Are you noticing a theme this offseason, Steelers fans?
It is no secret that general manager Omar Khan has devoted his attention to offensive and defensive linemen. When you think about it, the foundation of the Steelers' struggles has been mediocre play in the trenches, a problem that has not gone unnoticed by anyone who has followed this team over the last few seasons. For those who have been tracking their moves so far, much of it has been focused on linemen.
Let us start with this year's Reese's Senior Bowl in late January. Head coach Mike Tomlin was noticeably interacting with all the linemen, most notably with Ohio State offensive lineman Dawand Jones and Wisconsin defensive lineman Keeanu Benton. Since then, both of these players have met with the team at other events such as this year's NFL Combine.
During this busy free agency period, the team has signed two offensive linemen, Isaac Seumelo and Nick Herbig. These signings, in my opinion, are indicative of two important things:
a) The influence assistant GM Andy Weidl,
b) The emphasis of Khan in acquiring high-level linemen
To further emphasize this point, note how the majority of the team's scheduled pre-Draft visits are with offensive or defensive linemen.
OL Dawand Jones
DL Gervon Dexter
OL O'Cyrus Torrence
DB Kelee Ringo
OL John Michael Schmitz
DL Mazi Smith
Furthermore, offensive line coach Pat Meyer was present at Northwestern Football Pro Day, where he met with and evaluated All-American lineman Peter Skoronski.
During this year's NFL Combine, Omar Khan reiterated this idea when said the following:
"You guys look at the Steeler history, that’s always been a big part of the job. Our winning teams have always been the O-line, and the D-line, and the big guys."
So, fans should expect the team to follow this idea in the upcoming NFL Draft. Considering that the Steelers success in the second half of the season was due to improved lineman play on both sides of the ball, if this team is looking to become a contender, it starts in the trenches. By all appearances, Khan is materializing this idea right before our very eyes.