The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Do the Steelers plan to use Gunner Olszewski on offense?
This might not be the most exciting question to ask in the history of questions, but let’s face it, we are entering a 2022 season in which, as we speak, the Steelers only have two credible wide receivers on their roster in whom they have shown any kind of confidence they can play on offense.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud all gone, Pittsburgh doesn’t have a lot left behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. And that’s a problem. While it’s possible that at least one of the two veterans they had on their practice squad last year—Anthony Miller and Steven Sims—develops into a contributor for them this year, it’s not something they can count on.
They did, of course, sign one nominal wide receiver in Gunner Olszewski, a former All-Pro return man for the New England Patriots. But they signed him in order to replace McCloud as their kick and punt returner when he left for San Francisco.
Yet the Steelers showed far more willingness to play McCloud offensively than his previous teams had. Same with Ryan Switzer before that. They even traded for the latter. Olszewski doesn’t have a lot of offensive experience, but they could still have scouted him as a potential contributor.
The interesting thing about Olszewski is that he was actually a defensive back his entire life up to the NFL, where he was converted to wide receiver. He’s only a few years into the position, but one would expect him to grow every year. Now, I can’t imagine they view him as their starting slot receiver, but could they see him as a potential number four or five? I can’t rule that out, given their track record—which isn’t to say it’s a good (or bad) thing.