The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season could be either a boom or a bust, and anyone who tells you it will certainly be one or the other doesn’t truly grasp this upcoming season. There can be a case made for this team to be extremely competitive, and a playoff team. Likewise, there can be a case made for this team to be mediocre at best and to miss the postseason.
It literally could go either way, and it will make for some stressful, yet entertaining, television this fall. When you look at the season, there are individual players who could both step up, or fall flat. I created a list of players who will surprise and disappoint for my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast, and decided to share the list on the editorial side too.
For clarification purposes, understand I am not suggesting these players will certainly surprise/disappoint, but are on my radar for specific reasons. The list isn’t in any particular order, and rookies were left off the list.
In case you missed the 5 players who could disappoint in 2021, check the link below:
Everyone is head over heals for James Pierre, and rightfully so! The undrafted second year player has done nothing but impress when given the opportunity on the football field. Can Pierre take the opportunity given to him and show out for the black and gold? He will be given every chance, and then some, to do just that this preseason. I’m betting on him to take full advantage and become a huge part of the Steelers’ defense. Consider him Mike Hilton 2.0 considering how Hilton was a no-name and turned himself into a household name.
There will be plenty of people who will go straight to the comment section complaining about Snell being on the list, but I value motivation. Not only did the Steelers take a running back with their top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but people should remember Snell will still get an opportunity to carry the football. He will be out to prove to the Steelers, and the rest of the league, he can play in a competent offense, and behind a different offensive line. Snell’s future might not be in Pittsburgh, but he will be out to prove he can play in the NFL. He might just make up a great tandem with Harris, when Harris needs a break.
A lot of fans are down on Banner considering he has never been a full-time starter at tackle. Despite winning the right tackle job out of camp, most are considering Banner to be a liability. He might be just that, but I am not betting on it. The Steelers have all the confidence in the world in Banner, and he is going to get an opportunity to prove his worth again this season. After signing a new contract, and coming off a knee injury, you better expect the organization will get every bit of effort out of Banner in 2021. Again, I value motivation.
Similar to Snell, many fans have written off Edmunds. After not having his 5th year option picked up, the majority are considering Edmunds to be a goner once the 2021 season comes to its conclusion. If that is true, I am betting on Edmunds putting some good tape out there for the NFL to see before he hits free agency. He has gotten better every year, and if he takes the next step, meaning making more splash plays, the Steelers will have a tough time being able to afford him in free agency. Maybe a Terrell Edmunds with a chip on his shoulder is just what this 2021 Steelers defense needs?!
Turner, like David DeCastro, has a lot to prove. Not just to himself, but the rest of the NFL. When Turner signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, you knew he was going to be all-in on 2021. If he doesn’t play well, you can just consider his career over. He claims he is healthy, and it will be evident whether he is just saying that, or it is true. The Steelers need Turner to perform at a high level, like when he was with the Carolina Panthers, because if he doesn’t this offense could be in trouble. I’m betting Turner gets his game back on track this season.
Honorable Mention: Arthur Maulet
No one is talking about Maulet as the new jack of all trades for the Steelers, but he could be just that and take Cam Sutton’s old spot. He has played both cornerback and safety, and that type of player, and versatility, is just what the Steelers need. Not guaranteeing anything, but keep an eye out.
To hear more on this topic, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline this topic more! Listen below: