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2017 Pittsburgh Steelers Hot Takes

2017 Steelers Hot Takes Steeltownusa via flickr


2017 Pittsburgh Steelers Hot Takes

Steelers fans the wait is finally over, preseason football has officially started! The Pittsburgh Steelers will start their preseason schedule on August 11th against the New York Giants. With a lot of promise heading into the 2017-18 season, here are my Pittsburgh Steelers hot takes.

Le’Veon Bell Takes Rushing Title

One of the major headlines of the 2017 offseason has been the ongoing contract negotiation between Bell and the Steelers. The Steelers have yet to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Bell. With that being said, Bell has been a no-show at Steelers training camp in Latrobe, PA. Since he hasn’t agreed to an extension, Bell can hold out in the beginnings of camp. If they don’t reach an agreement, Bell will play on his franchise tag tender for the 2017-18 season. Even more serious, it will make him a free agent next season.

Regardless of all the drama, Bell will be on the field for the Steelers this season. I look for Bell to not miss any time during the 2017-18 regular season (*knocks on wood*). This will be a huge boost for this Pittsburgh offense. This will be the season that Bell officially proves that he is without a doubt the best running back in the league. Last year, Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliot led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards. For my first of my several Steelers hot takes, I believe that Bell will take the crown in 2017. I look for Bell to rush for anywhere between 1,800 and 2,000 yards in the 2017-18 season.

Huge Year For Steelers Linebackers

Even with the departures of Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones in free agency, I look for the 2017-18 season to be a breakout year for the Steelers linebacker core. Two rising stars to watch in the Steelers linebacker core are Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree.

With the absence of Timmons, the Steelers will look for Shazier to be the face of their defense. Shazier has been very impressive in his first three seasons in the black and gold. In his first three seasons in Pittsburgh, Shazier has accounted for 134 total tackles, seven sacks, and four interceptions.  For the 2017-18 season, I believe that Shazier will lead the Steelers in tackles. For an even bolder, but very achievable prediction, Shazier will be in the discussion for NFL Defensive Player of the Year this season.

Bud Dupree has been an emerging star in the Steelers defense during his first two seasons. In his first two seasons with the Steelers, Dupree has accounted for 50 total tackles and 8.5 sacks. Although those numbers may not stand out to a lot of people, Dupree has shown a ton of potential, mainly due to his great speed off the edge. For the 2017-18 season, I look for Dupree to expand his role in the defense. I believe that Dupree will be close behind Shazier in the tackles category and will be voted to his first Pro Bowl.

The End Of The James Harrison Era

With Harrison, I believe that he will show that he still has what it takes to be a great linebacker. He will continue to be the vocal leader, as well as leading by example for this Steelers defense. With Harrison getting older, I could easily see this being his last season, especially if the Steelers are able to make it to the Super Bowl.

Since Harrison is coming of age as far as playing days go, it will be time for a young player to step up. That player will be rookie TJ Watt.  After a successful college career at Wisconsin, Watt will be a perfect fit for the Steelers.  \In the 2017-18 season, I look for Watt to be a huge contributor on defense and special teams. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Watt crack the starting lineup in a few games this season.

Steelers Dethrone Patriots On Their Way To Seventh Super Bowl Victory

With all of these Steelers hot takes along with many other factors being considered, I believe that this is the year for the Steelers.  The 2016-17 season ended with thoughts of “what could have been” as the short-handed Steelers were embarrassed by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. However, this is a new season. With a fully healthy roster, the Steelers will finally take the AFC crown back from Tom Brady & Company on their way to an eventual Super Bowl victory. It is time for the Vince Lombardi Trophy to return to Pittsburgh!