2023 Offseason Questions: Fehoko Or Watts – Who Is More Likely To Make The Team?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: Which new defensive lineman is more likely to make the 53-man roster: Breiden Fehoko or Armon Watts?

The Steelers are going to bring in more defensive linemen to training camp than they can reasonably carry into the regular season. That means competition, and in competition, somebody loses. They added two outside free agents to their defensive line so far this offseason, and it’s not guaranteed that both, or even either, of them will actually make the 53-man roster.

The first one signed is Breiden Fehoko, who is closer to the traditional 3-4 nose tackle mold. By his own admission, he offers little in the pass rush but has the potential to be stout against the run. Armon Watts is almost the opposite, whose skill set leans more toward the pass rush (with eight career sacks) than as an imposing force.

The defensive line currently consists largely of Cameron Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi along with Montravius Adams as the primary nose tackle, plus DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk as depth. Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley, the former a candidate for retirement and the latter recovering from a torn ACL, have not been retained from last season’s roster.

In addition to Fehoko and Watts, other defensive linemen currently on the 90-man roster looking to make a push for a spot are Jonathan Marshall and Renell Wren, who spent some time with the Steelers a year ago.

There is a very good chance the Steelers will be addressing the defensive line at some point during the 2023 NFL Draft, so that obviously has to be taken into consideration. But will they draft a player who is more an end or a tackle? That will also factor into the equation about the likelihood of Fehoko or Watts—or both, or neither—making the team later this summer.

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