Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The Steelers’ season will be ruined by their offensive line. It’s bad beyond salvage for the second straight year. 

Why didn’t they fix it? 

The Steelers’ priorities are skewed, that's why. 

The most important positions in football are quarterback, cornerback, left tackle and edge rusher. In some order, but with quarterback obviously first. 

The Steelers are invested at quarterback, having drafted Kenny Pickett in this year’s first round. 

The Steelers are invested at edge rusher, having given T.J. Watt a four-year, $112 million contract extension. 

But the Steelers’ left tackle is a fourth-round pick. 

The Steelers don’t have a cornerback that was chosen before the third round. 

Meantime, in their last two drafts, the Steelers took Pickett in this year’s first round; wide receiver George Pickens in this year’s second round; running back Najee Harris in last year’s first round; and tight end Pat Freiermuth in last year’s second round. 

None of those choices are bad individually. But as a group, they don't make sense.

Wide receiver and running back are the NFL’s most disposable positions. Freiermuth is OK. You can yell MUUUTH! like you did HEEEATH! That counts for something. 

But the Steelers could have taken Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey instead of Freiermuth. Humphrey went to Kansas City eight picks later and made the NFL’s All-Rookie team. 

Humphrey would be the cornerstone of the offensive line. The Steelers would be much better off with Humphrey than Freiermuth. 

Why did the Steelers ignore the offensive line in the first two rounds of the last two drafts? Because they will pay the price for it this season. It will wreck the Steelers. And, moving forward, how long will it take to make the offensive line good? 

Drafting Pickett, Pickens, Harris and Freiermuth gave Coach Mike Tomlin a bunch of shiny new toys to play with, which shows his influence on how the Steelers draft. 

But if you could give back Freiermuth to get Humphrey and give back Pickens to get another stud offensive linemen, the Steelers would be a better team.

It's not fantasy football.

Photo: Getty Images

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