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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Curt Popejoy

Conference championship games highlight serious need for the Steelers

In watching the NFL playoffs, you see trends on the rosters. And as those trends translate over to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Watching these quarterbacks play really highlights just how important it is that the Steelers have a budding young star in Kenny Pickett. But on Sunday, during the conference title games, there was another spot that showed up that made us think about the Steelers.

The defensive lines. The teams that win these games are the ones that control the line of scrimmage. A lot of times when you read this, you only think of the offensive line but after watching how these teams just load up with big, strong guys on the defensive front, it definitely shows how the Steelers can upgrade in the offseason.

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Going into the offseason, the Steelers have three guys they can count on for 2023. Cam Heyward seems to be ageless and shows no sign of slowing down at 33 years old. Pittsburgh also has Larry Ogunjobi and DeMarvin Leal. Ogunjobi is eyeing free agency and it isn’t clear if Pittsburgh will be able to or be willing to pay him what he’s asking.

Leal really stepped up big as a rookie. Leal beefed up from his last season at Texas A&M but was able to maintain his quickness off the edge and earned two starts during the season.

What the Steelers don’t have with these three or any of the role players on the roster is size. Pittsburgh tries very hard to build its defensive line with players very similar in build so they can play inside and outside. Ogunjobi is the biggest guy on the roster and is within just a few pounds of any other guy on the depth chart.

But the Steelers can fix it. Whether it is in free agency with a player like Da’Ron Payne or Dalvin Tomlinson or via the draft with Siaki Ika or Mazi Smith, there are plenty of big bodies the Steelers can add to help be competitive with the level of talent on these top teams.

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