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Which position group is most concerning for the 2023 Steelers going into the draft?

When looking forward at the Steelers season to come, which area of the field is the most cause for concern?

NFL: DEC 24 Raiders at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season has now been concluded for months and the 2023 offseason is rolling on. After having plenty of time to look back and reflect on both the accomplishments and shortcomings of this past year‘s team, the page has been turned to look forward for quite some time.

Since it’s impossible to go back and change the past, what’s most important when looking at 2022 is to see how it builds towards the future in 2023 and beyond. With much discussion about which position group the Steelers need to improve based on free agent losses, additions, and things of that nature, sometimes what gets lost in the shuffle‘s where the Steelers had both the most and least success in the previous year and how that builds into the following season. It’s possible for the Steelers to be losing no one at a given position yet still need to do something based on expectations coming up short the previous year. Additionally, another position group could be the strongest for the team and a focus on keeping the group intact might be the best approach.

Last month, we looked at both the most concerning and least concerning position groups based on the 2022 season. The instructions were to only look back and not look forward. The next step was to take those results, mixed with the Steelers players that were set to become free agents at the beginning of the league year, and decide where the Steelers were set up the best and worst as they headed into free agency. Now that free agency is almost six weeks old, let’s look at the same questions just ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. Since the topic of strengths would probably lead more to the weakest spots in terms of the discussion, let’s go ahead and start with weaknesses today and save the strengths for tomorrow.

So the question for today is this: Which position group of the 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers is the biggest area of concern going into the draft? Remember, this will take the results from where we were looking back at this past season as well how things stood before free agency to help answer the question now. Players lost and gained will also be listed.

Note: This is merely looking at the weakest position groups, not what the Steelers should be selecting high in the draft.

*Player is still a free agent
**Player was released by the Steelers but still unsigned

Inside linebacker:

Looking back at 2022: 58%
Before free agency: 61%
Players lost: Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen*, Myles Jack**
Players gained: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Tanner Muse

The concern at the inside linebacker position led the way when looking at 2022, and the outlook for the future was slightly worse. Now that the Steelers have cleaned house at the position, has it helped with the overall feeling or is it still the biggest concern on the team?

Offensive line:

Looking back at 2022: 21%
Before free agency: 16%
Players lost: J.C. Hassenauer, Trent Scott, Jesse Davis*
Players gained: Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig, Le’Raven Clark

The Steelers only lost reserve players from the offensive line from 2022, and added a bonafide starter who may now be their best player among the front five. But is one major upgrade and improved depth enough to extinguish the concern?

Defensive line:

Looking back at 2022: 9%
Before free agency: 11%
Players lost: Chris Wormley*, Tyson Alualu*
Players gained: Breiden Fehoko, Armon Watts

The biggest change in this position group since the last time was the re-signing of Larry Ogunjobi. The Steelers also added two players capable of playing nose tackle with very different skill sets. But with age being a factor at the top of the chart, is the lack of confidence still there?


Looking back at 2022: 5%
Before free agency: 9%
Players lost: Cam Sutton
Players gained: Patrick Peterson

The Steelers re-signed James Pierre but lost top option Cam Sutton at the cornerback position. Not long after Sutton departed, former All-Pro Patrick Peterson signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh. Is the veteran Peterson an upgrade over the younger Sutton?


Looking back at 2022: 2%
Before free agency: 0%
Players lost: Mason Rudolph*
Players gained: None

Nothing has changed at the quarterback position for the Steelers, and the top two guys seem to be locked in for 2023. Chances are, if someone was concerned before they are probably still concerned now.


Looking back at 2022: 1%
Before free agency: 0%
Players lost: None
Players gained: Braden Mann

None of the specialists were shown the door from 2022, and serious competition has been brought in at punter. Now it’s time to see if either of the former Ray Guy Award winners could develop some consistency.

Outside linebacker:

Looking back at 2022: 1%
Before free agency: 0%
Players lost: Malik Reed, Jamir Jones**
Players gained: None

The release of Jamir Jones was very curious as the Steelers are quite thin and outside linebacker. The Steelers and Bud Dupree simply could not come together on a deal based on the number of years of the contract. With no real answer to back up T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, is the concern at this position on the rise?

Wide receiver:

Looking back at 2022: 1%
Before free agency: 1%
Players lost: Miles Boykin*, Steven Sims
Players gained: Allen Robinson

Whether or not Alen Robinson has much left in the tank or not is a highly debatable topic among Steelers’ Nation at this time. But even if it’s not much, did the Steelers get worse at the position group?

Tight end:

Looking back at 2022: 0%
Before free agency: 0%
Players lost: None
Players gained: None

Zach Gentry was set to be a free agent, but ended up returning to the Steelers. For now, the Steelers look to roll into 2023 with the same unit.

Running back:

Looking back at 2022: 0%
Before free agency: 0%
Players lost: Derek Watt*, Benny Snell Jr.*
Player gained: None

There hasn’t been any movement at the running back position with the Steelers in free agency. They haven’t signed anyone but their free agents have not landed elsewhere. The Steelers hadve the option of simply signing back their players from last year and rolling in the 2023 if they choose to.


Looking back at 2022: 0%
Before free agency: 1%
Players lost: Terrell Edmunds, Karl Joseph*
Players gained: Keanu Neal

With two major players set to be free agents, one re-signed in Damontae Kazee while Terrell Edmunds took a small deal to head to Philadelphia. The Steelers added Keanu Neal, but is that enough to feel good about the loss of Edmunds?

So there is a brief reminder as to how each position group performed in the two previous polls, as well as players lost and gained in free agency. Now the rest of the story is up to you. Which position group do you believe is the most concerning heading towards the 2023 NFL draft? Make sure to vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Which position group is most concerning for the Steelers heading into the 2023 NFL draft?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Inside linebacker
    (210 votes)
  • 20%
    Offensive line
    (177 votes)
  • 9%
    Defensive line
    (85 votes)
  • 29%
    (258 votes)
  • 0%
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 14%
    Outside linebacker
    (126 votes)
  • 0%
    Wide receiver
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Tight end
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Running back
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    (9 votes)
883 votes total Vote Now