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—some already decided, some not.
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 was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
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: Who is most likely to make the team as the sixth wide receiver (assuming there is one)?
As anybody who has followed the NFL long enough and close enough surely knows, positional numbers have some degree of wiggle room. Even the most conservative teams tend to waiver every now and then, and carry only two quarterbacks, or seven defensive linemen.
For the Steelers, they often go back and forth between five and six wide receiver. Lately, it’s broken toward five, but it’s not long ago they had a good run of six. So could it be six this year? Well, they do have enough veterans and young talent to put it together.
Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens are stone cold roster locks. Calvin Austin III is probably pretty close, and Gunner Olszewski as the team’s return man, unless somebody like Austin ends up winning that job, can be penciled into the 53-man roster as well.
So is that it? Or will somebody else make the team? They have three veterans in Miles Boykin, whom they claimed off waivers earlier this year and in whom they had pre-draft interest, as well as Anthony Miller and Steven Sims, both of whom were on the practice squad last year. There’s Cody White, who spent most of last season on the 53-man roster, and whose father is now in the front office. The Tylers, Vaughns and Sneed, round out the position.
So, out of this group, are there any keepers? Should Boykin be viewed as the favorite, given that they went out and got him, and even picked up his elevated contract? Or does that make it more likely that he doesn’t make the team? What about Miller’s familiarity with Mitch Trubisky?