The biggest point of emphasis this off-season for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been continuing to build the offense for the future. The Steelers selected their future franchise quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. They also used five of their seven picks on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line was a major hole in the offense last season and that was a huge point of emphasis during the early stages of free agency. With the offensive line getting revamped and some added playmakers to a relatively young offense, do the Steelers have all the building blocks in place to have an offense that will be better than the “Killer B’s?”
The 2017 season for the Steelers was one of the best offensive years in recent history. The offense averaged 25.4 points per game and finished 13-3 in the regular season. The big play explosiveness was one of the key parts to the success of the team. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finished the season with over 4,200 yards passing. The ability to have playmakers such as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell made the Steelers extremely versatile and gave them multiple ways to make life tough on the opposing defense. Brown finished the season with over 1,500 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. Bell finished the season with over 1,200 yards rushing and found the end zone 9 times. This was when the Steelers offense was full stride and scoring on opponents seemingly any way they wished. If it was not for a below average defense, this team could have definitely made a Super Bowl run.
A new Steelers offense
The 2022 offense for the Steelers will look quite different than what we saw last season. They will be significantly more mobile and quicker. Last season the lack of mobility of Roethlisberger and a struggling offensive line was not the ideal mix and was a significant part of why the team struggled to score consistently. There is still some question marks when it comes to the offensive line, but they have added depth and multiple options at different positions across the line. They also have two options at their Week 1 starting quarterback position with Pickett and Mitch Trubisky. It is safe to expect at some point this season the Steelers will hand over the starting spot to Pickett, but Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin has expressed the possibility of Pickett starting Week 1.
The receiver spot on the depth chart will be as deep as it has been in quite some time. Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Steelers second round pick, George Pickens are likely going to be the top three receivers to start the season. The Steelers fourth round pick, Calvin Austin III will likely get some playing time as well and will likely play in the slot, but is also a deep ball threat with his significant speed.
Najee Harris will be the first running back on the depth chart and it is still yet to be determined who follows him. It could be the same options as in the past such as Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland.
The offense next season will have much more explosiveness and playmaking ability and should score on a more consistent basis.
When looking at the 2022 offense and what the Steelers had in 2017, there is one glaring difference, and that’s the lack of veteran leadership. For both Pickett and Trubisky, it will be their first season with the Steelers. Although Pickett has yet to prove himself in the NFL, he has shown major signs of leadership in college. The star power is not on the 2022 offense like it was in 2017, but with the playmaking ability of the younger guys, I would not be surprised to see this offense hit it’s stride in the years to come.
Although there is some differences, there is also some similarities. They have exceptional talent at the skill positions like they did in 2017. With Pickett being more mobile, the receivers they have on the roster, and the upgraded offensive line, I would expect the play action passing game to be much better than it has in the past. This is something the Steelers have struggled with significantly in the past and if they can get it back to the way it was in 2017, this offense will be significantly better than it was in 2021 which will free up space for Harris in the run game.
The offense next year will be extremely young all around and I would expect to see some growing pains. The new look offensive line and a first year quarterback will be the biggest cause for concerns, but with the amount of potential in the receiving core and the talent at running back, I expect this offense to find it’s rhythm at some point this season. When looking at the potential on this offense and the young talent that the Steelers have, I would not be surprised to see this offense surpass the numbers it had in 2017 down the road.
What’s your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Are you looking forward to watching all these young playmakers on offense? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!