Since 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been ranked among the weakest units in all of football.
Contrary to where they were in 2018, when Pro Football Focus ranked them as the top offensive line unit in the NFL, their stock has fallen. In 2019, they finished a respectable 9th, according to Pro Football Focus, with a 7th-ranked pass/block win rate, according to ESPN. Yet in 2020, the Steelers' offensive line regressed, finishing as the 31st run blocking and 21st pass blocking units, falling to 17th overall in the NFL.
With little expectations this past season, the Steelers built their offensive line from the ground up, which included rookies Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green, and adding veteran guard Trai Turner. Despite the numerous struggles they endured as a unit, they managed to make it to the first round of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even with this, they finished 26th overall as a unit in 2021, while holding the second-worst pass block and third-worst run block win rate.
Though this offseason will be dedicated to finding their next franchise quarterback, one should assume they will devote as much time to strengthening their offensive line. With the free agency market ripe with offensive line talent, the Steelers could find the right one to help stabilize their offensive line. One name that has been linked to the Steelers is veteran Ryan Jensen, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering how Green struggled mightily in his rookie season, the acquisition of Jensen could benefit him greatly while adding depth at the center position.
This year's NFL Draft also brings a bevvy of possibilities at all positions on the offensive line. One of the many prospects that have been on the Steelers' radar is Zion Johnson out of Boston College. Johnson was one of the top performers at this year's NFL Combine, registering impressive numbers in multiple categories. In addition, Johnson possesses the versatility to play at the center, guard, and tackle positions. This year's class is projected to be one of the deepest, notably at the tackle position. For the Steelers, who are proponents of building through the draft, fans should expect them to select at least one.
The process of building a strong offensive line requires time and resources. With over $27 million in salary cap space and draft capital in their possession, they have more flexibility than in recent memory. With a stronger, more stable offensive line, they have the potential to build a unit that complements their defensive unit, which has been the lifeblood of their team. A balance of these units could transform this team into a viable Superbowl contender.