The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 offseason practices concluded last week and next up for the team is their annual training camp, which should get underway in the latter part of July at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. Ahead of Steelers training camp getting underway, we will preview the team’s offseason roster three players at a time for you as part of a 30-post series. This Steelers roster preview, which includes outlooks for each player, will be done alphabetically by last name to make it easy to follow along with.
The next three players we will preview ahead of Steelers training camp are Chris Boswell, Miles Boykin, and Devin Bush.
K Chris Boswell: Boswell had a fantastic 2021 season for the Steelers as the team’s longtime kicker made 36 of his 40 total field goal attempts and 27 of his 29 extra point attempts. He also made good on eight of his nine field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer. as for his kickoffs, Boswell had a career high average of 63.5 yards on 86 total efforts. 40 of those were touchbacks. Boswell also remained healthy in 2021 after battling hip and groin injuries in 2020.
Outlook: While the Steelers do enter the long summer downtime with another kicker on their roster in rookie undrafted free agent Nick Sciba, he’s not expected to threaten Boswell for his job. In fact, Boswell very well could wind up becoming the NFL’s highest paid kicker before Week 1 as he’s now in the final year of his current contract. Now 31, there’s no reason to think that Boswell will be slowing down or having any sort of a drop-off in 2022. He’s now regarded as one of the NFL’s best current kickers and for good reason.
WR Miles Boykin: The Steelers claimed Boykin off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in the middle of April and that move didn’t come as a huge shock. The Steelers had interest in Boykin, a Notre Dame product, ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Ravens, however, selected Boykin in the third round that year and young wide receiver proceeded to struggle to find a major receiving role in the Baltimore offense. He totaled just 33 receptions for 470 yards and seven touchdowns during his three seasons and was limited to just eight games in 2021 after starting the year on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. In total, Boykin played 1005 regular season offensive snaps for the Ravens over three seasons and 417 more on special teams. He logged enough playing time to warrant an increase in pay via the NFL’s Proven Performance Escalator program and that’s yet another reason why the Ravens parted ways with him earlier in the offseason.
Outlook: In Pittsburgh, Boykin is now a reclamation project of sorts for new wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson. Boykin is probably best suited to play the Z position like he did in college so that he can utilize his speed on the outside. Boykin is a great blocker and that’s something else that might help his cause when it comes to him potentially earning a spot on the 53-man roster. The same goes for his special teams ability. The Steelers will likely keep five or six wide receivers on their 53-man roster this year and several of those spots are already spoken for. In short, Boykin might have to make the Steelers roster as a sixth wide receiver. Boykin’s main competition this summer will likely come from two other experienced wide receivers on the team in Anthony Miller and Steven Sims. While not a lock to make the roster, the Steelers are probably hoping that the 25-year-old Boykin wins a spot with ease.
ILB Devin Bush: The 2021 season certainly wasn’t a great one for Bush, the team’s former first round draft pick out of Michigan. After suffering a season ending knee injury in 2020, Bush’s comeback season included a lot more lowlights than highlights. It also included him missing two games late in the season due to him being on the COVID-19 list and one other one early in the season due to a groin injury. Bush registered just 70 total tackles in 2021 regular season play with just two of those resulting in lost yardage. He was credited with four quarterback hits, two sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Bush struggled to get off blocks in 2021 and also came up way short in coverage as well. He was targeted 63 times in 2021, including the lone playoff game, and allowed 49 receptions for 469 yards and two touchdowns, according to PFF stats. He did manage an interception in the playoff loss, however. He was effectively benched a few times in games during the 2021 regular season on his way to logging 762 total defensive snaps played in 14 total contests.
Outlook: The Steelers chose not to pick up the fifth-year option on Bush this past spring and while that decision did not come as a huge surprise, it firmly put into perspective how the organization feels about their former first round draft pick headed into the 2022 season. Bush’s offseason this year should be a normal one as he is no longer focusing on rehabbing the knee that he had injured in 2020. He will also have a new sidekick in the base defense this season in veteran Myles Jack, who should be upgrade over last season’s counterpart, Joe Schobert. Jack, however, might now be the lone inside linebacker on the field in sub package situations in 2022. Bush will also have a new coach helping him develop further in 2022 in Brian Flores. While Bush is expected to be a starter out of the chute in 2022, the Steelers coaching staff probably won’t hesitate to bench him quickly if his quality of play resembles that of 2021. 2022 is a big season for Bush and it potentially could be his final one in Pittsburgh. It would be very beneficial for him and the Steelers for him to start playing like an early round draft pick starting in Week 1.
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90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Montravius Adams, Marcus Allen, Tyson Alualu
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Daniel Archibong, Calvin Austin III, Genard Avery