factors involved in trying to put this list together. The overall talent and impact of the player is a huge factor. But another factor is who could potentially replace that player on the roster.
In other words, do the Steelers have reasonable depth in place that
would help mitigate the loss of that key player?
There are some very good players who don't make this list for that
reason (including Casey Hampton and Lamarr Woodley).
So, here it goes. This is my top 10 list of potential most devastating season-ending injuries.