The Pittsburgh Steelers enter 2022 differently than any year during the Mike Tomlin era. The storylines, the positional battles, the new additions, the outside additions of other AFC teams, and the Steelers are in a peculiar spot as we are weeks away from training camp.
There is a lot of scrutiny being put on the Steelers by pessimistic fans as well as some national media outlets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the team is worse. In fact, I would argue they’re in a better position this year than they were a year ago. Here is why:
Steelers position concerns in 2022 are less concerning than 2021 position concerns
The Pittsburgh Steelers come into the 2022 season arguably with more question marks than compared to the beginning of last season. Again, despite the many narratives by the national media and even the most pessimistic of Steelers fans, the roster as a whole is in better shape going into this season.
The situation at quarterback, the most important position on the field, headlines the biggest of question marks. Mitch Trubisky was brought in on a two-year deal before this past season’s NFL Draft, and we assumed that he was the answer to the quarterback situation the Steelers have.
Then, in a somewhat shocking move (at least to me), the team drafted Kenny Pickett 20th overall in April. As a Pitt fan, I was ecstatic. Pickett showed this past season he could more than succeed at the NFL level, and the competition between him and Trubisky should ween out a great starting quarterback when the season rolls around for the Steelers.
Offensive tackle and the offensive line in general is up there when it comes to concern this season, but low-key additions were made this past off-season to shore up the guard spots with the signings of James Daniels and Mason Cole. There should be healthy competition between these two veteran inside linemen, Kendrick Green and Kevin Dotson for those three inside offensive line spots. Plus, there could even be some more competition added for the tackles with the addition of a free agent veteran tackle for training camp.
Cornerback is another area of concern heading into training camp. With the departure of Joe Haden, the cornerback room is without a true number one corner for the first time since Haden was brought in in 2017. But with the emergence of Ahkello Witherspoon, steady slot play from Cameron Sutton and the addition of veteran Levi Wallace from the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers cornerback room is more stable than people are pointing it out to be.
When looking back to last year, the offensive line as a whole was definitely the biggest area of concern. Green was taking over for a retired Markuice Pouncey, and we really did not know how well the first-year lineman out of Illinois would play. Tackle was also a big concern, with the two potential starters Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner having little experience under their belt. A year later, Dan Moore Jr. and Kevin Dotson emerged as two reliable starters for the Steelers alongside two veteran additions.
Inside linebacker was a minor concern. Devin Bush was coming off of an injury riddled season and the old veteran Joe Schobert started alongside him. With the signing of Myles Jack and the hopefulness that Bush can regain an elite form, this position group looks vastly improved.
Even quarterback was an issue. After the Steelers collapse the season before in which they started the season 11-0, Ben Roethlisberger looked like he couldn’t go anymore. Now the Steelers have two young and hungry quarterbacks, who even though still don’t have the arm like “Big Ben,” provide much-needed mobility to the position in an offensive scheme that required quarterback mobility.
What do you think, #SteelerNation? Do you think the Steelers are in a better position this season than they were a year ago? Are there any areas of the team that are concerning to you that I missed? Let me know in the comments or @anthonyravasio on Twitter.