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Steelers have B-plus offseason after DeAngelo Williams signing

6/24/2015
Play2:12
Despite loaded offense, Steelers' defense brings grade down slightly

ESPN Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler explains why he's not issuing a perfect mark for Pittsburgh.

With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps just a few weeks away, we assess the Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.

Best move: Signing running back DeAngelo Williams to a two-year, $4 million deal. This move had to be made. Le'Veon Bell is missing three games, and the Steelers couldn't open the season with Dri Archer and Josh Harris at running back. Williams has a starter's pedigree and comes to Pittsburgh on a low-risk contract. He can be a reliable early-down option for the Steelers but doesn't have to carry the ball 20 to 25 times a game because the offense is so stocked. Ben Roethlisbergerthrew the ball 38 times a game last season, a career high. Williams still has explosion left, notching 58 rushes of at least 20 yards in 1,432 career carries. The Steelers will need some of that burst, and Williams has assured he can give it. Williams averages less than 20 catches a year as a receiver, so the Steelers would like to see that clip rise while Bell's out.

Riskiest move: Pittsburgh eschewed the cornerback market and failed to draft one in the first round of the 2015 draft. The Steelers took Senquez Golson in the second round, and he has a future as the team's slot cover in zone coverage. But the team took pass-rusher Bud Dupree at No. 22 overall over corner Byron Jones, who is athletic and has ideal build for the position. Dupree might be a great pick, but corner was an obvious need that wasn't addressed on the draft's first day or in free agency, where several impact players were available. The Steelers are basically saying "we're good enough" with the maligned-but-talented Cortez Allen, Antwon Blake (one career start) and William Gay. If Allen cleans up his 2014 performance and Blake turns his offseason flashes into success, then they will look smart. But the risk is obvious.

Depth at receiver impressive: Sammie Coates has athleticism that shows up when watching him live, he knows how to finish a play and aims to redirect the drops label that followed him at Auburn. And the third-round pick could have a hard time seeing the field in 2015. The Steelers are much more than Antonio Brown at receiver, with Martavis Bryant building off a 21-yards-per-catch rookie performance and Markus Wheaton, who caught 53 passes in 2014, potentially moving to the slot. And don't forget about Darrius Heyward-Bey, a veteran with raw speed. Heath Miller is still good for 55 to 60 catches a year, or else the Steelers would have drafted a tight end higher than the fifth round. Roethlisberger will have more passing game options than he's ever had.

Training camp outlook: The Steelers' biggest questions remain on defense, which must be answered -- can only be answered -- in camp. The offense had the edge for much of offseason workouts, and though a few young players emerged (Blake and Shamarko Thomas, according to teammates), the Steelers need to see who's ready to hit once the pads go on. Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones had some good moments in May and June. He should take advantage of the momentum. The offense should feel very good about where it's headed. While the team needs a No. 2 receiver, Bryant and Wheaton both appear ready to fulfill that need. The offensive line wants to lead a top-10 rushing offense.