- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.
So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.
Antonio Brown's teammates voted him Steelers MVP for the second time since 2013 after he authored the greatest season by a wide receiver in franchise history.
But let’s be honest here: Ben Roethlisberger is the player the Steelers can least afford to lose, and it’s not even close.
That’s not a knock on Brown as much as it a nod to how important the quarterback position is in the pass-centric NFL.
Roethlisberger is locked up for two more seasons, and team president Art Rooney II has said the Steelers will sign their franchise quarterback to a new contract at some point -- one that will allow him to play his entire career in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers won’t look toward the NFL draft or free agency to add Roethlisberger injury insurance, and it’s not because the 10th-year veteran played every snap in 2013.
They took care of Big Ben fallback plans last year when they signed Bruce Gradkowski, a veteran but one who is younger than previous backups Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, and selected Oklahoma’s Landry Jones in the fourth round of the draft.
Drafting a wide receiver early, perhaps even with the 15th overall pick, makes sense for myriad reasons.