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 Cameron Heyward, Connor Heyward, and Alex Highsmith.
ILB Myles Jack: The Jacksonville Jaguars cut Jack, a former 2016 second round draft pick of theirs out of UCLA, in the middle of March and just a few days later the Steelers signed him to a two-year, $16 million contract. In his first six seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars, Jack registered 513 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He also had 6.5 sacks and 15 total passes defensed. He has played in 88 total games with 82 total starts. Jack played 94 percent of the defensive snaps for the Jaguars in 2021 on his way to recording 108 total tackles with three resulting in lost yardage. He was also credited with two quarterback hits last season in 15 total games played.
Outlook: In Pittsburgh, Jack figures to be the new quarterback of the defense in 2022 and that could mean he wears the green dot whenever he’s on the field. The Steelers play at inside linebacker was way below average in 2021 and especially against the run. Jack, while older and not the player he was when he first entered the NFL, he still seems like he could be a huge upgrade over inside linebacker Joe Schobert, who played 921 total defensive snaps during the 2021 regular season. Jack figures to be an upgrade as a coverage player as well and could be the lone inside linebacker on the field in dime personnel groupings. 100 or more total tackles from Jack in 2022 is the expectation. A few sacks are possible as well. The Steelers have rebuilt their defense this offseason with a few new outside pieces with Jack being one of them. He’s going to need to have an above average season in 2022 if the Steelers are to make the playoffs.
DT Donovan Jeter: A Michigan product, Jeter was one of the ten original undrafted free agents signed by the Steelers this offseason. The 6031, 310-pound Jeter recorded 38 total tackles during his college career. 24 of those came in 2021. He played up and down the defensive line at Michigan as well. He enters the NFL as project defensive tackle.
Outlook: The Steelers have quite a few defensive linemen under contract this offseason and that includes newly added veteran Larry Ogunjobi and rookie third round draft pick DeMarvin Leal. In short, a lot of unfortunate things would need to happen this summer during training camp and the preseason for Jeter to make the team’s 53-man roster. In reality, Jeter will be battling throughout the summer for a practice squad spot. Should he land one, the Steelers will then get a further chance to develop him throughout the 2022 season. Making the practice squad would be a huge achievement by Jeter.
ILB Buddy Johnson: The Steelers selected Johnson in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M and he went on to spend most of his rookie season on the team’s weekly inactive list. While Johnson did see playing time in four regular season games in 2021, he was mainly used on special teams and to the tune of 59 total snaps. He only managed six total defensive snaps played for the Steelers as a rookie. He totaled two tackles in 2021. A foot injury resulted in Johnson missing the final four regular season games and he was placed on the Reserve/Injured list for the playoff week.
Outlook: Due to the lack of Johnson’s overall playing time in 2021, we still don’t know much more about the young inside linebacker than we did right after he was drafted. The Steelers do have a lot of inside linebackers under contract ahead of their 2022 training camp getting underway and that list includes another young player in Mark Robinson, one the team’s two seventh round selections this year. If Johnson is going to make the Steelers 53-man roster later this summer, he’ll need to do so as a core special teams player. At most, the Steelers will keep five inside linebackers on their initial 53-man roster this summer, so Johnson certainly has his work cut out for him. Should he ultimately fail to make the 53-man roster, there’s always a chance he could land on the team’s practice squad.
Previous Posts In Series:
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
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Chris Boswell, Miles Boykin, Devin Bush
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Chase Claypool, Mason Cole, James Daniels
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Carlos Davis, Khalil Davis, Jake Dixon
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Kevin Dotson, Mataeo Durant, Terrell Edmunds
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Trey Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pat Freiermuth
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Zach Gentry, Nate Gilliam, Chaz Green
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Ulysees Gilbert III, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Najee Harris, Pressley Harvin III, J.C. Hassenauer
90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Cameron Heyward, Connor Heyward, Alex Highsmith