The Pittsburgh Steelers were uncharacteristically busy during free agency (by their standards), bringing in the likes of safety Mike Mitchell, wide receiver Lance Moore and running back LeGarrette Blount.
Most Steelers fans would agree that Mitchell, the expected starting free safety, projects to have the greatest impact. But what about the other two “bigger” signings, Blount and Moore?
At first glance, Moore seems to be coming in to the fold in a greater need position than Blount. The Steelers lost last seasons number 2 and 3 receivers this off-season, with Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery leaving for the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers respectively. Heading out the door went the WR duo’s 113 receptions, including Cotchery’s team leading 10 receiving touchdowns.
Many are expecting second-year WR Markus Wheaton to start opposite of Antonio Brown and have a break-out season. However, the former Oregon State Beaver standout has shown only flashes and proven little at the NFL level, netting only six receptions in 12 games with the black and gold.
Conversely, Moore appears to be making an early impression on his teammates and seems poised to play a big part in the team’s offence this season. According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, QB Ben Roethlisberger had nothing but praise for his new offensive weapon. “Lance is a pro. He’s a great professional,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s going to be really good, and I think we’re going to have a good connection.”
Blount on the other hand comes into the fold as the undisputed number two back, behind second year starter Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers will be hoping that Blount’s bruising running style can help spell Bell and wear out opposing defences late in games. Blount also figures to feature prominently in goal-line sets and short yardage situations.
Although Blount’s touches may be limited, his greatest influence may be on giving the Steelers a viable backup option and helping to keep Bell fresh, something they did not possess last season with Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones.
Steelers fans everywhere will be hoping for both Blount and Moore to be significant contributors this season. But if Steeler Nation could choose which free agent acquisition would have the bigger impact, Blount or Moore, who would it be?