The Pittsburgh Steelers’ first depth chart of 2023 is here, barring any clerical errors of the ‘cut and paste’ element. Mike Tomlin reminds us not to put too much stock into depth charts at this time of year. This first release reflects that. Despite what some consider a rock star draft class, veterans and experience lead the lineups, at this point. There are still a few things worth noting.
No Anointed Rookies
Broderick Jones is the first tackle the Steelers have drafted in the first round in a generation, but he’s still listed behind incumbent Dan Moore Jr. Likewise, Joey Porter Jr. is behind Patrick Peterson at cornerback. Keeanu Benton is third behind both incumbent Montravius Adams and free agent veteran Breiden Fehoko.
Kendrick Green Experiment is not (yet) official
Green has gone viral among Steelers fans for his momentary transition to fullback, but at this point, Connor Heyward is the only listed fullback on the roster. Green is listed as the backup center, despite reports that Nate Herbig could potentially be backup at all three interior line positions.
Inside linebacker hierarchy
Inside linebacker is the position facing the biggest transformation. Cole Holcomb is expected to be a 3-down player. The newest face in the room, Kwon Alexander, has taken some reps with the first team, but he’s currently listed second behind Holcomb, with Elandon Roberts taking the other starting spot.
Two Safeties, One Position
This first depth chart lists both Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal as starting strong safety. Both are presumed roster locks, but how they will each be used in the secondary is still an unanswered question. The Steelers have done this before, most recently with Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon last season.
Men of Special Skills
The only position that doesn’t follow the trend of experience over youth is returner. Calvin Austin III is listed above Gunner Olszewski, despite having no official kick or punt returns in the NFL. Jordan Byrd follows both Austin and Olszewski at both return positions.