The Next Generation of the Steel Curtain

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Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jason Avant (81) is tripped up as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) closes in during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom Line

Heyward clearly looks like the Steelers next dominant defensive lineman to help lead that defense. Nose tackle Steve McClendon is solid and fellow DE Stephon Tuitt seems to be coming around. The d-line will clog running holes and occupy blockers, allowing the linebackers to run around and make plays.

Shazier is ready to break out as the man in the middle now and Dupree has a future coming off the edge. They’ll be linked up with Jarvis Jones, who looks to be improving the opposite edge. And of course, veteran Lawrence offers solid help to Shazier in the middle of that defense.

The core of that front-7 looks like it’s going to be a terror just like the Steel Curtains of the past. The only thing missing is the secondary that had guys like Mel Blount, Rod Woodson and Troy Polamalu in the past. If they can just be a functionable unit, the Steelers will be knocking on the door this year.

That Steel Curtain is on the way back.

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