Were the Pittsburgh Steelers able to improve at every position this year, and by how much did they improve at each position ?
Let’s start on the defensive side of the ball. More specifically the defensive line. Although they lost Stephon Tuitt to retirement, he wasn’t on the team last year anyways. So strictly based on improving from a year to year basis, they’re able to get alualu back from injury and not have any losses. Although I would still like to see them add a piece, I still believe they have a better Defensive Line now than they did during the 2021 season.
Linebackers is an easy one to see the improvement. With no major losses and the gain of Myles Jack, it definitely improved. They lose Joe Schobert yes, but Myles Jack is believed to be an improvement from Schobert. Once again, I would like to see them add a piece to get deeper in regards to OLB, but they didn’t necessarily get weaker there. Yes you lose Taco Charlton, but the way the Steelers intend on playing Demarvin Leal in a similar way Taco was used, I would not consider that a downgrade.
Now onto defensive backs. You lose Joe Haden cornerback wise, but are able to retain Akhello Witherspoon and bring in Levi Wallace. In my opinion this is the closest one to a possible downgrade. But I believe that a 2022 version of Levi Wallace is better than that 2021 version of Joe Haden. When it comes to the safety position, the Steelers actually got slightly better by bringing in Kazee. They are able to resign Edmunds and give a monster deal to Minkah, and now with Kazee for depth I feel really good about that situation.
I feel like the Steelers still might make a move on the defensive line side with Tuitt retiring, but they don’t need to. I feel like the defense will be improved from the year prior already, not to mention younger players getting more comfortable and continuing to take leaps such as Alex Highsmith, Tre Norwood, Montravius Adams, Arthur Maulet amongst others.
Now to talk about the offense. The Steelers had a horrific offense in 2021, and it badly needed improvement and I believe it got it just about everywhere as well.
Let’s start off with what I feel is an easy one, but others may disagree for some reason called nostalgia... the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger was used goods in 2021, he was a bottom 3-5 QB in the league last season. He could not throw on the move, his arm was shot, and we were not able to run the offense to the best of our ability. I truly believe both Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are an upgrade from Ben, regardless of who wins the job.
Running back position I am a little disappointed in. They did not get worse by any means, however they really didn’t get any better. You still have Najee Harris as the bell cow. They did draft a guy in a later round, but I would have loved for them to bring in a change of pace back like Sony Michel or David Johnson or someone to give us a true RB2.
Fullback position stays the same. Derek Watt will man the duties once again, the Steelers did draft Connor Heyward who might see some time there, but I feel he’s mostly gonna play TE.
So that leads us into the tight end position which did get better with Heyward. Having Pat, Gentry, and Heyward is a deadly trio in my opinion, which should cus problems for opposing defenses.
I’m getting excited just thinking about this next group, the Offensive Line. The Steelers had a bottom 3 offensive line in 2021 and it really need changes. In my opinion the worst 2 players across that line were Kendrick Green at center and Trai Turner at right guard, and those two positions are exactly what the Steelers fixed. First at center, they bring in Mason Cole who was solid for the Vikings and who I believe is an upgrade over Kendrick for sure, especially in the zone run game which they want to run. Then to my favorite signing of the offseason, James Daniels. This dude is an absolute beast, and dominated for the Bears, he is easily better than Trai Turner was and Daniels instantly becomes our best player across the offensive line. I have really high hopes for the offensive line this season to be honest. I think it’s a solid group now.
Finally, the wide receiver. Losing Juju hurts more from an fan perspective than a true on the field perspective. He is so likeable and I personally wanted him to be a Steeler for life. However, I do believe despite losing him, that the wide receiver room got better. Adding George Pickens who I believe will be a stud as well as Calvin Austin the speedster, and for good measures you bring in Miles Boykin for good measure? Yeah the room for sure improved. And besides Juju was mostly hurt last year, so for sure going off of last year alone, the room improved.
Real quick, in regards to special teams, they mostly stayed the same. Boswell is great and I believe Harvin will improve. Heyward will be a special teams stud as well, and players such as Norwood once again will improve in special teams coverage and what not. I love our special teams unit I really do, adding gunner as well should help in both coverage and possible returns.
There it is, I truly believe the Steelers improved at just about every position. That is very hard to do in this salary cap era. I don’t know if many if any teams can say they did that this offseason. Especially not a team that just made the playoffs. After being 9-7-1 in 2021, and making the playoffs, with the Steelers improving at every position, they should be poised for another playoff birth and a potential run in said playoffs.
Thanks for reading. Cheers!