The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most unpredictable teams heading into 2022. Who will be the starting quarterback? Will the Steelers get consistent production from a young receiving corps? Can the Steelers’ offensive tackles keep the quarterback alive this year? How will the Steelers play Myles Jack and Devin Bush at the same time? Can the Steelers survive without a number one corner on the roster?
There are many reasons you could give yourself to get your blood pressure high and sit in the corner of your bedroom, biting your fingernails all day. However, the Steelers have found intriguing new players at many positions this offseason, and one can only assume the team will contend for a playoff spot once again in 2022.
Despite many national pundits downplaying the Steelers’ chances in 2022, one analyst thinks this team is one of the most improved teams in the league. In a recent article ranking the five most improved teams in the NFL, Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports ranked the Steelers fourth. Here is what he had to say about the team’s flurry of moves this offseason.
Kevin Colbert was masterful in his final months as the Steelers’ GM. He was able to lock up one of the top quarterback free agents (Trubisky) during the initial moments of the legal tampering period. The Steelers would further add to their QB room by drafting Pickett, who is projected to be the team’s longterm starter while Trubisky is slated to be Ben Roethlisberger’s initial successor. The Steelers also drafted Chris Oladokun, an interesting QB prospect (he played at three different colleges) who gives them flexibility as it relates to Mason Rudolph’s future with the club.
Offensive line was a major issue for Pittsburgh in 2021. Colbert addressed it by signing two young, affordable interior linemen — Mason Cole and James Daniels — who between them have more than 110 regular season games and nearly 90 starts under their belt. Cole and Daniels should help Najee Harris far exceed his 3.9 yards-per-carry average as a rookie.
DeArdo went on to discuss the many changes which occurred inside the Steelers receiving corps, noting the intriguing additions of All-Pro kick returner Gunner Olszewski, rookies George Pickens and Calvin Austin III, and free agent Myles Boykin. He also added that recent draftee Conner Heyward could add “another wrinkle to Matt Canada’s offense.”
DeArdo finished his argument by noting several underrated bargains the Steelers found in free agency.
Pittsburgh’s reconstruction of the defensive line started with Colbert and has continued with his replacement, Omar Khan. One of Colbert’s last draft selections was versatile defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal in the third round. One of Khan’s first big signings as GM was Ogunjobi, who if healthy will be an absolute bargain at one year and up to $8 million with incentives. Speaking of bargains, the Steelers were able to acquire two veteran defensive starters in Jack and Wallace for a total of $24 million over two years.
The signing of Myles Jack is still somewhat of a head-scratcher, considering his similarities in play-strengths to Devin Bush. However, I trust Brian Flores to get the most out of this group, even though the pieces of the puzzle do not seem to fit when looking at the roster on paper. Levi Wallace’s athletic limitations are apparent at times, but for only $8 million over two years, it was without a doubt one of the best value signings during the early free agency period.
Things looked murky on the defensive line following Stephon Tuitt’s 2021 absence, but Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan made sure to fill a potential void, drafting DeMarvin Leal just weeks before Tuitt’s public retirement announcement. Plus, the latest addition to the Steelers, Larry Ogunjobi, makes too much sense not only for 2022, but also for the future. The Steelers are a young team going through a
rebuild reload, but Ogunjobi is only 28 and has plenty of good years ahead if the Steelers choose to keep him long-term.
What do you think of the Steelers’ offseason? Do you think they will prove to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC as we get you ready for the upcoming events surrounding the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers!