The Steelers Need a Defensive Leader for the Secondary to Succeed

eric weddle

It’s no secret… Other than a muffled flash of brilliance in the middle of the 2015-16 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary is lacking. They’re lacking the consistency, chemistry, and tenacity that the Pittsburgh Steelers were once known for in the late 70’s and 2000’s. What they’re missing the most is a good leader.

No one wanted to cover Rob Gronkowski… Who could blame them?

Since players to the likes of Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, and Deshea Townsend left, the Steelers have been missing a key part that fans, coaches, and other players around the league can notice: a leader. Someone who is willing to step up, and make a difference. Someone who can step into the bright Pittsburgh spotlight and not miss a beat. That someone is Eric Weddle.

Eric Weddle, for those of you who don’t know, is a Free Safety for the San Diego Chargers who will be pursuing Free Agency after the Chargers did not offer a contract extension. The 31 year-old, Utah Utes alum, was a two-star prospect out of high-school who turned doubters into believers with his fearlessness and versatility.

Weddle and his iconic beard. Could he be Troy and his hairs’ successor?

Weddle was named the San Diego Chargers defensive captain, alongside defensive tackle Corey Luiget, this past season. He’s an established veteran, and won’t be a gamble like drafting a safety would be (although, for the record I believe the Steelers should go DB first round). Weddle has been selected for three pro-bowls in his eight-year NFL career, and has been an All-Pro selection five times. He has also intercepted 19 balls in his career, including a career-high seven interceptions in 2011; more than any one on the Steelers’ secondary.

Weddle and his iconic beard have been collectively considered one of the best safety’s in the NFL in recent years. Unfortunately, the better the player the more money they will want. So how can this move happen?

Defensive backs Will Allen, Antwon Blake, Brandon Boykin, Will Gay, and Robert Golden are all free agents this offseason. At the least, Will Gay and Brandon Boykin need to be resigned. Boykin is an underrated cornerback, who did not get much of a chance to succeed this past season; when he did, it showed. Do not resign Antwon Blake. Blake was, statistically, the worst player on the Pittsburgh Steelers this past season (according to pointafter.com).

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, as well as teams across the league, this is the perfect time to strike as the NFL gained access to a $1 billion increase in cap space for this offseason. That extra money should be plenty to sign Weddle without doing too much internal damage.

Again, he may not be the answer to all the woes in this secondary, but it is a good start. With the most explosive offense in the NFL entering the 2016 season healthy, Weddle should be optimistic about his chances of getting a ring in Pittsburgh which will only add to his interest.

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