Brian Baldinger Gives Steelers Draft So Far An A+++: ‘Might Be Time To Take Back The Division’


The Pittsburgh Steelers have had one heck of an offseason in general manager Omar Khan’s first go at putting his stamp on the roster. The team has been clear in its intention to build a run-heavy football team, signing two road graders in guards Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig in free agency while adding offensive tackle Broderick Jones and tight end Darnell Washington in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Steelers improved their defense with the additions of linebackers Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb in free agency, and also have drafted two Wisconsin defenders in linebacker Nick Herbig and defensive lineman Keeanu Benton. The team’s moves have gotten the approval of NFL analyst Brian Baldinger, who called the Steelers’ draft an “A+++” and said it “might be time to take back the division.”

The Steelers have gotten better this offseason. The offensive line is upgraded, the secondary, while losing Cameron Sutton and Terrell Edmunds, might be better with Patrick Peterson, second-round draft pick Joey Porter Jr., and Damontae Kazee taking over as the starter at strong safety. Couple that with another year of development out of guys like quarterback Kenny Pickett, wide receivers George Pickens and Diontae Johnson and running back Najee Harris and the Steelers could be dangerous next season.

While no one’s mistaking them for an early Super Bowl contender, the way the Steelers have built their roster is conducive to winning in the AFC North. They have a team that can run the football and do it with success. After the team went 7-2 down the stretch last season with a run-first strategy, improving that facet of their game was clearly a priority and that’s what the Steelers have done.

The passing game should be better too, with Pickett getting another year of experience under his belt and Calvin Austin III coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him his entire rookie season. The team also added veteran Allen Robinson II to become the leader of a young unit and hopefully provide some production out of the slot. The Steelers should be able to use the run to set up the pass well, and hopefully Pickett is able to keep his turnovers down as he did in the second half of the season last year.

While they’re underdogs right now, there’s nothing stopping the Steelers from winning the AFC North next year. They finished 9-8 last season, and they got better. They also have an easier schedule on paper in 2023, so conceivably the Steelers should win more next year. The AFC North isn’t easy, with the Cincinnati Bengals going to a Super Bowl and AFC Championship game in back-to-back years and the Baltimore Ravens a persistent threat.

But the Steelers have the talent to win the division in 2023 and make Baldinger’s early statement look smart.

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