The Pittsburgh Steelers have made improvements all over their roster throughout the offseason. The likes of Broderick Jones and Isaac Seumalo will make their offensive line a stronger, more consistent unit. They also drafted Darnell Washington at tight end, and traded for wide receiver Allen Robinson to surround Kenny Pickett with more weapons.
While the Steelers undoubtedly got better, there are still positions of concern as training camp gets underway.
This is arguably the weakest part of the Steelers’ roster. Chandon Sullivan struggled in 2022 while with the Vikings. Sullivan had the third-highest reception percentage in the NFL amongst corners with at least 390 coverage snaps, allowing a catch on 78.9 percent of his targets.
Duke Dawson is the top competitor for the nickel spot, but he has bounced around the league over the last several seasons and hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since 2020. Elijah Riley made some noise on the opening day of camp, but we’ll need to see more of that before we crown him the starter.
Mason Rudolph throws an errant pass on a curl route and Elijah Riley picks it off.— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) July 27, 2023
I think Riley is going to make this roster. Had a good spring. Versatile, smart player.
There is the possibility that, once Pittsburgh feels comfortable making Joey Porter Jr the every-down perimeter cornerback, they will bump Patrick Peterson inside. However, keep an eye on the battle between Sullivan, Dawson, and Riley- one of those three will be your Week 1 starter.
Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts will balance each other well as the two starters in the middle of the defense, but the depth behind them is questionable. Mark Robinson had a few flashes, specifically in Week 17 against Baltimore, but he needs to show he can be a consistent option to turn to. Training camp will tell us a lot about the likes of Robinson, Tanner Muse, and Chappelle Russell, and Nick Kwiatkowski. This is a position group with a lot to gain and nothing to lose.
Now, this is a good question to have if you’re the Steelers. We know Minkah Fitzpatrick is a stud, but who will be the man predominantly playing opposite of him? Will it be Damontae Kazee, who joined the team in 2022? Or will Keanu Neal and his versatility earn the starting job? It’s likely both will make the final 53-man roster, but you also can’t forget about Tre Norwood. Will he be one of the final few in or just miss the cut?
All of these guys are going to sharpen one another throughout camp and preseason, which is always a good problem to have.