The Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers won’t line up across from one another until December, but we’re reviewing their offseason with Behind The Steel Curtain to see how the Steelers have changed since they last played.
Notable free agent additions: TE Ladarius Green
Notable free agent departures: CB Antwon Blake, CB Brandon Boykin
Trades: None to date
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: Most would assume 1st round pick Artie Burns, CB, will be the man to step up, but the hope is he won’t be needed in 2016. The picks who are expected to truly make some plays are 2nd round safety Sean Davis out of Maryland, and nose tackle Javon Hargraven from South Carolina State. Both play positions which are extremely thin and could lend themselves to seeing a rookie with notable playing time.
Biggest offseason addition: No doubt the biggest addition was bringing in Ladarius Green. With Heath Miller calling it a career, Green will help mask some of the issues which are absent with Miller not in the fold anymore. Green has the size and speed to create mismatches down the middle of the field, something Miller lacked in his later years. Other than Green, the Steelers’ ability to keep their own (LG Ramon Foster, CB William Gay, and S Robert Golden) were huge additions this offseason.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: The team’s secondary will certainly be the most talked about topic heading into training camp, but the team’s defense overall should be the biggest storyline. They were able to create turnovers in 2015, but their overall lack of pass defense (30th in the NFL) left the team hanging out to dry on more than one occasion.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: For the past two seasons, offensive coordinator Todd Haley has given the offense a goal of averaging 30 points per game. They failed to do so last year, without having Ben Roethlisberger under center for almost 6 full games. If everyone stays healthy, this could be one of the best offenses in team history, as well as in the NFL in the past decade.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Le’Veon Bell’s knee injury which ended his 2015 season early will be worth keeping an eye on, as well as an ankle injury which currently has Ladarius Green sidelined until training camp. Other than that, the Steelers have a relatively clean bill of health outside of the usual football maladies.
The Bills host the Steelers on December 11th.