It’s been an incredibly busy offseason so far for General Manager Kevin Colbert and the Pittsburgh Steelers to date, one that has seen the black and gold address a number of significant holes on the roster while being relatively fiscally conservative.
Though the Steelers have addressed the quarterback position with the signing of Mitch Trubisky and relatively rebuilt the offensive line with the signings of James Daniels and Mason Cole and the re-signing of Chukwuma Okorafor, the Steelers — at least according to CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr — remain outside the top 10 in the AFC for the time being.
The Steelers come in at No. 11 in Kerr’s AFC rankings, falling behind the likes of Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, meaning the Steelers are closer to the bottom of the AFC rankings than in the playoff picture, which is a bit startling.
“This year feels like a transition season for Pittsburgh unless Trubisky immensely improved in his one year with the Bills,” Kerr writes. “The Steelers did a good job allocating their cap space to improve their offensive line, thinking long term instead of going for a Super Bowl in 2022. Najee Harris should be in store for a big second season. Pittsburgh still has good wide receivers in Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool with an emerging tight end in Pat Freiermuth.
“Myles Jack under Brian Flores tutelage will be massive for a Pittsburgh defense that already has pass rusher T.J. Watt, linebacker Devin Bush, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick,” Kerr added. “The Steelers still need help in the secondary, massive for the AFC North and their gauntlet of quarterbacks. If the Steelers can find their quarterback in the draft, this team has plenty to be excited about. The Steelers are in transition, but it’s hard to count out any team coached by Mike Tomlin.”
The 2022 season is certainly a transition year for the Steelers in the first season post-Ben Roethlisberger, but Pittsburgh did a good job plugging some holes and are primed to see some younger players like Claypool, Harris, Johnson, and Freiermuth take significant jumps forward with another year under their belts.
Defensively, the Steelers feel like they’ve loaded up entirely, though there is a hole remaining at strong safety with Terrell Edmunds still on the market. With the way the Steelers are currently built, it feels like the black and gold will rely heavily on a star-studded defense and a (hopefully) improved run game.
That doesn’t sound flashy in the least bit, but it could be the Steelers’ easiest path to competing this season, which should put them right in playoff contention in a tough AFC.