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2022 NFL Draft

What’s In a Number? A Look Back at the History of the 2022 Steelers’ Rookie Class Numbers

What’s In a Number? A Look Back at the History of the 2022 Steelers’ Rookie Class Numbers

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. 

Name: Position Seasons:
Melvin Ingram OLB 2021
Josh Scobee K 2015
Tommy Maddox QB 2001-2005


George Pickens: 14

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JANUARY 10: Georgia Bulldogs WR George Pickens (1) catches a deep pass against Alabama Crimson Tide DB Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) during the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship, on January 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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. 

Name: Position Seasons:
Ray-Ray McCloud WR 2020-2021
Tevin Jones WR 2019
Sammie Coates WR 2015-2016
Derek Moye WR 2013
Limas Sweed WR 2008-2009
Tom Rouen P 2002


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. 

Name: Position Seasons:
Taco Charlton OLB 2021
Vince Williams MLB 2013-2021
Casey Hampton NT 2001-2012

Calvin Austin III: 19

Steelers Austin Goes For Touchdown

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. 

Name: Position Seasons:
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR 2017-2021
Tyler Grisham WR 2009

Connor Heyward: 83

Mike Mulholland

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. 

Name: Position Seasons:
Cobi Hamilton WR 2016
Heath Miller TE 2005-2015
Chris Doering WR 2003-2004
Lenzie Jackson WR 2001
Malcom Johnson WR 1999-2000

Mark Robinson: 93

OXFORD, MS – NOVEMBER 13: Ole Miss Rebels linebacker Mark Robinson (35) flexes after making a tackle during the game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Texas A&M Aggies on November 13, 2021, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadiumin Oxford, Ms. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

Name: Position Seasons:
Joe Schobert MLB 2021
Daniel McCullers DT 2014-2019 (62 in 2015, 92 in 2014)
Cam Thomas DT 2015
Jason Worilds  DE 2010-2014 (97 in 2010)
Nick Eason DT 2007-2010
Rodney Bailey DE 2001-2003 (94), 2006
James Harrison OLB 2002 (93), 2004-2012 (92), 2014-2017 (92)

Chris Oladokun: 5

Steelers QB Chris Oladokun

Steelers QB Chris Oladokun

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

Name: Position Seasons:
Josh Dobbs QB 2018, 2020-2021
Bruce Gradkowski QB 2014
Paul Ernster K 2008


What do yinz think? Did the rookies pick good numbers? Should more of them have stuck with their college numbers? Click to comment below!


I'm a lifelong Steelers fan who, as a result of moving around, has seen Steeler Nation all across the country. Originally from Sharon, PA, I now reside in Columbus, Ohio and grew up on the West Coast. A 2017 graduate of THE Ohio State University, my favorite current Steelers player is Cam Heyward. I spend the small amount of time that I'm not doing Steelers stuff as a government and public relations professional in Columbus.

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