The dust has settled following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers had as good a draft as you could have hoped for, and optimism for this team feels higher than it has in some time. With the seven new players added to the roster, it is a time to be excited. And considering some of the names they were able to acquire, the excitement has reached a fever pitch. If you weren’t already on the edge of your seat for the 2022 class, here are 10 reasons why you should be excited for the Steelers rookies.
10. The team is unquestionably better
Take a look at the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers roster, more specifically the one that lost the Wild Card game to the Kansas City Chiefs, and compare it to the Steelers roster as we sit here today. On paper you could argue every position group is either better or the exact same. Not one spot on this Pittsburgh Steelers team is taking a step back from what they were when the season came to a close. Considering the Steelers made the playoffs a season ago, and the fact this team is better than that team, my excitement levels for this season are pumping through the roof.
9. Kept a stud player away from the Ravens
News broke on Monday how the Baltimore Ravens were set to select Calvin Austin III one pick after the Steelers brought him to Pittsburgh. And by the sounds of it, the Ravens were not happy at all that they missed out on the speedy receiver. Instead of having to face the kid many analysts are calling one of the biggest steals of the draft, the Steelers will get to utilize his talents against the division rival. It was a good pick when the Steelers made it, but keeping him out of Baltimore makes it even sweeter.
The Steelers drafted Calvin Austin one pick before the Ravens would have. https://t.co/Qv2vDaRPPb— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 2, 2022
8. Took advantage of minimal picks
The Steelers only had seven picks to their name in the 2022 NFL Draft. With trades and compensatory selections it meant the Steelers would have fewer than most organizations. A great way to combat having few picks is making home run selections with what you do have. Sure, we won't know how good any of these players are until the regular season begins, but we do know the team got George Pickens, DeMarvin Leal, and Calvin Austin III way later than many teams expected. So for the moment, the Pittsburgh Steelers were assassins when it was time to turn their draft cards in.
7. Depth through the roof
The Steelers have a ton of depth now throughout their entire roster. Not to jinx anything, but on paper it looks as though the team can weather the storm from an injury to any position group. This draft solidified the teams quarterbacks, receivers, defensive line, and brought more bodies to an already deep special teams corps.
6. Offense, defense, AND special teams
Speaking of special teams, it is definitely worth mentioning two of the Steelers’ late round picks should make for key contributors in the kicking game. Both Mark Robinson and Connor Heyward are both hard working, and hard hitting, players which is the perfect combination to find in special teams studs. These guys should step in fairly quickly and help out the likes of Derek Watt, Miles Killebrew, Robert Spillane, and many other of the Steelers special teamers. If I was the opposition's kick returner I would dread having to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
5. Keeping it in the family
Some may roll their eyes, but I am a firm believer that having family members on the same team is a positive. If a player is good enough to be in the NFL, having a sibling on the team is only going to make them want to work harder and be more accountable off the field. Adding Connor Heyward to the team is a perfect example. Connor was always going to have to bust his butt to land a full time gig in the NFL given the nature of his position, but bringing him into the mix probably puts years onto Cam Heyward’s career. Having your little brother on the team would only push you to not let him pass you in any way, shape or form. I wouldn't be surprised to find out Cam Heyward had the best offseason of his career prepping to take on his little brother. I also wouldn't be surprised in Cam Heyward has a longer career because of how much fun he will have playing with his younger brother. All in all, I was excited about this pick for a number of reasons.
4. Years to grow together
The Steelers landed a quarterback and two receivers in the same drat class. At minimum, these three players will get to develop together for four straight seasons. The chemistry between Kenny Pickett and George Pickens and Calvin Austin III by the time they reach year four should be through the roof. Not only that, but when you pull the camera back and look at the entire offense you will quickly see how young the entire group is and the potential for them to work together for a very long time. The average age for the projected starting offense is just 24 years old and the oldest players being 26 by the time the season starts. This group getting to develop together is exciting and knowing they will get even better with each passing year makes the future exciting as well.
From @ByJoshCarney— Michael Beck (@MichaelBeck56) April 30, 2022
Projected Offensive lineup
Pat F (23)
Average age: 24.0 Years old. Youth on offense
3. Value, Value, Value
The combination of George Pickens, DeMarvin Leal, and Calvin Austin III represent three players that had no business making it to the Steelers selection in their respective rounds. Not even close. Pickens legitimately has the potential to become the best receiver in this draft class, Leal was seen as a Top-10 pick a year prior, and Calvin Austin III is closer to Tyreek Hill than he is Dri Archer. These are three of the biggest draft day steals I can remember. If you are a draft nut, then I guarantee you loved the middle rounds of the Pittsburgh Steelers class.
2. The receivers are considerably better
Out with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, and in with George Pickens and Calvin Austin III. My honest assessment of the new receivers are that of Pickens having WR1 potential, and could legitimately be the team’s best receiver in year one, and Austin being one of the biggest headaches for defensive coordinator’s to try to defend in the league. Both of these receivers appear to be problems for the rest of the league. As for JuJu and Washington, it feels like the Steelers lost a slot and a depth player, neither of which has game changing quality.
1. They got their guy
The biggest reason to love this Pittsburgh Steelers draft class is because of their first selection. The Pittsburgh Steelers placed hours of time into scouting the quarterbacks of the 2022 class. They went to every Pro Day, Senior Bowl/All star game, NCAA games, combines, dinners and so much more that they possibly could have to find a quarterback. And when the dust settled and the Steelers were able to select any quarterback of their choosing, they went with the guy at the end of the hall. If that doesn't say confidence in a draft pick I don't know what would. The Steelers put in more time in one position than I think I ever have seen from ANY team, and they got the guy they 100% wanted from the start.
While it is possible any player busts, the time and effort the Steelers went into evaluating quarterbacks should make you excited for Pickett. This kid has a real chance of giving this team back-to-back franchise quarterbacks. I trust this organization to have selected the best quarterback based on the effort they put in, and as of this moment I think Pickett is the guy to carry this team to the promised land.
But what do you think? What reasons do you love the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL Draft class? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.