Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL Draft Class Breakdown

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the offseason as a team with no true identity. They had Super Bowl aspirations in 2020 and started off the year looking like a true contender. The Steelers opened the season with an 11-game winning streak and looked like a team that was ready to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC throne. The defense, which was led by T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, and Bud Dupree, was among the best in the NFL and made life hell for opposing offenses with the speed and athleticism they played with. Unfortunately, injuries hit this unit hard with Bush and Dupree both suffering season-ending knee injuries. 

After starting the season 11-0, Ben Roethlisberger was enjoying an excellent season back from missing the entire 2019 season due to injury. Even at the ripe age of 38, Roethlisberger looked great getting the ball out of his hands with urgency and decisiveness and was able to spread the ball out to the team’s abundance of playmakers. This didn’t last long, however, as the team would end up losing four of its last six games and that was largely due to the play of its quarterback. Roethlisberger’s arm appeared to die on him toward the end of the season and he really struggled to drive the ball into tight windows. Because of that, he forced a lot of bad throws. It wasn’t all on Roethlisberger, as both the offensive line and running game severely let this team down as well. 

The Steelers would wind up getting blown out at home in their first playoff game against the Cleveland Browns and they had a ton of questions they needed to answer. Pittsburgh needed to figure out if they were going to attempt to fill holes on this roster and run it back with Roethlisberger, who was still under contract for 2021, or the team could release him with no dead money at all and begin the rebuild. In the end, Pittsburgh restructured Roethlisberger's contract and decided to try and compete for a Super Bowl in what is likely to be the quarterback’s last year with the team. 

Pittsburgh entered the draft with a slew of needs both on offense and defense and if there is any hope in competing this season, they’ll need some year-one contributors. 

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Written By:

Brentley Weissman

NFL Draft Analyst

Experienced Recruiting and Scouting professional with past stops with the University of Oregon, UCLA, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers.