What’s in a number? On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers released their 2022 rookie class numbers to the public. While it had been made official late last month that Steelers’ first round rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett would wear his collegiate number 8 as a Pittsburgh Steeler, the organization has since been quiet as to the jersey numbers that their other rookies would adorn. With this Steelers team facing significant turnover from the previous year, and with young stars on both sides of the football, it means that numbers associated with long-time Steelers veterans, such as departing cornerback Joe Haden’s number 23, are suddenly up for grabs.
The Steelers 2022 Rookies
We’ll take a look at the 2022 Steelers rookie numbers, and the players recently associated with them since the turn of the century. First up…
Kenny Pickett: 8
Pickett opted to keep his collegiate number 8 heading into the NFL, a number that has not been commonly used by the Steelers in the 21st century. Most notably, Pickett, who has a chance to replace Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers’ next franchise QB, will wear the same number as the quarterback Tommy Maddox, whose injury ushered in the Roethlisberger era in 2004.
Many thought that second-round wide receiver pick George Pickens may have stuck with his collegiate number 1 in the NFL now that the league has opted to liberalize the numbers available to certain positions, including number 1 for receivers. Pickens, however, opted to go with number 14, replacing Ray-Ray McCloud’s number on the roster.
DeMarvin Leal: 98
Like former Steelers pass rusher Melvin Ingram, DeMarvin Leal was a defensive player who opted to use the number 8 in college. However, upon entering the league, Leal chose to wear number 98, yielding to Pickett to claim number 8.
Calvin Austin III: 19
19 has rarely been utilized by the Steelers over the past 22 years, and there’s no doubt that the most obvious player associated with it is recently departed Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who the Steelers reportedly declined to re-sign. Like Pickens, some thought that fourth round receiver Calvin Austin III would take advantage of the new rules for wideouts and wear his collegiate number 4. Austin opted to claim the recently available number 19 as his first number in the NFL.
Connor Heyward: 83
Connor Heyward is a jack-of-all-trades type player, and as such, there wasn’t an obvious answer as to what number he would take. While Steelers Tight Ends Coach Alfredo Roberts said that Heyward would primarily be playing tight-end, he has been utilized in several spots on the roster during his time at Michigan State. Heyward ultimately landed on the number used by former Steelers Hall of Fame tight end Heath Miller, 83.
Mark Robinson: 93
Seventh round pick, linebacker Mark Robinson, chose to wear 93 in the NFL, forgoing his collegiate number 35, which is currently claimed by Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet.
|Daniel McCullers||DT||2014-2019 (62 in 2015, 92 in 2014)|
|Jason Worilds||DE||2010-2014 (97 in 2010)|
|Rodney Bailey||DE||2001-2003 (94), 2006|
|James Harrison||OLB||2002 (93), 2004-2012 (92), 2014-2017 (92)|
Chris Oladokun: 5
Former South Dakota State quarterback Chris Oladokun, selected by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, subtracted one from his college number, and chose to wear number 5 as a Pittsburgh Steeler. The number was most recently used by Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs.
|Josh Dobbs||QB||2018, 2020-2021|
What do yinz think? Did the rookies pick good numbers? Should more of them have stuck with their college numbers? Click to comment below!