Step 1: Draft protection for Kenny Pickett
The Steelers’ decision to select their quarterback of the future and present last year means they don’t need to spend a first-rounder on a new signal-caller in this year’s draft. What they must do instead is acquire more protection for Pickett heading into his sophomore season.
Spending a Round 1 selection on a new starting left tackle makes a lot of sense for Pittsburgh. That’s why Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft has them going for Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson with the No. 9 overall pick. Northwestern star Peter Skoronski could also be in play for Tomlin’s team if he falls to them at that juncture in Round 1.
Some Steelers fans might want to see the team splash big money on the offensive line in free agency, but the team will be better served to select a tackle to grow alongside Pickett. Doubling down and finding a guard who can do the same in the middle rounds would also be advisable for the Steelers since they didn’t draft a single offensive lineman last year.
The Steelers’ top offseason priority is going to be to build an ecosystem to make Pickett successful moving forward. That can’t happen if he continues to run for his life on every passing down next year. Acquiring protection for the hometown quarterback is Pittsburgh’s top offseason priority.