2017 Already Shaping Up To Be Quite A Year For The Steelers

The 2016 season is turning out to be a good one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After claiming the AFC North title, the Steelers route to the Super Bowl features a back-up quarterback, a team that they dismantled in convincing fashion already this season, and a superpower without their Jenga piece.

Of course, the reality is that the Miami Dolphins, and perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will represent a much harder challenge than those throwaway statements, but 2016 looks like a great opportunity for the Steelers.

Still, it’s very easy to get excited about what the 2017 season could bring to Pittsburgh. With the exception of Le’Veon Bell, all of the key players are under contract at least until the end of next season.

Next season will also bring some relief with cap space, allowing the likes of Bell and Antonio Brown to receive new contracts, and other players like Ross Cockrell, Alejandro Villaneuva, and James Harrison can be resigned.

But the biggest reason to get excited is the number of young players who are making their marks on the team. Arguably only the Oakland Raiders have more improving young impact players amongst the AFC contenders.

On offense, the gaggle of young receivers like Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Demarcus Ayers, and Cobi Hamilton essentially all only tasted their first full seasons in the NFL this year. Ladarius Green will benefit from a full off-season and increased chemistry with the offense in the spring and summer.

Who knows, even Martavis Bryant could be back?

Then there’s the young core on defense. Bud Dupree made strides in between his rookie year and his second year. Provided he stays injury free, a full offseason will help him improve going into his third year.

All three rookies will benefit from more experience. Most players raise their game in the second or third years, and the Steelers will look to give Artie Burns and Sean Davis more responsibilities as their familiarities with the NFL and the Steelers’ system grows.

Hopefully when the team comes back into training camp they will be joined by another impressive draft class. The 2017 class looks to be another deep one on defense, with quality edge rushers, cornerbacks, and safeties available throughout the draft. There might even be running backs, wide receivers, or tight-ends available later on should the front office decide that they are needed.

  • Sonny Saks

    This team needs to hit on either a first round olb or sign one.

  • We won’t sign a starter at OLB. So yes, they need to hit on one in the early rounds and hopefully grab a prospect in mid to late rounds

  • Sonny Saks

    Maybe the year to move up giving up some picks

  • LHW

    James Harrison still in the discussion. Good or bad, that is insane.

  • steeltown

    Deep class of edge rushers, I’d be drafting 2 OLBs, fingers crossed

  • Jamie Wilson

    Also getting a healthy Cam Heyward back to pair with Tuitt and a more seasoned and stronger Hargraves.

  • Petherson Silveira

    You forgot Hawkins, that was showing a lot of promise in TC, but got hurt.

  • MattHat121

    Yes, I am very optimistic about the next season, as well. We should be an even better team for all the reasons mentioned.

    Draft 1-2 OLBs in top 4 rounds (it’s a deep class), potentially snag one in FA, stay healthy, play hard, and I love our chances.

  • SteelersDepot

    Not going to start though

  • Jaybird

    This team has a shot to win multiple Super Bowls. I’d love to see Ben retire with 4 rings.

  • steeltown

    Agreed.

    Getting AB and Bell locked up is paramount. And some key players are Restricted FA’s so they’ll most likely be back, like Cockrell, Villanueva and Hamilton etc. Some of the young guys are looking very promising, like Davis and Hargrave on Defense and a plethora of players on Offense. We even have a guy on IR that was looking promising, OL Hawkins

    The future is bright

  • Rocksolid20

    Right now i’d just like him to retire with 3 !

  • SfSteeler

    $Bell$ this off season, Brown, SHAZAM n Tuit also to lock up means zero high end freeagents for this team…we can handle it, were young, as per the article…

  • Jaybird

    Dream big bro. We’re getting two more with Ben.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Outside of two OLB’s and a backup QB, RB provided they don’t sign Landry and DWill back there’s not any huge needs to fill. TC is going to be interesting because there may be only a handful of positions up for grabs.

  • steelburg

    I would love a move up for Derrick Barnett.

  • Abed Medawar

    Yes can’t wait but we also have to keep in mind some people are going to get injured and miss time as it happens every year. But much to be excited about watching the young guys develop. Plus well have some cap room to work with each even after bell and ab contracts right?

  • Petherson Silveira

    I really hope not. But last year AV wasn’t too.;)

  • Matt Manzo

    What should the first offensive pick be?
    RB? TE maybe?

  • Steeler Fanatic

    …and s healthy Rysn Harris and Cody Wallace for line depth.

  • Cwallace

    Martavis …pleeeese don’t smoke anymore. Just look at what you could make this team. Offensively unstoppable! And I know he sees these young wrs beginning to ball. Because he’s out this year, these guys are getting helmets and time. Well we’ll have more depth at wr than any team for a few yrs and it won’t be close.

  • Mercury22

    James Connor in the 3rd or 4th round, HTP

  • Aj Gentile

    Could replace Hubbard as sixth lineman though

  • Aj Gentile

    Some safety depth is needed

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m thinking with Golden Dangerfield and possible Shark there won’t be room for another Safety spot.