With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: At least one rookie college free agent will make the 53-man roster.
Explanation: This is a topic we discuss every year, and rarely are we right. I doubt many people predicted right after the 2020 draft that James Pierre would make the team, for example. This year, however, you have a couple of cornerbacks, edge rushers, and offensive linemen, I think, who can compete for a roster spot from the undrafted group.
Justin Layne is either in his last season or has already had it. It depends on how Chris Steele and Bryce Watts look at cornerback, but I like their chances. I also like the potential for Tyree Johnson to win the fourth outside linebacker job against competition like John Simon and Derrek Tuszka. The team has a history of undrafted linebackers making the team (I could run off the list of names), regardless of what happens after that. T.D. Moultry is another edge with a chance.
Then there’s the offensive line. Chaz Green is the number four tackle right now. Frankly, any body that’s there is as much in the mix. And there’s always the potential for a running back to make the team, especially with the uninspiring group currently behind Najee Harris. So, Mateo Durant, Jaylen Warren, come on down and show us what you’ve got. We’re watching and hoping.
The Steelers have some soft spots on their roster, to be sure, but let’s not, first and foremost, forget that they still have time to fill them. I’m sure they are going to add at least one or two more veterans to this roster before the start of the regular season. And there’s always the chance that they add somebody with final roster cuts, as they’ve done multiple times.
The reality is that the Steelers rarely get the most notable names of the rookie free agent class, because they don’t offer big signing bonuses, and they will never guarantee salary for a rookie free agent, either. One would be lucky to get a $25,000 signing bonus out of them.