Even while they battle skeptics with genuine concern for their prospects as a team, the Pittsburgh Steelers do still have a roster with legitimate talent. They have three All-Pros on the defensive side of the ball, in particular, but the Steelers have genuinely quality players on both sides of the ball, and I think we’ll find out there’s even more by the end of this season.
Jordan Dajani for CBS Sports recently put together an ‘All Under 25 Offensive Team’, which is basically what it says on the tin: The best offensive unit one can put together made up of players who are under 25 years old. No Steelers made the first team, but two did make the second—one of which would surprise you if you didn’t somehow get here without reading the title.
As you can read, Chase Claypool was one of three wide receivers selected for inclusion on the second-team offense, while Chukwuma Okorafor was selected as the second-team right tackle—never mind the fact that he will be playing left tackle this season, assuming he locks down the starting job.
Claypool is coming off of an impressive rookie season, during which he caught 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. He also recorded two rushing touchdowns, and had two more receiving touchdowns in the Steelers’ lone postseason game.
He was joined on the second-team unit by fellow wide receivers D.J. Moore and CeeDee Lamb, the latter also a part of the class of 2020. The first-team wide receiver group was made up of Justin Jefferson, D.K. Metcalf, and A.J. Brown, certainly all extremely good young players.
Okorafor was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Western Michigan. While he has recorded 18 total starts over the course of his first 18 seasons, he has yet to win a starting job. He started one game as a rookie, one in his second year, and then 16 a year ago, after Zach Banner, who defeated him in training camp, suffered a torn ACL in the season opener.
Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs, both members of the class of 2020, were the starting tackles on the first-team unit. Mekhi Becton, also drafted in 2020, was the left tackle on the second-team unit, along with Okorafor on the opposite side.
I strongly suspect that we will read Najee Harris’ name on this list at this time next year. Obviously, you’re not going to include a rookie on a list like this, since they haven’t done anything yet, but Harris has the makings of being a star.