A Look Ahead to 2014
There have only been a few players that have played consistently well or are emerging young talent on this team:
Foster - Consistent
Brown - Emerging star
Beachum - Consistent
Decastro - Emerging
Bell - Emerging
Heyward - Emerging star
Worilds - Emerging
Gay - Consistent
That's 8 out of 22 starters playing quality football this year.
We've got some additional guys that need to get back to a level they're capable:
Ben - Erratic this season - some good/some bad
Heath - Recovering from Injury
Pouncey - Back from injury
Timmons - I think he'll always be more potential than production, but he can be a difference maker
Cortez - Sometimes looks great, sometimes looks awful
Ike - Up and down, getting older, but also being left out to dry by his teammates
Troy - Still very talented, but boy can he look bad at times, getting older
Woodley - Sometimes looks like a dominant pass rusher, other times he looks disinterested
If these guys play to their ability, we've got a good core of 16 out of 22 starters.
Then there's the young unknowns with some potential:
Adams - Could be a beast at RT
Gilby - Sometimes looks good at RT and other times looks awful
McClendon - As bad as he was to start the season, he's gotten a little better. Good athlete that could get better with a year experience
We need 6 of these guys to step up in a big way this offseason to field a competitive team. When I look at these guys overall, the areas our team seems weakest right now are #2 WR, NT, ILB, ROLB, and RDE. Of course there's a lot of positions where we're getting older and long in the tooth that we'll need to upgrade - CB, S, TE.
Not sure we can fill all of the needs thru the draft. We're gonna need to find some FAs. But it seems the areas we most need to improve to get back to winning football are a big target for Ben in the passing game (could be a receiving TE) and an overhaul of our D front 7.
I think the D front 7 is going to be hard to fix in one offseason due to the complexity of our D. But without the overhaul, I'm concerned we can't get a consistent pass rush and without it we'll struggle.
It feels like we're close to being good, but at the same time a long way from fixing this team. But if we somehow find a young James Harrison type talent, that one guy could be enough to get us over the hump. But with the way defenders develop, it could be 2016 until we see it pay off. And by then the core will be aging and we'll have new holes to fill.
Seems like it could be a toughie.
Hall of Famer
We'll need about 18 OL's to get us through all the annual injuries for next year. I like your optimistic spirit.
So we should draft nothing but OL next year just in case - lol
Originally Posted by DukieBoy
Hall of Famer
We need find about 6 more Velasco's. Or keep the guyswe draft who go on to start for other teams.
That's a novel theory...keep the the talent we draft...hmmm. But, I thought we should trade Pouncey for a swift kick in the pants and a bag of doritos?
Originally Posted by DukieBoy
Here's how I look at it. This team is obviously in transition but it's not completely lacking in talent. For Starters we have
QB: Ben - the guy gets better by the year and if we can let him play his game then he will be fine. He needs an extension in the offseason. Gradkowski will be back as the primary backup and hopefully we don't see him just like this year. Don't know enough about Jones to know if he deserves another roster spot next season.
RB: Bell - the guy is the best we've had since Bus and with additional carries next season, he could be a Pro-Bowler. Dwyer and Jones are nothing special but I expect at least one of them back and maybe another late round draft pick.
FB: Will Johnson - this kids a keeper, no reason to upset the apple cart for nothing.
WR: Brown is a given, the guy is a top 5-10 WR in the league. Cotchery has proven to be a valuable asset and needs to be resigned plus he likes the Burgh. Wheaton will have an offseason to work in the new system and with Ben and could be a major contributor next season. Sanders will probably not be in Black and Gold next season and I'm fine with that. I expect an early draft pick devoted to this position (1-3), we need size at the position and Moye isn't it.
TE: Heath will be back and healthy and being his consistent self next season. Spaeth will back him up and maybe a draft pick devoted here later on to compete with Palmer and DJ.
OL: Foster, Pouncey, and DeCastro are solid up the middle and being able to resign Velasco would be a coup. The problems lie on the outside. As of right now, Beachum is the starter at LT and Adams and Gilbert can compete at RT. This is a situation that is very fluid and another 1st rounder may be devoted here???
DL: Heyward is headed to being a star. McClendon reminds me of KVO, I think he belongs at DE. Hood as far as I'm concerned can head down the road. Woods has shown to at least be solid depth. This unit is definitely in need of fixing, BIG TIME! It's not like it's not fixable, a new solid NT would make a HUGE difference. Louis Nix would look great.
LB: Worilds needs resigned, no question asked. He has become a difference maker on the left side. Jones obviously has a future but needs to get bigger and stronger and a year in the program will help. Hopefully, the team can find a trading for Woodley because he is not the player he once was and is not worth the money he's being paid. Timmons, Williams, Spence, and Foote should all be back in the middle and I would let the others battle it out until they find the right piece next to LT.
DB: Hands down the biggest need on the team is a flush of the secondary. Gay, Allen, Thomas are probably all safe. I expect Headache to take over for Clark at FS. Allen will continue to get better and I'm ok with him at CB, Gay is fine in the Nickle. Troy will prolly be back but it's gotta be at a reduced rate. He doesn't play 7-10 million worth anymore. IT-Swag, I love him but I think it's time to go. High pick and middle picks are needed to address this situation. Free Agency could come into play here too.
ST: Suisham is fine, Warren has been a Steeler forever, but this team needs a real punter. Time to make that happen because this season has been a disaster.
That's my take by position. The team isn't void of talent but some injection and removal is needed and some of it may hurt but that is how this team is going to move forward. Another good draft is needed for sure.