With more than 20 players set to hit the market in free agency as unrestricted or restricted free agents, some change is coming to the roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Of those 20+ players, four landed in the top 100 NFL free agent rankings of CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco Thursday.
Cornerback Cameron Sutton and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi landed at No. 26 and No. 48 respectively, which is no surprise overall. The two other names that cracked the top 100 are, though.
Those players? Defensive lineman Chris Wormley at No. 62 overall and safety Terrell Edmunds at No. 99 overall.
Sutton is Prisco’s third-best cornerback in free agency behind Tampa Bay’s Jamal Dean and Philadelphia’s James Bradberry, which is the standard groupthink at this point.
“He can play inside and outside and is coming off an impressive season on the outside,” Prisco writes regarding Sutton’s ranking at No. 26 overall. “That will give him a nice market at the age of 28.”
Sutton was very good in 2022, finishing with 43 tackles, three interceptions and a career-high 15 pass breakups while playing 931 snaps (94%), earning a grade of 71.6 overall from Pro Football Focus.
He’s a huge success from a developmental standpoint for the Steelers’ organization at cornerback, and can’t be allowed to leave in free agency. The expectation remains that the Steelers will lock up Sutton before free agency begins, and based on Sutton’s comments so far this offseason and the way he’s conducted himself in interviews, it doesn’t sound like he has any interest in leaving the only organization he’s known in the NFL, especially with the way he’s developed into a leader and key asset defensively in the secondary.
As for Ogunjobi, his ranking at No. 48 overall makes sense.
Though he struggled to stay healthy throughout the season, he missed just one game and still recorded 30 pressures in 2022, with 19 of those pressures coming in the second half of the season when the Steelers’ defense was at full strength. He should be a priority for the franchise in the offseason, much in the same way Sutton is.
Wormley was the real surprise though, landing at No. 62 overall.
A solid rotational piece who had a career-high 7.0 sacks in 2021, Wormley suffered a torn ACL last season, which has him rehabbing from the knee injury entering free agency. Wormley saw his production decline to just 29 tackles and half a sack last season while moving back into that depth role. He’ll be 30 years old entering the 2023 season and is coming off of the significant knee injury.
His market might not be great in free agency, but Prisco remains rather high on him, slotting him ahead of guys like Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox and Seattle’s Poona Ford in the rankings along the defensive line.
“He isn’t flashy, but he’s a good steady veteran who can hold up against the run,” Prisco writes. “He plays down end in their scheme, but would be an inside player in others.”
Wormley has the versatility to move around in a scheme and showed in 2021 he can get after the passer, but he really struggled as a run defender in 2021 as the Steelers had one of the worst run defenses in football.
As for Edmunds, he cracks the top 100 at No. 99 overall despite having one of his best seasons in the NFL last year.
“He had his best season in 2022 at the right time as he enters free agency,” Prisco writes. “At 26, his best football should be ahead of him.”
Edmunds continues to get better and better in the NFL. While he hasn’t quite lived up to the first-round billing as a former top 32 pick, he’s been nothing short of steady and reliable, filling a key role in Pittsburgh the last five years, pairing rather nicely alongside star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the Steel City.
That comfort between the two should play a significant factor in the Steelers attempting to keep Edmunds on a multi-year deal, but there are decisions to be made up and down the roster, tough ones in fact, that could result in the loss of some sound players overall, much like Edmunds.